Xport Associates has existed as a freelancer group for three years. It is now evolving into something more useful for the Associates; a regular networking meeting where the members can network with each other, learn about the local business community and maybe even make friends.
Mark Wiltshear from Xport shares a recent e-mail exchange, and suggests ways to make your services attractive to tourists from overseas (and closer to home.)
As well as my work at Xport, I also record the Explore Finland Radio Show podcast & blog and I write a regular blog for Visit Seinäjoki. In both cases, I often contact ask people for an interview or information.
For my latest Visit Seinäjoki post Mark’s Winter Tips, I wanted to write about snow shoe walking. A contact at Etelä-Pohjanmaan Matkailu suggested a Seinäjoki company, that might be able to help. When I wrote to ask if they offer this activity, this was the reply:
“…My customers are Finnish companies and Finnish people and they sometimes bring foreign customers or friends.
I have had my company now 8 years and I haven’t had even one individual foreign customer in that time.
Unfortunately in this area of Finland we don`t have tourists at all.”
Really? No tourists in the Etelä-Pohjanmaa region? This stopped me in my tracks and made me think…
As a Chinese Associate of Xport, it’s really nice to hear all the recent commercial developments between China and Finland. It’s also my pleasure to share my perspective about tourism to Finland from China.
Around 10 years ago, I started managing sales to Amazon for my previous company, growing sales from a few hundred thousand pounds in my first year, to several million pounds in the fourth year. At Xport, we now help Finnish companies to get their products set-up on Amazon’s Marketplaces across Europe, see the Amazon page on xport.fi.
After writing my previous blog post Experiences Booking a Holiday Online (And How Finland Can Do It Better!), I started looking at holiday destinations in Europe, and realised that the principles that apply to setting-up products on Amazon, also apply to listing products on travel fare aggregators, such as Booking.com or Trip Advisor. Below, are the key elements of both an Amazon page AND a holiday accommodation listing.
“I would find myself thinking ‘I don’t know enough about this to make a decision‘ or… ‘They haven’t made much effort to sell this place… If they don’t care enough, why should I?‘”
Mark Wiltshear compares his experiences booking his two short breaks in summer 2017; a two-night city break in Estonia, and a two-night camping trip in Finland, and finds that Finland’s smaller accommodation still has room for improvement when it comes to appealing to visitors from another country (like him.)
“Improved English language information, better quality images of well-dressed accommodation, and a simple online booking system would be a good start.”
Mark looking for more potential tourists (photo courtesy of Into Seinäjoki)
Camping, sauna, summer festivals and sports – you could say Mark Wiltshear has become something of an expert on all things Finnish. Here we introduce you to two ways that Mark encourages more people to visit Finland: with a regular blog and a podcast radio show.Read more