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Lanith Luang Prabang hosts “Destination Dr”

Dr Dramberger has more than 30 years of experience in consulting major hotel chains, national tourism boards, tour operators, and convention organisers on marketing and sales.

LUANG PRABANG – Dr Edward Dramberger PhD, globally known as “The Destination Doctor”, conducted a complimentary one-day interactive seminar entitled “Improving Hospitality and Tourism Sales” at Lanith Luang Prabang on 29 November, with 15 key local delegates taking part to upgrade their marketing and sales skills and improve their products.

New York and Bangkok-based Dr Dramberger kicked off the free workshop, a donation valued at USD4,000 and supported by Lanith, by explaining his “Compass Performance Selling” (CPS) buyer-seller relationship model, which centres on visitors’ perception of Laos.

Dr Dramberger stressed that from a marketing viewpoint, “The only way that Lao tourism can grow is if the public and private sectors work together,” adding, “Laos must promote what it already has, and it needs to create new experiences.” He also emphasised the need for life-long learning. “Always keep learning.”

During the CPS session, he highlighted the necessity of business relationships and networking at events such as Lanith Symposia and those held by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), the significance of tourism infrastructure, that wealthy travellers want better and creative products, and the importance of an intangible personal touch to stand out among the competition.

“It’s not the big things, but the little details,” Dr Dramberger said. He added that the world’s biggest travel markets today are China, India, and Russia, while pointing out that Laos’ biggest competition is Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and especially Myanmar, whose tourism trade and infrastructure is growing fast, as they are proactively marketing their country.

Dr Dramberger then shifted to sales collaterals such as creating brochures and websites. He delivered the overarching fundamentals of developing tourism collateral, before pinpointing finer details such as an attention-grabbing opening to lure the reader, focussing on the correct audience, organisation, eye-catching graphics, and distribution techniques.

He then divided the delegates into three groups, which selected a product, organised a plan for brochures, and presented their ideas to the group, who voiced their critique.

Buyer decision played a prominent role in the workshop, and Dr Dramberger explained the factors affecting how the purchaser perceives value for money. “Why should I spend this amount?” he asked, prior to detailing factors affecting decisions such as psychological, technical, tangibles and intangibles, and situations such as length of stay.

Dr Dramberger returned to CPS, outlining its four-point sales process: preparing for the sale, making the sales call, overcoming objections, and closing the sale. He also stressed the need to follow up after the sale.

He then described the four types of buyer personalities, and contrasted them with four characteristics needed to deal with them. A dominating buyer requires a results-oriented seller, one who exerts influence needs a persuasive yet people-oriented salesperson, a tough buyer requires a creative but tactical supplier, while a cautious purchaser wants someone more analytical.

“Spin” role playing came next, during which two participants faced off as buyer and seller in an impromptu setting, forcing them to think on their feet. Capping the full-day event, Dr Dramberger tasked the three teams with creating a product and explaining its appeal to their peers, the reason behind their pricing, and sales plan. The group then questioned the team on specifics of the plan, and offered suggestions.

Participant, Soulideth Phommachanh, managing director of upstart Laos Heritage Tour, said the seminar was very enlightening and motivating. “I was so engaged, that I invited Dr Dramberger on a tour of Luang Prabang the next day. His input was very helpful.” He also thanked Lanith for organising this event.

Lanith praised Dr Dramberger for donating his time to the Luxembourg Development’s Luang Prabang tourism and hospitality initiative, which conducts the award-winning Passport to Success skills training programme to raise service quality in the city. Lanith sustains the project by generating revenue from its newly opened high-end Balcony Bar and Restaurant, guestrooms, and meeting facilities, as well as fees from clients.

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