Slow it down

Travel: The written word vs reality.

I’m currently consulting on a wonderful project, putting together India, Nepal and Bhutan portfolios. This has involved writing up itineraries and I had an awakening!

Itineraries are, more often than not, put together determined by facts. The drive is so long, these are the activities clients do on arrival, this is where they sleep. Two nights | done | move on. On paper, it works. The agent sends it, the client reads it, it seems plausible. But what the ‘on paper,’ itinerary doesn’t allow for is the reality. The India overwhelm, the constant early morning starts, exhaustion, how tiring 5 hour journeys are every 1-2 days, the desire to have a little free time to enjoy the hotel, take a dip in the pool, a spa treatment, or spend more time in a bazaar, or at a photo moment, with a chance encounter, in short, to be in the moment rather than worry about what comes next!

I spend a lot of time on the road, and speak to a lot of  hoteliers about their experiences with clients. So many of them talk about having to deal with frazzled clients due to hectic itineraries.  But also, they have put so much thought and effort into creating these special places (well, in my segment of travel at least) and guests just don’t have time to appreciate them. It’s a tragedy for the client and the hotelier.

Take wildlife as a classic example; Bandhavgarh 2, Kanha 2, Pench 2.

Thats  5 hour drives, afternoon safari, bed, up at 0500, morning safari, lunch, afternoon safari, dinner, bed, up at 0500 morning safari, drive 5 hours, arrive, dinner, bed, up at 0500, morning safari, afternoon safari, dinner, bed. I’m exhausted just typing it. Same happens in the Golden Triangle, down in Cochin etc.

This last couple of weeks  has reminded me how and even (almost) had me believing that on paper that a packed and busy itinerary looks fine. 25 years experience of being on the ground, of chatting to frazzled clients in hotels and countless hoteliers,  has shown me that what’s on paper does not meet reality.

Oh, and let’s not forget, longer stays in destinations are better for the environment too.
#india # #travel #sustainabletourism 

Slow it down, give people time, so that they have time to relax, absorb and remember details, not, oh, yes, that photo, now which fort was that??

Gaps in itineraries are the toughest sell, but they are the moments that allow for memories to be created.

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