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Features

10 Aug 2018

BY Andrew Doherty

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How to profit from a television appearance

Whether you’re a homeworker or a high street agent, appearing on television can boost exposure and help with sales. Andrew Doherty speaks with individuals who benefited from their fleeting stardom.

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Whether you’re a homeworker or a high street agent, appearing on television can boost exposure and help with sales.

It’s hard to deny the buzz that a television show can create.

 

Take the recent Love Island phenomenon, when more than three million people tuned in for the first episode of the latest series. Or when an incredible 40% of the British population watched England’s semi-final heartbreak in this summer’s World Cup.

 

Whether it’s the lure of fame, a cash prize or the opportunity to promote a business, television has the potential to change lives.

 

We speak with five travel professionals who have appeared on the box.

 

Michelle Harriman, senior sales consultant, Hanson Travel

Harriman appeared on The Chase in 2016, beating The Chaser in her head-to-head round before being defeated in the group challenge.

 

However, she won out in the end, using her experience to secure several high-value bookings after returning to work.

 

How did you promote your appearance?
Hanson Travel announced it on its Facebook page and I promoted it on my personal page too. The posts received a lot of engagement with our clients, who were really encouraging and excited that I was doing it.

 

And what about after the show aired?
When my customers saw that I had been on TV, a lot of people made the effort to come down and visit me at the agency. When we were chatting about the show I suggested that they might want to think about a holiday. I managed to make a couple of cruise bookings, one at around £4,000.

 

How did you use the experience to boost sales?
I talked about travel a lot on the show, particularly my favourite destination, South Africa. Because of that I had a number of people coming into the store to enquire about safari holidays. Although I didn’t manage to sell one, I used the opportunity to sell one client an alternative holiday worth more than £5,000.

Matthew Ruth, personal travel agent, Midcounties Co-operative Travel

A self-professed television veteran, Ruth has appeared on a number of shows over the years, including Going for Gold, Tipping Point and Hardball, which aired this May on BBC1. Ruth performed well in his most recent outing on Hardball, beating six contestants to make it into the final.

 

How did you promote your appearances?
I email my top clients each time I’m on television. They always respond really well and even actively contact me after the show to say congratulations.

 

And after the shows aired?
I followed up with a lot of them. I’d say I got a few extra bookings from that – I also mention it sometimes when quoting to new clients for a bit of fun and as a quirky conversation starter.

 

How did you use the experience to boost sales?
I talked about my job as a travel agent on Hardball and even got a question on geography: what is the capital of Malaysia? Thankfully, I got it right and although I haven’t made any bookings there yet, I’ve had people enquiring about it.

Dawn Wilson, senior travel consultant, Imp Travel

After appearing on The Weakest Link more than 10 years ago and getting knocked out in the semi-final, Wilson was determined to have another shot at victory and applied for The Chase in 2012.

 

Again she came close to the top prize but was defeated by Chaser Anne Hegarty with just 45 seconds to go.

 

How did you promote your appearance?
Imp Travel advertised the fact that I was going on The Chase on its Twitter and Facebook pages, which generated a lot of conversations with our clients. I had just been made redundant from Going Places Travel, so it was also a good opportunity to let people know about my new job.

 

And after the show aired?

A lot of my customers from Going Places came to see me at Imp Travel, and while we were catching up I recommended a few holidays. Being on The Chase must have been a good idea because six years later I still
have people asking me about it.

 

How did you use the experience to boost sales?
I was only with Imp for a few months prior to the show, so I didn’t see a huge sales uptake, but it really raised my profile locally. Imp is a small independent agency, and mentioningthat I worked there when I was on TV has been great for our exposure.

Mike Lee, travel ambassador, Kennedy Travel/North America Travel Service

The Barnsley-based agent says that he applied for Tipping Point after “getting thrashed by a 17-year-old” when he appeared on Countdown in 2013. This time, Lee came up trumps, winning the £10,000 jackpot in April 2017. Since then he has become a bit of a local celebrity.

 

How did you promote your appearance?
I actually kept it very quiet, as the producers told me to keep my win a secret until the show was broadcast. I almost didn’t tell my wife!

 

And after the show aired?

I organised a bit of a do at my local pub and invited a lot of my friends, who are also my clients, to watch the show. There was a lot of activity on the Kennedy Travel/North America Travel Service social media channels too, which was great exposure for me.

 

How did you use the experience to boost sales?
I work from home but now, when I walk into town, a lot of people recognise me and know that I’m a travel agent. Being on television has certainly raised my profile.

Fiona Robertson, operational delivery consultant, Thomas Cook

Robertson has always been a “bit of a quizzer”, making her first appearance on 100% when Channel 5 launched in 1997. Since then she has been on The Biggest Game in Town, The Chase and Pointless in 2012, when she got to the head-to-head round but just fell short of the £19,000 prize.

 

Although not a frontline seller, she has used her experience to motivate staff to help them drive sales.

 

How did you promote your appearance?
Thomas Cook didn’t promote it externally, but it was shown on all the TVs in the head office in Peterborough: my face was on about 50 screens at the same time!

 

And after the show aired?

Appearing on Pointless has been amazing for my confidence. I train people every day in my role, and it’s helped with dealing with pressure I’m happy to be in the spotlight now.

 

How did you use the experience to boost sales?
I help agents service their customers better, and it has definitely given me something to talk about when they ask about handling challenges. My biggest tip for agents is to keep up to speed with geography – it helped me on TV when answering questions and will help them when clients are enquiring about destinations too.

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