Travel

Salman, author, at Ghandruk

Ghandruk Limited

Ghandruk is an ethnic village located in the Annapurna region of Nepal. A village predominantly inhabited by the Gurung and Magar tribes of Nepal, is also an important tourist destination of the country.

I, with the team of 23 theater enthusiasts, went to visit a local theater at Pokhara and chose to spend a day wandering at Ghandruk. The 2 hours of delightful walk led us up to our lodge. We spent the next day sightseeing and taking pictures.

It connect the major roadways to many other important villages leading up to Annapurna Base Camp. Generally, people start trekking from Nayapul through Ghandruk, Chhomrong, Phedi and MBC to the Base Camp and back.

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Jomsom

Jomsom-Muktinath Limited

A trip lasting one week, I made it from Pokhara to Jomsom and Muktinath. Jomsom is a small town located in the Mustang region of Nepal. Due to its remote location, the region is discreet in nature. It is 67 km away from the tourist-city of Pokhara.


Pokhara – Jomsom

You can take a private/public vehicle to Jomsom, which may take around 10-11 hrs; or better you can take a flight to Jomsom which lasts hardly 30 mins. (Flights aren’t available for Nepalese or domestic tourists during travel season, unless they pay for the tourist reserved seats which are worth over $100)

Jomsom marks the beginning of the arid and dry landscape which reaches until Tibet in the north through Lo Manthang.


Jomsom – Muktinath

Muktinath is a small town located 21 km away from Jomsom. The place is mostly visited by the Hindu/Buddhist pilgrims throughout the year. Due to the huge influx of both domestic and foreign tourists, the place is well developed.

It’s a custom for the devotees to take a shower in the 108 stone-taps inside the Muktinath temple. The freezing water is believed to cleanse ones soul.

Bhaktapur Durbar Square

The former royal complex at the center of Bhaktapur district is known as the Bhaktapur Durbar Square. It contains a palace, courtyards, historic monuments and numerous temples dedicated to various gods. The entire complex, along with Kathmandu Durbar Square and Patan Durbar Square, were included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

After Kathmandu Durbar Square, Bhaktapur is the 2nd most visited tourist destination. It suffered a huge loss during the major earthquake of 2015.

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Exploring the Pashupatinath Temple

Pashupatinath stands for “Lords of all animals.” The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva (One of the Hindu Trinity) and also known as the lord of animals. A stone bull in a crouching position marks the insignia of the temple.

It’s located at the heart of Kathmandu. The area of Pashupatinath encompasses 264 hectares of land including 518 temples and monuments. Due to its historical and social importance, the entire site was added in the UNESCO Heritage Site in 1979.

There isn’t certain date signifying the origin or creation of the temple. The earliest evidence of the temple dates back to 400 AD. The current temple was constructed or renewed in the 15th Century by the Lichhavi king of Kathmandu. Since, then many renovations have taken place; along with many temples, shrines built inside the premise.


How to Compose Your (Travel) Sales Email?

As pointed out in my previous article @How to Sell? 10 Tips for Travel Agents

The average industry rate for online trip bookings in Nepal is a mere 15%-20% of the total inquiries received. The lower rate of conversion is a sign of major faults in the sales practice, however, out of thousands of travel agencies only handful of them ever realize this issue.

Email is the ice-breaker. It helps set a path for future endeavors. The essential part of making a relationship with your customer is through a prompt and chivalrous reply to their emails. All you have to do is play nice and to the point!

As most sales take place online today, sales agents tend to make a grave mistake of taking email correspondence for granted, hence losing most of their customers even before getting to make an offer.

The prevalent practice in Nepal has been the copying of a certain email format from some travel agent and adding own words to it. This method has been repeated for hundreds of times, therefore, rendering the end result a poorly formatted copy with many grammatical errors and off-the-point pep talk.

Instead, if you focus on the basics of email correspondence and make a point of simplistic presentation, you could reduce the chance of email bounce and achieve higher likability of getting a positive response.

In most cases, respondents do not reply because they find the email irrelevant or poorly addressed.


3 BASIC CONCEPTS OF SALES EMAILS

#1 THE OPENER

This is what the recipient sees in the inbox. It consists of the Subject and the first 20 or so words of the email.

Most sales agents tend to add their company’s history, mission, motto and other lengthy stuffs in it which ultimately increases the size of the opener, hence, giving more reasons for a reader to discard it. Lengthy openers are boring and off the point. Instead, you need to offer immediate response to their question, and to keep their interest intact when they move down the email.

Example: (A Reply to Basic Sales Inquiry)

[Hi/Hello] [Respondent's first name],

I hope you're having a great day. Thank you for your email regarding [Trip ABC]. I'm glad to assist you with the information for this trip.

#2 THE BENEFIT

The major chunk of any email. It elaborates on the trip and its benefits, availability, advantages and other essential information to get their interest going.

Example:

{Opener}
 The [Trip ABC] requires you to register for a special permit, which may cost $$. The cost for hiring guide/porter is the standard rate of $$, however, hiring a porter is optional.

The trip listed in our official website is an inclusive package and covers the entire cost for the trip, along with fringe expenses along the way.

To tell you more, the [destination] was officially opened for the tourists in 1991. A protected area, it is home to some of the most exquisite flora and fauna. Some 33 species of mammals, including; Snow leopard, Musk deer and Himalayan tahr, are found in this area. The [days] trek is enough to offer you pleasures of immersing in the local environment, while observing ethnic lifestyle and some of the best sights of surrounding mountains.

Please write back your preferred date for this trip. and, I will help you find a group to join, or, in case of unavailability, I shall organize a private trip for you with no extra expenses.

#3 THE CLOSER

If the closer is simple and easy, you get a response. If it’s complicated and onerous, you don’t. Add CTA (Click Through Action) if needed, or keep it open so they can write you back with further queries.

Example:

{Opener}
 {Benefit}
 To learn more about this trip, visit @www.xyz.com/xyz..

Feel free to call or email me if you have any questions.

Sincerely Yours,
 [Your Name]
 [Designation], [Company's name]
 [000-000-0000]
 [www.xyz.com]

Email Giveaways

  • Never response with a lengthy email. People seldom read the email completely.
  • Never attach files or images unless they have specifically asked for it. Attachment increases the size of an email, hence, it takes more time to download it.
  • Keep it cool. They wrote you first, so you don’t need to act on impulse and keep conversation short and up to the point.
  • Don’t offer multiple CTAs in the email. There’s likely chance that they won’t click any of it.
  • Don’t start giving offers/incentives/discounts unless they have asked or desired for it. Giveaway in the first email makes you look desperate.
  • Do not copy from your competitors, instead, use formatted samples from the experts available online. It saves time and extra work.

Write to salman.thegurung@gmail.com for feedback, business proposition, talk or face à face.