Comment: Australia presents a huge sales opportunity for the trade

Paul Melinis, APT managing director, offers sales tips to agents now that ‘Down Under’ is ‘back up’ for bookings.

It was truly heart-warming to see the joyful and emotional scenes at Sydney airport on Monday, as Australia’s borders reopened at last.

And with Western Australia’s hard border also coming down on March 3, this is a momentous occasion for all of us who operate and sell antipodean holiday experiences.

APT has been Australian owned and run for the last 90 years, and the UK is a critical market for our trips in the destination, so it wasn’t necessarily surprising, but definitely exciting, to see searches and bookings for our tours and cruises in the region spike immediately following the initial announcements, and again this week.

In the same way that Aussies have been eagerly awaiting the return of international visitors, our customers have been desperate to travel to Australia – to visit their friends and family, and to explore all that the amazing country has to offer.

With 9.5 million overseas visitors in 2019, rebuilding towards Australia’s pre-pandemic tourism volumes presents a huge sales opportunity for the trade. So that agents can fully capitalise on the surge of demand, our team of Australia experts have shared their top tips for helping agents secure those precious bookings and commissions.

• Be quick to secure 2022 capacity

Throughout the pandemic, Australia’s tourism industry has sustained itself by targeting domestic travellers and encouraging Aussies to explore their own country.

Their campaign was very successful – for example, our APT and Travelmarvel tours ran at capacity with domestic guests throughout the season – and this has affected the volume of availability for 2022.

If your customers wish to travel to Australia this year, encourage them to book as soon as possible to secure their preferred dates and itineraries. Alternatively, they might like to plan ahead for travel in 2023, which is on sale now.

• Understand why your customers are travelling

Thanks to the close connections between Australia and the UK, travellers may be heading ‘Down Under’ to visit friends and family that they may not have seen for several years.

The type of trips that the VFR market will be looking for will be very different to the itineraries that first-time travellers, looking to tick Australia off their bucket list, are after.

There is a range of products in the market that can cater for each and every scenario, so it’s worth familiarising yourself.

Travellers making an inaugural trip may enjoy tours that feature the unmissable highlights, such as Sydney, Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef; while frequent visitors may want to extend their visit with an itinerary that focuses on the lesser-known marvels, such as The Kimberley’s wild coast lines and Aboriginal history.

• Highlight Australia’s safety record

In light of other recent events, it may be reassuring to stress to your clients how safe Australia is as a destination, how easy it is to visit, and how welcome travellers are.

Friendly and warm locals, a stable political system and low crime rate all contribute to creating one of the safest destinations for UK holidaymakers.

• Embrace Australia’s diversity – there’s something for everyone

Australia is a huge country and offers vast diversity, so it can feel a bit overwhelming when trying to get to grips with all that it can offer your customers.

From white sand beaches and stunning reefs to its scorched red centre and remote Western coastline, from breath-taking national parks to its vibrant cities, and from a unique Aboriginal culture and convict history to its flora and fauna that cannot be found anywhere else on the planet, Australia has something that will fit any client’s holiday wish list.

We’d recommend working with an Australia specialist who can help you to tailor the perfect experience for your customer, and close that sale.

Uluru picture by APT

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