Quotes from recent article titled “Israel Sales Experts Share Strategies, Insights”, dated March 10th, 2011 by Claudette Covey appearing on Travel Market Report.

Raise the bar on Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah travel

Susan Weissberg
We arrange for Bar Mitzvahs and Bat Mitzvahs for various family members to Israel from all parts of the world. We arrange from the rabbi for the ceremony itself and have either the Bat Mitzvah or Bar Mitzvah person communicate directly with the rabbi, who resides in Israel, first hand. Sometimes it’s a family of four or a group of up to 100. People are just overwhelmed with the arrangements: the air, hotels, guides and arranging for the rabbi to conduct the ceremony. They’re relieved to put it all in my hands. All they have to give me is their dates and their budgets. This is a niche that’s been built by word of mouth, and we have 100% satisfaction rate.” Susan Weissberg, president, Wylly’s Professional Travel, Coral Gables, Fla.

Know and go
You cannot be an Israel expert after one fam trip. You have to know the culture and the sites, the guides and the hoteliers. I lived in Israel for 10 years and have built contacts over many, many decades. Agents have to get there as much as they possibly can. They have to keep in touch with the latest news and archeological sites. You have to visit new and existing hotels every two or three years.” Susan Weissberg, Wylly’s Professional Travel

Carefully qualify the client
“I will not book a trip to Israel unless I spent at least 25 minutes on the phone with the client to listen, provide advice, and zone in on what they want. I cannot do that by email. The personal touch is extremely, extremely important when selling Israel. Be a good listener and work with the client’s budget. The worst turnout is selling someone something they literally can’t afford. Do not be pushy. That’s a no-no.” Susan Weissberg, Wylly’s Professional Travel

Seek out new products to sell
“There is a new trend for having reunions, marriages and anniversaries in Jerusalem – people who are celebrating 25- or 40-year anniversaries. This is something I just love doing. It’s such a happy experience and it’s fairly new. Also, active tours – zip lining, horseback riding and cycling – are becoming increasingly more popular. These types of tours are particularly popular for second or third timers going back to Israel. They want action and I give it to them.” Susan Weissberg, Wylly’s Professional Travel

Know your guides and suppliers
Before travelers arrive in Israel I provide guides with client preferences: those who like to start touring at dawn, those who like to start at 9:30 a.m. I provide guides with any client food allergies and food preferences. I also call the hotels beforehand to tell them to take very good care of my clients. These types of extra steps make the difference.” Susan Weissberg, Wylly’s Professional Travel

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