Rachel Gaffney’s Letter From Texas - Top Visitor Destination Requests

January is behind me and it has been a very busy month, designing and booking trips to Ireland. Looking at the many itineraries, I can’t help but notice that the routes are all fairly similar, despite my best efforts to guide people in different directions.
There are many reasons for this.

During my initial conversation with a new client, I always ask them if there are any particular places they would really like to visit. Invariably they all list the same places. They want to visit some castles, they like history and culture and then they proceed to list The Cliffs Of Moher and The Ring of Kerry as two places they want to visit. When I ask them why they wish to visit these places, they tell me their friends told them about them or it’s what they have seen and heard over the years. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against either of these locations but I would not be doing my job properly if I were not suggesting other destinations.
Next, if your flight options are limited to flying in and out of Dublin, then this immediately handcuffs me with their itinerary. Lately, I have been suggesting to my clients from Texas to take the American Airlines Flight from Dallas Fort Worth to London, from London to Cork and to fly back to Texas on the direct flight from Dublin. This gives me a lot more scope with their itinerary.

In the last month, I have booked hotels in Dublin, Kilkenny, Kinsale, Kenmare, Dingle, Doonbeg, Doolin and Co Galway. It’s a route that makes sense but I can’t help but feel that I would really like to be sending more business to different locations.
We have done such a wonderful job over the years of promoting The Ring of Kerry, Waterford Crystal, Blarney Castle, The Cliffs of Moher and The Guinness Storehouse, that these locations are firmly embedded in people’s minds. Some people are very receptive and open to different routes, sights and locations but others suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) It’s almost as if I suggested to them that when they visit Paris, they could give the Eiffel Tower a miss!

Of course I am not trying to stop anyone from visiting any of these locations (as can be seen by the locations booked above) but I am trying to introduce and suggest alternatives. I think this is something that will take time. The more people who go off piste, the more they will share these positive experiences with others.

This year, for example, I will be sending more people to stay in Doolin than I did last year. There is one simple reason for this. I recently visited Doolin for two nights and explored and discovered so much more than I expected. If you are going to visit the Aran Islands and are unable to stay there overnight, then you owe it to yourself to stay in Doolin. I like to arrange for my clients to take a ferry from Doolin to Inis Mór for the day and then take a different ferry across Galway Bay to Rossaveel. My clients have drivers so I arrange for the driver to drop them off and then meet them later in the day in Rosaveel. By doing things like this, it means they get to see a lot more and I can then send them to stay at Ballynahinch Castle for a couple of days.

The Tourist Board has done a wonderful job introducing people to The Wild Atlantic Way, in particular. Perhaps we need another movie or novel featuring one of the lesser frequented towns - or perhaps it will just take a little more time before people come to me and tell me that Lough Oughter and Killaloe are the places the want to visit.


There are currently no comments

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment
Not a member? Register for your free membership now!
Or leave a comment by logging in with: