Advice from Jenny Hendry, polar product manager, Intrepid Travel.
Selling holidays to the Arctic and Antarctica can seem daunting. Visiting the world’s most remote terrain is unlike any other holiday your customers are likely to experience and they will be looking for guidance through the many choices out there.
Investing time to get to know this specialist area will pay dividends, not just in terms of commission but customer loyalty. Polar customers tend to love the experience and want to come back for more, so make sure it’s your number they dial when they do.
Jenny Hendry, polar product manager at Intrepid Travel, has some tips.
1. Speak to an expert
Customers considering their first Polar voyage are sure to have questions. Speak to a supplier who has first-hand experience.
Sharing this knowledge gives the customer a real idea of what it’s like to travel to the ends of the earth and feel inspired and confident to book.
It’s also crucial to work with a reputable supplier with excellent health and safety credentials and, importantly, lots of inclusions, whether it’s jackets and boots or pre or post-trip accommodation, so there are no hidden extras.
Make sure your supplier offers real-time availability. Many polar customers shop around and knowing what is available immediately means you can hold a cabin and secure a sale quickly.
2. Choose small-ship expeditions
Small ships are more manoeuvrable than bigger ones, so customers get closer to the shoreline and, therefore, the landscape and wildlife – perfect for photography.
Fewer people also mean it is quicker to disembark and there’s more time off the ship to explore. The programme is flexible on a smaller ship too, so if someone spots a polar bear, you can stop!
3. Snap up special offers
Polar trips don’t have to be as expensive as they first appear. When the dates are released they usually come with some fantastic offers.
However, they do get booked up early and lower-priced cabins sell out quickly, so if you want the best price for your customer, encourage them not to wait long to book.
The Arctic is a good place to start with customers who are generally interested in polar voyages as it’s cheaper to travel there from the UK. Many customers who’ve been become hooked and want to tick off the South Pole too.
4. Invest time in training
It’s a good idea to have polar specialists in your team, who know the product and have basic knowledge of wildlife, ships and itineraries. Find out what training suppliers offer on selling this type of trip and whether they can supply you with information as a permanent resource that can help when you need answers immediately.
5. Let your customers know you sell polar
Become a polar expert. Operators often help to organise presentation nights and supply promotional materials. Make use of images and video to help draw clients in as the polar regions have some of the most captivating landscapes in the world.
6. Sell it to singles
Polar trips generally appeal to the older generation – those with more time and money. However, the adventure options, such as hiking and Zodiac excursions, also make it a fantastic product for younger people. Singles will also feel very at home on a polar cruise as it’s a very friendly atmosphere.