WITH so much to see and do, Turkey can be one of the most complicated Mediterranean destinations to sell.
The centre of the country is packed with historical attractions for those in search of culture, while Turkish beaches and restaurants attract budget-conscious families.
There are remote coastal inlets best visited by boat – this is where Gulet cruise companies come into their own – and upmarket villas for clients with cash to splash.
And there aren’t many Mediterranean countries better equipped for a twin-centre holiday. We spoke to Turkey experts for advice on how to sell the country.
1. Convenient flights
“A lot of people are put off by Turkey because some flights land in the middle of the night,” said Club Med head of sales Steve O’Loughlin. “Remind clients that scheduled airlines now fly into the country at more convenient times.”
2. Istanbul breaks
EasyJet now flies to Istanbul, making it a contender for the next big city-break destination. Find out more about the city and suggest it as an alternative to Prague or Budapest.
3. Widen the net
“Don’t just sell the resorts,” said Anatolian Sky managing director Akin Koc. “The centre of Turkey is where the history is, so sell it to discerning clients who want to enjoy more than the beaches.”
4. Get active
“There’s more to Turkey than sea and sand – there are many activity breaks available,” said Exodus senior product manager Mike James. “Suggest clients go off-season to avoid the heat and either head for the hills or to Kas, a great resort for sea-kayaking, mountain biking and canoeing.”
5. Grab a bargain
There are some great bargains around at the moment, so suggest clients who have never been to Turkey give it a try. It won’t break the bank and, if they are pleasantly surprised, you could gain some repeat business.
6. Book the right flight
“Many websites offer useful information about airlines for agents to sort out any specific flight requirements,” said Teleticket sales and marketing executive Hannah Wheeler. “This is a great tool for clients wanting to avoid flying at unsociable hours.”
7. Get out and about
“Always try to sell excursions,” said O’Loughlin. “There are some beautiful sites that date back thousands of years and which can be seen in a day or longer – agents can make a bit more money too.”
8. In for a penny…
“All-inclusives are fantastic value for money,” said Kosmar Holidays director Abhi Dighe. “Make sure you familiarise yourself with the concept and encourage clients to upgrade from self-catering or bed and breakfast – it can be a real money spinner.”
9. Turkish twins
“Turkey is perfect for a twin-centre holiday,” said Koc. “In two weeks clients can experience two different worlds by combining Istanbul with a Gulet cruise or Cappadocia with one of the resorts.”
10. On the quiet
Suggest the Aegean coast for its isolated bays, ideal for exploring. Beautiful and quiet, they offer the perfect antidote to the resorts.
11. Easy on the wallet
“Remember Turkey is still outside the European Union so it can still be good value for money,” said O’Loughlin.
12. Flexible duration
“Get away from the typical seven or 14-night holiday,” said Hannah Wheeler. “More and more clients are heading to Turkey for shorter durations, such as three or five nights.”
13. When in Rome…
“The local food can be excellent, so encourage clients to try some Turkish fare,” said Kosmar Holidays director Abhi Dighe. “The people are very friendly too.”
14. Go authentic
15. Preserved charm
“The development of concrete buildings is controlled,” said Anatolian Sky’s Koc. “Much of the Ottoman architecture has been retained and is pleasing to the eye.”
16. On the waterfront
Sell a Gulet cruise to clients who want to enjoy the water but don’t have any sailing experience. They won’t have to worry about choppy waters, or having to cater for themselves as everything is taken care of.
17. Value for money
“Don’t sell Turkey as a cheap destination, but one that’s good value for money,” said Koc. “There’s plenty of luxury product that is better value than competing destinations.”
18. Safe and sound
Turkey has a low crime rate. While tourists should always remain vigilant, pick-pocketing and traffic accidents are rare. Families should feel comfortable bringing young children.
19. Family fun
“Agents should point out how geared up Turkey is for families,” said Dighe. “Accommodation often has great facilities such as large pools and kids’ clubs, and the service is excellent.”
20. Viva villas
The country has a large range of villas – often in remote locations – from budget to luxury, which are ideal for large groups. Try Tapestry Holidays for upmarket properties around Kalkan, Akyaka and Islamlar.
On the web: Tourismturkey.org
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