Over the course of 2 action-packed days in February 2017, Phoenix Travel Representation organised an interactive sales blitz – promoting the island of Ireland to key decision makers and top buyers in the UK inbound operator sector. 10 Irish tourism companies travelled around London, visiting 20 operators in their offices, delivering product and regional updates, gleaning first-hand information from operators about Ireland’s current position as a tourism destination and forging long-lasting successful business relationships with relevant personnel.
What did we learn?
Overall, feedback from operators regarding promoting and programming Ireland to their international client base was extremely positive, with key findings being:
- Ireland is a hugely popular tourism destination internationally, with a steady and increasing number of requests from global agents being received by inbound tour operators in the UK, quickly converting to confirmed business
- In Asia, demand for Ireland is currently at an all-time high, in terms of European destinations, owing to its reputation and image as a ‘safe’ destination
- Increased air access, visa improvements and increased brand / destination awareness in new & emerging markets promoting the island of Ireland continue to have a hugely positive impact on business
Areas of concern for tour operators when it comes to programming Ireland are few and far between, but there were 2 points that arose quite frequently:
- Lack of accommodation availability in main tourist hubs can have a negative impact on securing and confirming business with the end-client, as sometimes other locations and alternatives are simply not accepted
- Dynamic pricing can sometimes be a barrier for a tour operator when preparing quotes for group and FIT business for future business, as it is not possible to offer a confirmed, static price
All of this feedback certainly provides food for thought, supports the positive growth targets for tourism arrivals to the island of Ireland and strengthens the case for more hotels to be built in main cities and tourist hubs.
Irish attendees were: Celtic Manor Hotel, Christ Church Cathedral, Irish Manor House & Country Hotels, Mizen Head, St Patricks’ Cathedral, Portmarnock Hotel, Railtours Ireland, The Doolin Ferry Co, SO Hotels and Whites Hotels & Tours.
A selection of some feedback from participants include:
“I attended a sales mission organised by Phoenix in February and after a busy few days of sales calls, I can honestly say that it was very worthwhile and productive. In Sales, nothing is better than getting in front of your clients and showing them that you’ve made the effort to travel to their office. In having the logistics arranged by Susan and the support of her team, it was a very cost effective way of meeting so many of our existing and potential clients in an environment suited to the client. The sales mission has led to new business for our hotels and we will certainly look to take part in a future sales mission”
David Cleary, Business Development Manager, Manor House Hotels & Irish Country Hotels
“We took part in a sales mission organised by Phoenix Travel Representation to London group producers in February 2017. From our initial contact with the organisation we found Susan to be enthusiastic, encouraging and an expert on the UK Inbound market. The appointments were high quality with decision makers present at the meetings in every case”
Susanne Reid, Head of Tourism & Events, Christ Church Cathedral
“Very well organised sales call in London, organised by Phoenix Travel Representation. The quality of appointments was excellent. Well worth doing as we gained several new partners. Highly recommended”
David Gillespie, Sales & Marketing, Railtours Ireland First Class
For more information on sales mission, inbound tour operators in the UK or other suitable platforms to interact with these buyers, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org