How I use OTT: Karen Slater, InspireMe Travel Company
Karen Slater is the CEO of Stanstead Airport-based InspireMe Travel Company, which launched last year.
The aim of the company is stated in its name. The tour operator offers experience-based trips to Europe and the Mediterranean. Gastronomy, opera, wine tasting, art and religion are popular themes. The company also operates conservation themed breaks such as viewing orangutans in Borneo or polar bears in the Arctic which are organised in co-ordination with wildlife charities.
"Opening people's eyes to new things"
Karen sums up the ethos of the company as “opening people’s eyes to news things.” She says her customers are often well travelled but looking for unique experiences which will enhance their enjoyment of their trip.
She explains: “They may have been to Rome before, but they’ve never seen Rome on the back of a Vespa. Or they’ve never been underneath the Vatican to see the tomb of St Peter, one of the original disciples.”
She uses one of her first customer’s words to describe the kind of tours the company operates. “One of my very first clients said to me ‘We had the best ever wine tasting experience at Mona Lisa’s former house in Cianti. It was so unique, so amazing. Would we have done it without you? No, because we didn’t even know it existed’.”
Each member of the Inspire Me Travel team has specialised in different sectors such as retail, tour operation, cruise, aviation and incoming tourism. The team have all lived overseas and each speak several languages.
OTT - a platform for ideas and logistics
OTT helps inform Karen for both her package ideas and organising logistics: “When I am putting packages together, I go onto OTT to check the different kind of car hire companies I can use, the different attractions there are in certain destinations and whether I want to have a contract with an airline. I go onto OTT and look at the airlines which serve my destination. I will look at my competitors - are there other people that do it?
“But, primarily, if I get asked to offer a new destination then I will go onto OTT, I will look at that destination and will get as much information as I can about that. I might then tie it in with the Attraction World portal that’s on OTT and think ‘Can I put together a package with soemthing unique via Attraction World and the destination information?’ Then I will look at that opportunity and go out an experience it myself before I actually put it into our portfolio.”
Karen says that OTT helps InspireMe to expand its offer to customers: “I think OTT for me has been such an interesting, easily acessible form of information for when I want to create something a little bit more than I currently offer.”