Imagine never selling Europe. No Italian tours, no cozy British inns, stunning castles, or romantic river cruises.
In a way that’s what has been happening. Canada is actually just a bit smaller than all Europe (including the vastness of Russia), yet for decades we never took our own country seriously as a travel destination. And I bet most travel advisors never considered switching their sales efforts to focus on Canada. But that’s all changing this year, isn’t it?
COVID has made us all, clients and travel advisors alike, look closer to home when it comes to planning vacations or even weekend getaways. For many of us, the ongoing certainty makes it difficult to commit, or even start the research process for a trip outside Canada. According to the National Post though, nearly two-thirds of Canadians are planning domestic travel this year.
Our long-term resistance to selling Canada is understandable. Why would clients need us? Canada’s too “easy” for them to do on their own. And has anyone ever really considered Canada as exotic and unique? Actually, yes and yes! There is so much to see and do, so much history, beauty, culture and more!
In addition, with huge pent-up demand – and many pent-up bank accounts – Canadians are expressing more interest in seeing their own country than ever before. If you love selling FITs, this may be your big opportunity.
How can you get on the Canada bandwagon? Here are some ideas.
1) Be creative: Present a more inclusive Canadian offering you can package together and mark up, and don’t forget that planning fee. Combine a rental car or rail travel (or both) with accommodation, some museum and attraction tickets, restaurant reservations and a guided walking tour and you’ve created an itinerary clients can visualize.
2) Build allies: From the legendary Rocky Mountaineer to Air Canada Vacations (both have seriously bolstered their Canadian offerings just this year), and iconic hotels such as the Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, there are some incredible opportunities with fabulous partners.
3) Tell your clients what you are doing: We all need an excuse to communicate with our clients these days. Let them know that you are ready and able to help plan a domestic vacation. Moreover, you may surprise them – in a good way – and get them travelling again.