The Naked Agent
OUR secret shopper
is looking for a
romantic getaway in
the Valentine’s Day month of
February with the hope that
her boyfriend of four years
will propose. The couple have
worked in the UK and travelled
in Europe. She consulted
Don’t drive customers online
Airlines, hotels, operators,
cruise lines and other
suppliers have websites
to receive enquiries and
bookings directly. As an
agent, you have the benefit
of using these fabulous,
content-rich websites to
match customer needs
to the perfect product.
You can copy and paste
descriptions and pictures
and produce wonderful
itineraries to bring
products to life, creating
excitement and converting
the enquiry to a booking.
If you don’t, customers
will go online and research
whether your quote meets
their needs, with every
likelihood they will check
availability and book.
Their travel agent has
recommended the airline
and the property; they can
do the rest themselves.
You can improve your sales
and commission earnings,
by completing Travelinfo
Plus’ Get Travel Sales Fit
The purpose of the Naked Agent in this series of ‘Sell more…’ features
is to assess the experience from only a sales skills perspective and not
the effectiveness of the travel agency. TNW believes that sales skills are
increasingly important to travel agents and, in many cases, improvement
in selling skills is the easiest way to increase the prosperity of the agency
and its consultants. The Naked Agent is designed to raise awareness of
the opportunity and build awareness of the need.
Zia van der Merwe, Pentravel The Pavilion
Zia van der Merwe greeted
me warmly and although I
obviously didn’t know which
destination to consider,
she used her sense of
humour to create rapport.
She suggested Zanzibar
and Mauritius as idyllic
escapes, both reachable
by short flights without visa
requirements. She said she
had been to Mauritius twice
and named her favourite
spots, saying why she loved
them and discussing the
advantages of the east and
west coasts. I sounded
unsure, pointing out that my
boyfriend wanted Paris or
somewhere else in Europe.
We talked about sightseeing
in Paris and the benefits
of travelling in winter (less
crowded) and the open-top
bus. She reverted to me
with options on the same
day, and said she would call
to discuss further. During
the follow-up telephone
conversation, I said we
were definitely interested
in Paris. She proceeded to
sell the destination and her
choice of hotel, which was
within walking distance of
attractions. The quote was
a little over budget but she
turned this into a positive,
saying if we were further
from the centre of Paris
we would spend more on
the Metro. However, she
said she would be happy to
re-quote. At this point she
asked me to Google the
hotel, and get back to her
if I was unhappy. It’s a pity
that she did this. She should
have had the courage of
her convictions knowing we
were set on Paris and asked
for the booking by creating
a sense of urgency around
February being the month for
lovers. By encouraging me
to Google, she was opening
me up to quote comparisons
and direct booking. However,
she was without doubt the
most engaging and helpful
of all the agents I called,
and I would have.
An exceptionally friendly
greeting and a sense of
humour were the impressions
I got from this agent. When
I explained what I was trying
to achieve, he laughed
conspiratorially. I mentioned
Paris or Mauritius and he
asked about our nationalities
and explained about visas.
He suggested Paris or Italy
and when I asked where he
would recommend in Italy
he said Venice, Florence or
Rome. He asked whether we
wanted to do a tour or be by
ourselves. He encouraged
our choice of Europe for a
romantic proposal, saying
we could go to Mauritius at
any time. He asked for our
budget, and said he would
include private transfers. He
also asked if we needed travel
insurance. He promised to get
some ideas to me before the
close of business and I was
happy that he had understood
what I was looking for. He
was genuinely interested and
enthusiastic. As good as his
word, he sent a quote within
the next couple of hours.
While the covering email was
short and didn’t bring the
holiday to life, he linked my
birthday and Valentine’s Day,
selling the package based on
the fact that I could celebrate
both. Smart thinking and
again engaging. He followed
up within 48 hours and I told
him we were waiting for some
additional quotes. It was a pity
he didn’t reply and attempt to
overcome this hesitation. After
four days, I had heard nothing
further from him.
Flight Centre The Pavilion
Initially this agent sounded
quite cold and matter of fact.
The questions began quite
transactionally, and she did
not ask me to elaborate on
my replies. After a couple
of minutes, however, she
started to warm up, added
humour and became more
personal. When I asked
for recommendations she
switched the query back to
me, saying it was all about
what I liked. It would have
been great if she probed
further. For example, she
could have asked: “If we did
a city break, what would you
like to see and do – history,
museums, food, tours? Would
you consider one or two
centres to see more, as you
are flying that far?” She did
ask if I had received any other
quotes and when I explained
about the Venice option, she
could have queried what we
liked or didn’t like about it.
Instead, she simply asked
what I thought about Paris as
an alternative. Whilst she did
become less transactional and
attempt to keep me on the
phone looking at destinations,
she didn’t completely hook
me. She promised that she
would return to me before
lunchtime with options.
The quotes arrived on the
same day at 13h30 with a
covering email to contact
her if I needed any further
assistance. Three options
were given in the attachment,
but there were no images,
no itinerary, no selling. As a
customer I would have to go
online and conduct further
research. She did, however,
follow up by email and phone.
Our selling-orientated criteria:
10% Engage the customer by making an excellent first
impression – be interested, excited and enthusiastic.
Profile the customer, getting to know their needs in full,
their likes, dislikes and prior travels. Use consultative
sales techniques, not transactional questions only, and
provide advice about the destination.
10% Hook the customer, preventing their further shopping
around, by sounding like an expert.
10% Match the enquiry to the quote, providing two or three
options, ideally within the same day of enquiry.
20% Sell the holiday ideas and bring them to life. Don’t just
attach a quote.
5% Close the sale when you spot buying signals.
15% Convert the sale by creating a sense of urgency and
asking for the booking.
10% Persist if customers provide a reason why they can’t
book – attempt to overcome objections.
Agents are scored up to the maximum of the weighted percentages above.
40 great romantic getaway ideas
1 Zimbali Lodge in Ballito on the
KwaZulu Natal North Coast – drive
just 20km from Durban airport to Ballito.
Priced at approximately R1 780 for a
king bedded room, this is only marginally
more expensive than a four-star hotel
in Durban. The offering far exceeds the
pricing with secluded, balconied rooms
almost totally enclosed by a natural forest
giving the ultimate in privacy. Superb
room service makes leaving the room
Vimal Sardar, Always On Travel,
2 The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa,
Cape Town – warm, welcoming and caring
staff to ensure a truly wonderful honeymoon
overflowing with special memories, in a
breathtaking, exclusive setting amidst splendid
Atlantic Ocean sunsets and a unique fynbos
mountainside. The Heavenly Honeymoon
package, available at a surcharge, adds just
that extra bit of pampering.
Coral Swanepoel, Kokanya Tours, Randburg.
3 Petersfield Farm at Citrusdal in the
Western Cape offers individual,
self-catering cottages for couples at
only R495 per day for two. There’s
even a romantic bathtub outside in the
mountains to bathe under stars.
Helene Hammargren, HH Travel in
association with eTravel, Western Cape.
4 Views Boutique Hotel and Spa, Knysna –
stunning location and breathtaking view!
Winter special R950pppn, what a bargain!
Elize van Staden,
XL Sandown Travel, Cape Town
5 I recently went on honeymoon. We did
Nambiti – Springbok Lodge for three nights,
then to Cleopatra Mountain Farm House for two
nights and the last night was spent at Granny
Mouse Country House. Springbok Lodge and
Cleopatra both include all meals, which is great
as the only extras are drinks and tipping. Granny
Mouse has a honeymoon special that includes
massages and a special meal. You can then travel
back to Durban via the Midlands Meander.
Candice Lucas, Sure Map Travel, Durban
6 Dunkeld Country Estate in
Dullstooom – for people who enjoy
the outdoors, lovely setting in between
trout dams. Go for walks or enjoy cosy
nights in the rooms with fireplaces. Cost
is approx R2 320pn B&B for a double
Plane Sailing Travel, Pretoria
7 Fordoun Hotel and Spa offers
five-star accommodation in
Nottingham Road in the scenic KwaZulu
Natal Midlands, at the foothills of the
Drakensberg. It has the most amazing
spa and romantic packages, not
forgetting the chocolate bath for couples.
Hawa Mitha, Sure Mithas Travel, Durban
8 Tsala Treetops Lodge is a luxury
treehouse escape on the Garden
Route. From R4 128pps on the Couples
Only Retreat package with romantic
TravelGround.com, Cape Town
9 Tshukudu Bush Lodge in the
Pilanesberg. Only a two-hour drive
from Johannesburg in a malaria-free area.
A small and intimate lodge with only six
luxury chalets, each with private balcony.
Sioban Cooke, Harvey World Kimzan,
10 Tima Moon, close to Kruger Park,
Mpumalanga. From R4 800 per couple.
I would suggest this for a proposal of marriage. It
feels as if you are in a different world. You can be
yourself, in nature! Most seductive place on earth!
The Departure Lounge, Randburg
11 Sanbona Wildlife Reserve in the
Western Cape is a magical place.
The cheetah, White lions, elephant, fabulous
accommodation at Dwyka Tented Camp, the
food, spa and very attentive service (even
hot water bottles on the early-morning
game drives) – we just love it.
The Holiday Factory, Cape Town
12 Lalibela Game Reserve, Eastern
Cape – it is special because it is a
malaria-free Big Five game reserve near the
coast. At present a two-night stay costs only
R7 500pps all inclusive, and as the travel
agent doing the booking, you will receive
Talk Travel, Claremont, Cape Town
13 My fiancé and I are having our
wedding in Hibberdene and we just
cannot wait. Total wedding cost: R28 000.
Kirsty Heath,Travel Counsellors, Benoni
14 McGregor for a complete break
for two to three nights. Various
accommodation options from cabins to
guesthouses and lots of amazing walking
trails. If you’re lucky enough to be able
to gain access into the nature reserve
area, at the top of the mountain there
are amazing mountain views and, in my
opinion, a perfect place for a proposal if
Sure Stellenbosch Travel
15 Jaci’s Tree Lodge, Madikwe.
From R3 000pps. Literally built
in what seems to be a massive tree –
the most amazing place to experience.
Charlene Muller, The Departure Lounge,
16 Helicopter flight over the Cape
Peninsula to Haute Cabrière wine
estate, where you will be met with a welcome
glass of wine. Then you are collected by
vehicle and transferred through the scenic
winelands to Delaire Graff spa to enjoy dual
massages followed by a mouth-watering
lunch at the Delaire Graff Restaurant.
Monique van Eeden,
Belmond Safaris, Cape Town
17 For a destination wedding, try
Hanglip Mountain in the Entabeni
escarpment, where the guests are taken
by game vehicles and the bride can
arrive by helicopter. It is a truly ‘wow’
experience and the costs can be tailored
to the couple’s budget. [See Legend
18 A two- or three-night trip on the
Zambezi Queen! True luxury and
pampering with personalised comfort
in the heart of the African wilderness.
Cruise along the banks of the Chobe
River and enjoy amazing wildlife. Fly into
Kasane or transfer from Vic Falls, leaving
you the option to combine it with a couple
of days in Vic Falls, Zambia or Botswana.
XL Boland Travel, Paarl
19 Mauritius for sure for a destination
wedding. Beachcomber’s Le
Victoria is a perfect candidate. So many
places to choose from to have your
wedding reception. They set it all up and
make sure you look and feel like the most
gorgeous bride on earth. Your whole party
is looked after and it’s a magical romantic
Travel Counsellors, Bloemfontein
20 Flamingo Bay resort,
Mozambique, from R7 300pps.
The rooms are built on stilts! For your
turndown some nights, you get little
packets of fish food – sit on your patio
with your feet in the water and feed the
fish, nothing more serene!
The Departure Lounge, Randburg
21 Situated just outside Inhambane,
Mozambique’s paradise tourist
destination, on a pristine tropical private
beach, Barra Beach Club combines privacy with
authenticity and unspoilt beauty. Twelve deluxe
suites are only a hop and jump from the beach.
There are private gardens, secluded indoor and
outdoor showers and endless activities to suit
every need. Cost: R34 768.
Katlego Maimane, Rennies Travel, Johannesburg
22 Tsarabanjina in Madagascar,
R4 000 a night but a really
Flight Centre Hout Bay, Cape Town
23 A private villa with pool at Constance
Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius. Enjoy
days sunbathing in your own walled garden
beside your very own swimming pool. If the
ocean beckons then it is just a few steps
down to the shore. It is set amidst small
lakes, frangipani and coconut groves.
Lance van den Heever-Liebenberg,
Marmalade Toast bespoke travel &
destination management, Bryanston,
24 I would suggest a five-night stay
at St. Anne Resort and Spa in
the Seychelles. This is a once-in-a-lifetime
destination and it’s ideal for honeymoons.
The resort is romantic and the villas
are private and elegant. The cost is
approximately R30 000pp on a half-board
option. Honeymoon packages always include
value-adds like a free meal or discount for
the bride, which is always appreciated.
Hasambe Travel, Bedfordview
25 Sossusvlei Desert Lodge - surrounded by sand
dunes of the Namib Desert. Sheer silence, total
tranquillity and romantic luxury. Activities include stargazing
to intimate picnics.
Lance van den Heever-Liebenberg, Marmalade Toast
bespoke travel and destination management, Bryanston,
26 Island hop in the Seychelles by chartering a yacht
through Sunsail. You can even swim with turtles at
Félicité Island, stop off at La Digue and hire bicycles and
swim at all the various beaches. The approximate cost to
hire a yacht for five nights with a skipper is R35 000.
Caron Crocker, Club Travel, Cape Town
27 We went to Royal Chundu’s Katombora Island
Lodge in Zambia for our anniversary. The lodge is
just amazing, perfect location, excellent staff and service,
exclusivity and ultimate relaxation – a proper five-star
experience in the bush. Rates are from US$662pppn
(R7 082) full board and $974pppn (R10 420) fully
inclusive. The best activity is the rafting trip with a luxury
picnic on the banks of the Zambezi River.
Roland Muller, Flight Centre, Johannesburg
28 Réunion. A very romantic getaway is a self-drive road
trip around the island – beaches to mountains! Between
R11 000 and R20 000.
Juan Nel, AfricaStay, Johannesburg.
29 Le Gemma dell Est, Zanzibar, combines beach
and old-world charm and is all inclusive –
package price total of R46 650.
Susan Williams, Susan’s Travel cc, Johannesburg
30 Phi Phi Island Village (now Outrigger) on the
Phi Phi islands in Thailand. It is heaven on
earth with free-standing romantic bungalows on stilts,
the most amazing spa with breathtaking views from the
Jacuzzi, infinity pool, two lovely restaurants and swaying
palm trees covering the property.
Sherrilyn Guess, Travel Counsellors, Bloemfontein
31 Baros Maldives – excluding flights, this sells
from R13 000 per person for seven nights. Fivestar
luxury, service to the max, spacious rooms, all on
Martmarie Cotter, Sure Swartland Travel, Malmesbury
32 Rawai Palm Beach Resort, Phuket – a deluxe
pool access room is ideal for most young
couples and even older ones who have to watch
costs. At R10 500pp it includes flights, transfers and
seven nights’ accommodation with breakfast. Added
bonus is a romantic 30-minute massage and Thai
dinner. There are so many affordable things to do in
Phuket – elephant riding, water sports, Phi Phi and
James Bond Island.
Jenny Jackwitch, Travel Rendezvous, West Rand
33 From R21 000pps, Kuredu in
the Maldives, my absolute
favourite! The idea of being so far from
the rest of the world, just the two of you
– amazing! The finishing touches they
offer to honeymoon couples, just the best
The Departure Lounge, Randburg
34 Agadir, Morocco. Beautiful
beaches with fully inclusive
options and Morocco has exquisite ‘minihotels’
with a maximum of six rooms that
are just wow! A package can be done for
R38 000 per couple for nine nights.
Loren Wilson, Travel Counsellors, Benoni
35 Isle of Capri, Italy – you get a chance
to experience the real Italian lifestyle,
food and culture. There is Anacapri which
is slightly cheaper to stay in than the Capri
side and the little town of Capri has outdoor
markets, outdoor projector movies, singing and
dancing. The Blue Grotto is stunning.
Tamaryn Kruger, Sure Stellenbosch Travel
36 Portofino, Italy. Stay in a small
boutique hotel, walk down to the
market to buy some cheese, bread and
vino, and have a picnic on the beautiful
beach. After a fun day out, dinner for two
in an Italian bistro under the moonlight.
Sure Travelways, Durbanville
37 I always suggest Mallorca as
an anniversary destination. Very
romantic, awesome hotels and beaches
and I always include a sunset cruise and
heli flip with a romantic champagne picnic
overlooking the island from the hill tops.
A real must for the romantic traveller.
Gerald Engelbrecht Klitzke,
The Boyz Travel Merchants, Centurion
38 Chile – amazing food,
incredible people, easy
access via São Paulo. Caters
for every occasion, glaciers in
Patagaonia, sun in the desert,
incredible wine, beautiful beaches
and just such a diverse place to visit.
Gillian Grogan, Personal Africa,
39 One of the most romantic trips
you can do is with Nostalgic
Classic Cars in one of their open-top
classic Alfa Romeos or VW Beetles.
Driving through Tuscany in an open-top
classic car feels as if you are in the
La Dolce Vita movie! The La Dolce Vita
itinerary starts from €1 450pp (R20 749)
for a three-night itinerary.
ICAN Holidays, Somerset West
40 CliffSide Suites, Santorini, Greece. Small intimate
hotel clinging to the cliff side of Santorini island
with incredible views over the ocean and caldera and
enchanting sunsets. Expensive, but well worth the money.
Sure The Travel Agent, East London
Atlantis, the Palm, Dubai
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Gorilla trekking in Rwanda or Uganda
Inca Trail, South America
Kauai island, Hawaii
Pangkor Laut, Malaysia
Six Senses Resort, Ninh Van Bay, Vietnam
African Pride Crystal Towers, Cape Town
Aquila Private Game Reserve, Western Cape
The Blue Train
Brenton on Sea, Garden Route
Buffalo Hills, Plettenberg Bay
Bushmans Kloof, Clanwilliam
Cathedral Peak, Drakensberg
Clifftop Lodge, Welgevonden
Ellerman House, Cape Town
Hamiltons Tented Camp, Kruger National Park
Jozini Tiger Lodge and Spa, KwaZulu Natal
La Residence, Franschhoek
Montagu, Western Cape
Phinda Private Game Reserve, KwaZulu Natal
Thali Thali Game Lodge, Langebaan
Thanda Private Game Reserve, KwaZulu Natal
The Oyster Box, Umhlanga
Trennerys, Wild Coast
Tour operators add a dash of romance
Beachcomber guarantees that
there will be no other events
at its properties in Mauritius or
Seychelles on the client’s wedding
day. Clients are contacted by a
personal wedding co-ordinator to
discuss details for their special day
and can choose a classic or luxury
Honeymooners can choose a
quiet hotel with an exclusive
feel or one that offers a more
social experience with evening
entertainment and socialising.
The five-star-plus hotels offer a
complimentary massage at the
Clarins spa for couples while
Royal Palm Mauritius offers plush
Dinarobin Hotel Golf & Spa on
Le Morne Peninsula is highly
recommended for romantic
breaks. It has a private setting
with its suites built in crescents.
Five suites centre on a private
swimming pool for relaxation with
canopied day beds.
The Holiday Factory:
The Holiday Factory offers a
number of packages that are
suitable for honeymoons, weddings
and notable anniversaries.
Each resort and destination
differs its offering, ranging from
a romantic petal turndown to a
complimentary beach dinner.
The Holiday Factory’s expertise
ensures good advice on best value
appropriate to the client’s needs.
Holiday Tours has excellent
relationships with partners in
Mauritius and can make special
requests for a couple.
While unique pre-bookable
experiences are available, the tour
operator can create packages to
meet requirements. Offers a wide
selection of product that can be
Is currently expanding its Europe
products to include even more
romantic destinations such as
Prague and Vienna.
The relaxed pace of an At Leisure
guided holiday is perfectly suited
to couples. There are later starts,
longer stays and lots of flexibility,
giving couples the chance to
explore on their own.
Many South Africans marry
between February and April.
Trafalgar’s autumn, winter and
spring (AWS) itineraries run from
November through to April, fitting
perfectly into this period.
The AWS programme has an early
payment discount of up to 5% on
trips until October 31. It can also
be combined with other discounts
such as frequent traveller and
second trip discounts.
World Leisure Holidays
Exclusive to World Leisure Holidays,
La Pirogue is a popular year-round
venue, sought after for weddings
and honeymoons because of its
quaint, intimate ambience and
beach setting on the west side of
Also exclusive to World Leisure
Holidays, Sugar Beach, Ambre and
Long Beach allow for weddings
two to three days a week. The
hotels cater for Jewish and Muslim
Weddings can be arranged
throughout the year, with a few
restrictions on public holidays and
over the Christmas and New Year
periods. World Leisure Holidays
offers tailor-made as well as a preselected
range of wedding options.
Venues with a twist of love
Premier Hotels & Resorts offers
luxury accommodation to make
a romantic getaway comfortable
and personalised. Properties are
in some of the most popular travel
destinations – from wildlife to
beaches, mountains to vineyards and
historic to modern-day locations.
Different approaches make a client’s
stay special with optional extras such
as sparkling wine, chocolates, fruit
platter or a surprise birthday cake.
Honeymoon couples get a room turndown
with gowns and chocolates.
Mpongo Private Game Reserve, which
is managed by Premier Hotels &
Resorts, offers guests a unique blend
of luxury accommodation, romantic
game viewing and true SA hospitality
in a malaria-free environment.
Tshwane Events Centre
The size of the Tshwane Events
Centre means it is popular with the
Indian community as traditionally they
host large wedding receptions of up
to 3 000 guests.
It has animal pens and horse stables
among others for animal-themed
weddings. The wide open spaces
have also seen a wedding reception
suspended in mid-air by a crane.
Fly ther on cloud 9
Air France offers customers the
chance to experience pleasure and
relaxation, including the in-flight
meals, which feature traditional
French dishes. The wine list reflects
a wide range of French grape
varieties and free champagne is
also served in all classes.
Air France offers daily night flights
on the A380 from Johannesburg
to Paris-Charles de Gaulle. The
A380 seats 538 passengers, and
provides improved comfort and a
Air France’s in-flight entertainment
comprises 600 hours of
programmes including 85 fulllength
films, well-known TV series
and a jukebox with 240 CDs. The
programme is available online
before travelling so passengers
can decide before boarding what to
watch or listen to.
Air Mauritius offers a 20%
discount on the bride’s airfare if
the couple are getting married or
honeymooning in Mauritius.
Together with Red Label Holidays,
Air Mauritius offers ‘just for 2’
free Air Mauritius lounge access
in Cape Town, Durban and
Johannesburg. Red Label Holidays
also offers discounts on spa
treatments, R500 resort credit,
cocktail vouchers and more at
LUX* Le Morne.
Air Mauritius offers a last-minute
upgrade to business class for only
R1 500 per person from South
Africa to Mauritius one-way.
In conjunction with Royal Orchid
Holidays, Thai Airways offers valueadds
for couples who purchase
packages. These include room
upgrades, complimentary lunch or
dinner for two.
Thai Airways offers special
packages arranged with
honeymooners in mind.
Destination they will love
Paris is known as the city of lights
and romance. Couples can take walks
along the bridges of Paris, along the
river Seine or sit at a pavement café.
France’s coastline resorts, from
Normandy and Deauville to the Riviera
and Saint Tropez, are also romantic
options. Couples can also explore the
many romantic castles of the Loire
Another popular romantic getaway
is for couples to discover the snowcapped
mountains of the French Alps.
Réunion Island is a unique
destination. Between sea and
mountains it offers a diversity of
landscapes and exceptional activities
suitable for honeymooners.
With a wide range of hotels, Réunion
is an incredible travel experience to
suit all budgets and tastes.
The luxury and charm of the west
coast offer programmes dedicated to
honeymooners and idyllic getaways
filled with memories.
Most people who honeymoon in
Thailand choose to spend time on the
spectacular beaches, however, there
are other destinations for the more
adventurous looking for something off
the beaten track.
Perfect for couples who want to
enjoy a mixture of activities, from city
excursions and nightlife, to mountain
trekking, beachcombing and shopping
in modern malls as well as outdoor
food and flower markets.
Older couples generally enjoy the
northern area of Thailand such
as Chiang Mai due to the cultural
heritage and markets, and some of
the world’s best golf courses. For
younger couples, beaches are a major
draw card, particularly Phuket, Pattaya
and Koh Samui.