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I’m especially excited about this issue’s cover story, “Catch the Wave,” because I’ve wanted to run a feature story on surf travel for some time.
I grew up in Southern California, where surfing isn’t just a hobby, it’s a way of life. In high school, I even surfed a bit myself. While I was never good at it, a lot of the kids I grew up with stuck with it, and their passion for surfing only increased over the years. Today, many of these friends have introduced their families to the sport, and vacations will inevitably include the opportunity for everyone to try a new break.
These trips could include a bunch of old friends or they might be made up of different genders and ages, with surfers and non-surfers alike. Back in the old days, a surf trip meant finding a deserted beach in Nicaragua or somewhere remote and getting the cheapest shack on the water. Today, the surfers I know are often lawyers or business people in their everyday lives, and their tastes are decidedly more upscale. In fact, surfers are not afraid to travel to exotic places — it’s part of the culture — and they have a deep desire to experience life to its fullest, making them a great opportunity for enterprising agents.
In fact, in some ways a surf trip is similar to a golf vacation, which was on my mind when I had a recent conversation with Alan Hale from Fairways Golf at the Global Travel Marketplace in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Alan was telling me that a key for agents who want to book more golf trips is to start by finding out as much as possible about their existing clients. He said that agents would do well to simply ask questions and get to know their customers’ interests. If something like golf comes up, then the agent might have the opportunity to help with tee times or other aspects of the trip.
“People these days can do a lot on their own,” he said. “But they appreciate the value of having someone who can take care of the details for them. It’s a way for agents to add value to their service, while making extra commission at the same time.”
Niche pursuits, including surfing, are important factors in travel these days. Where there’s passion, there’s motivation, and agents can tap into this passion to motivate clients to see the world and get the most out of their precious vacation time.