In my experience, there is no greater sales tool than TV or film editorial. We all remember what the Lord of the Rings did for New Zealand, what Game of Thrones did for Northern Ireland and Dubrovnik and what Trainspotting did for Edinburgh.
Okay, maybe not that last one… But in all seriousness, my very recent experience is that consumers are using escapism TV as real inspiration for when we can travel again, with that inspiration translating firmly into bookings.
In the cold days of a January lockdown, we’re all taking to our screens more than ever, and in the last couple of weeks we were lucky enough to have a repeat showing of Channel 5’s Cruising with Jane McDonald featuring
Uniworld’s luxurious 15-day Ganges cruise with Golden triangle tour combination in India. I can tell you, website traffic, brochure requests and, most importantly, bookings have gone through the roof as a result, not just for us but for our partners too, who are reporting significant business off the back of it. And clearly this is not a purchase taken lightly, so bucket list travel is firmly on the agenda, if not for 2021 then certainly for 2022.
While we may not be able to travel right now, we want to believe that the promise is there. We want to dive into a world of visually beautiful, culturally enriching, incredible journeys brought to life in our own front rooms and believe we can experience them ourselves.
January peaks is looking very different for many of us this year, but the response to the airing of this programme is bucking the overall trend, and shows that with the right exposure, bookings will come – we just need to make sure that potential clients know where to go for that inspiration.
Having access to all these travel programmes on catch up TV or Netflix is the best sales and marketing tool there is. What better way to give your clients an idea of what a cruise with us, or what a rail journey, coastal view or a scenic drive might be like than by encouraging them to watch it from the comfort of their own home? And let’s face it, after our hard work is done each day during this winter period, there’s not much else to do.
On the back of the repeat of the India programme, and having seen the impact it has had in our call centre, with trade partners and on our website, I’m encouraging all our agent partners to check it out on My5 and have their clients do the same.
I feel the response we’ve had so far is just the tip of the iceberg because so many prospective clients will be yet to see the programme, it’s untapped potential. And supported by tailored assets that we can provide, and by some incredible deals and value add offers that we’re putting out to market on our India product, we’re making it as easy as possible for agents to maximise this and close the sale.
From Jane McDonald to Julie Walters, Michael Palin to Portillo, agents can turn this additional time at home sofa surfing into real life set-jetting for their customers. It’s a golden opportunity, and it’s happening now.
Chris Townson is UK managing director for Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection.