Mario Schoepe, Sales Area Manager Southern Europe, and Account Manager, Rui Silva, just returned from a 4-day long jaunt in Porto and Madeira, Portugal. We ask them if they actually did any work ;)
Soo, was it all just beaches and pretty tiles for you?
No! We certainly enjoyed some lovely scenery, but we were mainly meeting with potential new suppliers. We met with twenty during the time we were there - really interesting but pretty taxing work!
What does meeting suppliers involve and why do you do it?
We meet new suppliers to see what they have to offer and find out if our product can help them achieve their goals. Getting suppliers on board is always about finding a mutually beneficial outcome, and getting the very best tour, guide or activity for our customers!
Secondly, we also take the opportunity to meet with and build better relationships with existing suppliers. In my experience it always helps to be present, show a face and have a genuine, friendly conversation, while also getting down to business. We’re trying to build strong, long term relationships - being there is the way to do it!
Finally, as an Area Manager, it’s so important to understand the actual destination. I like to know what drives tourism in the area, so that we can make informed decisions about the tours and guides we want to offer.
One interesting fact we learnt was that Porto Airport has been elected by Airports Council International as one of the top five European airports every year since 2006! Its modern infrastructure, plus the arrival of low-cost carriers, means Porto has emerged as an attractive short-break destination. The Francesinha sandwiches, cobblestone-laneways, beaches and wine regions probably don’t hurt either…
Many of us thought you were ‘testing’ tours! Do you do that too?
Yep, it’s lots of fun. We always do it anonymously, to make sure the experience is authentic - we want to know what our customers really get. That way we can properly improve. After the tour, we ask lots of questions.
It starts with our website: Is everything clear and easy to understand? Is the booking process simple and fast? Then we move onto the actualities of the tour: How easy is it to find the meeting point, or arrange the pick up? What is the voucher exchange process, or is mobile ticketing accepted? Next, the product itself: Is the tour as described? What would a customer love and dislike about the tour? What could be improved?
All of these questions are essential for us. We’re passionate about building our brand and turning travellers’ trips into amazing experiences. It’s our vision and we are doing our best to keep improving and building this.
Impressions of Portugal?
It was my first time to Portugal and I was amazed by all the history there - it’s visible everywhere. I also found the Portuguese people super friendly and welcoming, although difficult to understand, even as a Brazilian Portuguese native!
Any final comments?
Remember your comfy shoes! You’ll want to be prepared for some serious up and downhill walking in Porto.