“Industry Q&A” Featuring Scott Wiseman of Cox & KingsDecember 14, 2015
Q: What trends in the leisure travel market are you noticing this year?
A: There is strong evidence that specialized demand is leading to the market’s response, specifically the destinations offered, the way itineraries are developed and the way people access these emerging places. Increased airlift to destinations that were once hard to reach are a key motivator for product planners to consider newly-opened destinations.
Q: What factors do you consider in order to add a new program/itinerary to your product portfolio?
A: We are constantly looking for ways to offer a combination of things. It’s not necessarily just adding new destinations, but adding destination product that can offer a luxury/adventure experience and a new “twist” to tried-and-true experiences common to that place. For example, in Bolivia we are now offering luxury Airstream Campers in the Salt Flats. In Nicaragua, we’ve finally been able to offer a complete luxury product with the addition of a five star hotel (Mukuls’), positioning Nicaragua as an emerging luxury destination.
Q: What have you found to be the most effective means for marketing your products?
A: Being first to create itineraries that no one else is delivering is always a good way to increase interest and travel demand. The success of our new luxury mobile camp at the base of the Northern Himalayas of India proves that being the first to bring that type of experience to travelers in a comfortable way is important to ensuring success.
Q: How do you integrate social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest) into your marketing efforts?
A: Our focus on developing unique and enticing luxury experiences lends itself to garnering much attention from luxury, consumer travel and trade media. As such, we always playback media and third party endorsements and see social media as important to amplifying our message.
Q: Based on your experience so far, what can DMO’s do better when working with organizations like your own?
A: The relationship has to be a true partnership where there is equal consideration of each other’s goals and objectives. DMOs should understand that volume drivers and destinations that drive the most interest usually garner the most focus for a travel operator. It’s important to understand how to scale and grow interest over time versus a one-time partnership or relationship that might end with a brochure launch or limited time cooperative campaign.
Q: What advice would you give to international DMO’s looking to enter the North American market?
A: Definitely take the time to understand how the North American market works. I often find that there is a misconception that North America is a wealthy market and all it takes is being present to reap the rewards. Invest for the long-term and build relationships. Relationship-building still goes a long way in growing a destination’s reputation and trust from the travel professional and tour operators.
Q: Which industry conferences/trade shows have you found most productive to reach your target clients?
A: Being a luxury tour operator we find that the high-end consortia still have the best impact on business. Supporting the luxury travel agent who is present at Signature Travel Network’s Sales Meeting and Trade Show, and Virtuoso Travel Week are the best for our business. From a product point of view we feel that PURE is the best for matching suppliers with buyers.