Sometimes we hold on to old beliefs, even if they reveal themselves to be myths. And sometimes these old myths inhibit a client’s travel plans and prevent them from fully connecting with a destination. Travel advisors who master the art of interviewing a client will uncover not only the reasons clients want to travel, but also the reasons they prefer one destination over another.
Here are eight Tired Travel Myths to which some travelers may still be clinging—and how you can re-boot their travel excitement in the year ahead.
Myth #1: For a great travel experience, choose a country where English is widely spoken.
Reality: Many travelers find it exciting and fulfilling to learn a few words in another language. For die-hard travelers, the “challenge” of visiting new destinations can be exhilarating and can add a whole new dimension to the travel experience. When frustrations arise, communication tools such as picture books, phrase books, translation apps, and non-verbal communication (sign language, body language, smiles and attitude) can almost always overcome language difficulties.
Myth #2: Driving on the left is stressful and takes weeks to get used to.
Reality: The first few minutes of driving on the left may make you a bit anxious, but after a short time it becomes quite natural. Renting a car can take you places you would never have otherwise visited or discovered, plus you can stop as many times, and for as long, as you like.
Myth #3: North American travelers inevitably develop stomach upsets so it’s best to stick with Western food.
Reality: “Connecting” with a destination means eating local foods and drinking local refreshments. While abiding by the advice of your travel physician, you can still partake of foods that open your eyes and taste buds to new flavors and smells. How else will you understand why people eat clay in Peru or Fugu in Japan or Laksa in Malaysia?
Myth #4: In tourist destinations, most store vendors and people on the street have an ulterior motive when they offer to assist.
Reality: While there can be rotten apples in any barrel, people are people wherever you go. They have families to feed and clothe, and they enjoy interacting with others—even tourists! So it’s ok to ask questions and have a conversation and a few laughs. If you end up buying something from them, then so be it.
Myth #5: In destinations known for their easy-going attitude and “island time,” you will be continually frustrated by delays.
Reality: A tour bus can break down between Toronto and Montreal just as it can between Bangkok and Pattaya, or be late for a pick-up in Washington, DC, just as it can in Shanghai. Accept the attitude as part of the winding-down experience that contributes to the overall enjoyment of the trip. Unplug, relax and go with the flow.
Myth #6: The word “adventure” is code for “this trip is for a fit, younger demographic.”
Reality: Adventure is in the eye and heart of the beholder. The type of adventure may differ but the idea of out-of-the-ordinary, experiential travel appeals to seniors as much as Gen Xers. For one group it might mean a trek to a mountain lookout; for another it can be a short walk to a fish market. The term ‘adventure’ has 101 shades, each appealing to a different interest group.
Myth #7: Accessible Travel applies to mobility-impaired individuals looking for a very relaxed travel experience.
Reality: Accessible travel can include physical and mental impairments as well as the aging population or the family pushing a stroller down the sidewalk. All these clients want to travel and to engage in activities ranging from lying on a beach to full-on travel adventure. Many prefer to deal with responsible, professional travel advisors who ask them a lot of questions to properly fulfill their very specific travel needs.
Myth #8: Luxury travel is the domain of the rich and super-rich.
Reality: Like adventure, Luxury Travel is in the mind of the beholder. Your suggestion of a small dollar increase to move the client from a garden view to an ocean view or from an inside to an outside cruise cabin may provide a taste of luxury they didn’t think possible and foster a whole new appreciation of what is available to them for future travels.
So always listen carefully to what your clients say and pick up on phrases such as, “I hear that…”, “I was told that…”, “I understand that…” Use your experience and people skills to explain the reality of each situation and how the client might benefit from actualizing every experience.