Tourism is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world and plays a vital role in boosting a country's economy. The travel and tourism industry is becoming increasingly competitive opening windows to the emerging trend of destination marketing strategies. The role of destination management in the development of sustainable tourism is highly important. However, it is also essential to note that effective destination marketing has an equally vital role to play in shaping the success of the tourism sector and Charson Advisory Services, a Mumbai headquartered boutique agency is ensuring this since 2007.
Charson Advisory Services Pvt. Ltd is a leading destination representation and marketing communication management consulting firm dedicated to the Indian travel and tourism industry. They are not a typical PR agency that handles consumer brands as they are more focused in their niche. Their focus is on destination either for tourism or for trade and investment. Through in-depth marketing research, public relations and brand consultancy services, Charson Advisory provides successfully tested and cost-effective marketing strategies to national tourism boards and private organizations. Over the years, the company has worked with clients such as turismo de Portugal, Slovenia Tourism Board, Dubai Tourism, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Tourism Council of Bhutan and more recently signed on Destination Canada and Dubai Expo 2020.
Charson Advisory key focus strengths in destination marketing has been its ability to develop a robust B2B trade relationship, B2C tactical strategies and media relations program as a 360 degree solution for its clientele. The company seeks out fresh ideas, innovative methods and unusual opportunities to promote their clients with particular emphasis on niche market segments. With the professionalism and creativity of Charson Advisory's young and enthusiastic team, they strive to meet and exceed client aims and objectives.
Aligning Strategies With The Business Goals
Every client comes with a unique marketing challenge and objective. Understanding the client requirements from an Indian market (trade and consumer) perspective is paramount towards developing strategies that address these business objectives.
The company with a presence in six cities Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Kochi possess the ability to reach out to the local travel trade in order to market the product or destination. Training of travel agents, tour operators and online travel agencies is a key element in securing shelf space for the product or destination.
The company engages with several travel trade associations such as Travel Agents Associations of India (TAAI), Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI), Outbound Tour Operators Associations of India (OTOAI), SKAL International, Enterprising Travel Agents Association (ETAA) and other notable travel trade bodies.
As part of their media outreach program, the company works with publishers and freelancers on developing content that aligns with the marketing objectives and addresses key concerns or lack of information that the audience may have towards a particular product or destination.
With a dedicated inhouse media relations cell the team actively pursues media briefings, press releases / conferences and more importantly assist with brand assets that can be leveraged by the B2B travel trade media whilst developing content of product or destination. The latter is more important in ensuring the right communication messages and imagery is shared for a universal approach.
The company also engages with the end consumer with the help of influencer marketing and social media strategies. Their on-ground strategy to attract end consumer interest is to organise workshops, events and seminars for influencers and travel bloggers by creating knowledge pools of a specific product or destination. The company routinely conducts what it calls 'train the trainers' program for key influencers and travel bloggers in order to enhance the levels of knowledge that goes beyond generic information availed online.
Idea Behind Charson Advisory Services
"My entry in the business world was a gradual growth" – Said Carl Vaz, Chairman & CEO
He entered the world of PR and advertising in the year 1990 and worked with some of the biggest PR and advertising houses in India. After acquiring a vast amount of experience, Carl Vaz decided to open his advisory agency in 2007. For over 30 years he worked on various clients spanning sectors that include FMCG, finance, hospitality, destination, pharmacy, and consumer durables leading to a gradual inclination towards the travel industry as he felt there is a strong need for a structured approach towards PR &marketing in this niche.
Growing Demand Of Advisory Agencies In India
The competition is rough and new marketing or representative agencies are popping up as you're reading this. Every one of those agencies vies for their piece of the cake; every one of those agencies would like to be seen as selling more than they currently are. Unfortunately, many of them loose focus and instead forget who they are addressing and what were the objectives that they wish to accomplish. This leaves clients with a sense that agencies in this industry are ill-equipped or not competent which in turns affects the credibility of established agencies such as Charson Advisory.
The team at Charson Advisory believes that competition only makes them perform better as most of the clients look for expertise and the value that an agency can provide in terms of market knowledge, ability to develop the clients retail network and at a price that is in line with todays challenging economic scenario.
Value That Charson Advisory Provides To Their Clients
The travel industry has seen an impeccable growth in the past few years. And anything that experiences growth also has to go through the immense competition. But Charson Advisory views its role as an extension to the client's sales, marketing and communications department. They become a part of their distribution channel through its on-ground in-market offices. This is especially critical to international destinations or products that need to have an in-market presence to not only understand market trends but generate sales.
Currently the team at Charson Advisory spread across six offices across in India is capable of reaching out to the trade and consumers in tier 1 and 2 cities.
Overcoming Challenges Like A Leader
One of the major problems faced by tourism industry is geopolitical in nature because, if there is any tension on the borders with our neighbour or within the GCC countries then the first expense to be cut is tourism. Therefore, geopolitical situations can have a critical effect on the Indian travel industry.
Another challenge seen by the team at Charson Advisory in promoting a destination out of India is the airline connectivity or seat capacity. Tourism boards and the international hospitality industry acknowledge that India can play a vital role as a leisure, MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing, and Events) and corporate travel source destination on account of the growing number of millennials and well established Gen X and Y generations have more disposable incomes.
Supporting Corporate Culture Through Transparency
As a guiding principle, Carl Vaz believes that the single most important way to keep everyone motivated in the company is to ensure the circulation of information. Keeping your team well informed is vital for the growth of your company as every employee needs to know where they are, what they are doing, where the company is headed and what are the challenges. Charson Advisory believes that there should be transparency in the administrative policy and another way to keep your team motivated is to train them regularly on new technology and processes.
At Charson Advisory, they have an open session in which they engage with their team members and discuss what the firm needs to achieve in the coming month as this keeps the team together.
Advice For Entrepreneurs
Any young entrepreneur who has made a shift from an employee to an employer should practice compliance. Beside corporate culture and team building, compliance is an important aspect of business as it is quite complex. Many businessmen tend to give more value to sales and marketing over having a good company secretary and charted accountant firm which can be fatal to their business.
"Governance and compliance should be treated as vital and run parallel to one's business growth or client acquisition plans." Carl Vaz
Carl Vaz – Founder, PR and Industry Relations
Carl Vaz possesses a vast experience of over 30 years in the PR and advertising industry. In the year 2007, he launched Charson Advisory Services Pvt Ltd as a fledgling travel specific PR and destination marketing agency. He has developed brand and India market entry strategies for several international tourism boards such as Dubai, Canada, Thailand, Portugal, Slovenia, Catalonia and Skyscanner over the past 2 decades in the travel industry. Carl is also a motivational speaker and has taken several guest lectures at colleges and educational institutes.
Achievements Earned By Charson Advisory Services
Their cumulative team experience, deep knowledge-pool of the advisory board members and passion for excellence has earned them several prestigious awards and professional reputation.
They are the only Destination Representation Company to have secured 5 prestigious travel trade Conventions & Congresses for their clients. With each convention that was conducted in Dubai and Thailand, the destination was able to secure the support and train the Indian travel trade resulting in a larger number outbound of Indian travellers to the destination.
Since inception of the company in 2007, Charson Advisory and its team has notched up an impressive array of awards, certificates and commendations for the work conducted on behalf of its clients. The team proudly displays these achievements at their Mumbai HQ reception not for reasons of false pride but to serve as a reminder that their core objective is to continuously excel in order to meet their client's expectations. As they walk into office each morning, they are reminded of the bar that has been set and needs to be raised – this is what drives Charson Advisory.