Follow along: How to conduct travel research
Planning a trip is exciting, but it’s important to conduct thorough research beforehand to ensure everything goes smoothly. Conducting research online can help travelers to plan an itinerary, avoid potential risks and learn more about cultural peculiarities. In the time of COVID-19, it is important for travelers to understand health and safety considerations prior to booking a trip.
Today, we’re catching up with Zadie, who is thinking about her next holiday but doesn’t know exactly where she wants to go. Like most people, she starts her research from a search engine. We’ll follow along as Zadie chooses a destination, researches flights, hotels and ground transport, reads reviews and gets expert insight from a local destination management company (DMC). The lessons Zadie learns will apply to anyone planning an international trip.
Reviewing online travel resources
Zadie has been interested in learning more about the cultures of Southeast Asia ever since she watched a documentary about Angkor Wat, an ancient temple located in modern-day Cambodia. However, she’s not sure if she wants to limit her trip to just one country. Thailand and Vietnam also look interesting. Perhaps Zadie will plan an itinerary that allows her to visit several unique destinations in the region.
As she begins the research process, Zadie starts to get overwhelmed with the vast number of travel blogs, review sites and tour company listings that come up with a single search. Where should she start? And how does she know which sources are trustworthy?
An article explains that review sites may be untrustworthy. There’s no way for Zadie to know if any of the reviews are from real travelers, and if they are real, they might not be representative of the average experience. She decides to use these sites to get a broad overview of what to expect, but she’ll use other sources to make her final decision.
After browsing review sites and travel blogs, Zadie decides she wants to spend a week on holiday exploring Cambodia and Vietnam. Now she needs some expert advice on how to ensure her trip is successful, safe and fun. Plus, she wants to know more about lesser-known attractions that won’t be crowded by tourists. That’s when Zadie learns about a local DMC called Tour East, an organization that can provide the type of insights that can only come from locally based travel professionals.
Designing a flexible travel itinerary
Angkor Wat is the one place that Zadie definitely wants to see, but as the most popular attraction in the country, she’s worried about walking through crowds of other tourists. Thankfully, Tour East offers a full-day tour of the temple complex by a traditional transportation method called a TukTuk – a small vehicle that will allow her to maximize her time at the sight without getting fatigued. The tour includes an English-speaking guide who can provide detailed information about the temple’s history. Plus, a traditional Khmer lunch is part of the package, which means Zadie won’t have to worry about finding a meal.
As a single female traveling alone, safety is a top priority for Zadie, so she’s glad to see that Tour East also offers hotel recommendations. It makes her feel more comfortable knowing that she’ll have a safe and relaxing place to retreat to between her visit to Angkor Wat and another day trip to Siem Reap, where she will have the unique experience of a private blessing ceremony conducted by a resident monk.
Zadie’s trip to southeast Asia is beginning to take shape. Now she turns her attention to the Vietnam portion of her journey.
Finding memorable travel experiences
The experts at Tour East can help Zadie determine the best way to travel from Cambodia to Vietnam. With their local experience, the professionals at Tour East can make more recommendations for safe places to stay and unique things to do. She’s particularly interested in visiting the country’s famous floating markets so she can find some interesting gifts to bring back to her friends and family.
By working with Tour East, Zadie is able to create a flexible travel schedule. She has some of her travel days planned in advance – like her visit to Angkor Wat – but she also has days where she will be free to roam around and explore on her own. With the help of the DMC, she knows what areas to avoid so that she can travel on her own while still thinking about her personal safety. As she makes her reservations, Zadie is confident that she will have a successful trip to Cambodia and Vietnam.
With her tickets booked, reservations made and itinerary in hand, Zadie is ready for her trip. The only thing left to do is pack a bag!
Managing an itinerary for one person can be a challenge, but things get even more complicated when planning group trips for meetings, incentives and conferences. Travel agents can work with local DMCs to find unique venues, work with local vendors and plan memorable group events. For more information about how a local DMC can help you plan a safe and fun trip for any number of travelers, get in touch with the experts in the Global DMC Network.