Lessons from the Road

If you visit more than 120 buyers in a year, you’d better learn a thing or two.
— Stephen Ekstrom, Fire Starter Brands' Founding Director

In 2012, the team at Fire Starter Brands paid personal office visits to more than 120 tour operator companies. Having logged that many miles, we identified a few common misconceptions that may help you make better use of your upcoming 7-minute appointments.

Myth 1 - Tour Operators are all the same.

Each tour operator company is as unique as the passengers they carry. Some are old-fashioned, preferring binders and pencils to those who function digitally. Be flexible - ask the buyer how they'd prefer you follow up.

Myth 2 - Tour Operators are cheap.

Surprise! Tour operators spend money. Not all tour operators are budget driven. Many tour operators have told us that their customers demand more unique and customized experiences and they're willing to pay for it.

Myth 3 - Tour Operators are going out of business.

Wrong again. This business is like any other - companies must adapt to survive. We've found innovative tour operator companies that are now offering flexible itineraries, themed trips with clever taglines and building in experiential components to guarantee a broad appeal.

Myth 4 - Focus on Tour Operators within a 300 mile radius.

It's not a local business anymore. More and more we're hearing that tour operators find their customers online and win them over by providing great options to destinations near and far. With enhanced web-presence and work-from-home sales people, a tour operator in California may now be planning for a group from Ohio that's traveling to Florida and operators in New York are bringing groups from the American Southwest to Canada. Don't limit your opportunities!

Myth 5 - A great offer = great ROI

Every time a tour operator books a trip, they do so because they've earned the trust of the end consumer. If you want to be a part of that trip, you've got to realize that the tour operator puts his/her reputation on the line with each new product they include. Your consistent presence in the marketplace and steady drumbeat of information about your product will build the awareness you need to become indispensable.

Want to know how you can join us on those office visits? Click here to read about our 2013 sales mission schedule or contact us today to plan an exclusive mission for suppliers from your region.