Tag: travel

Kashmir – Beautiful place, ruined by experience

Kashmir was beautiful, but the local union rules, haggling, and constant sales pitches ruined our experience.

In December, we visited Kashmir as a family – four adults and three kids.

Unlike other tourist spots where you can hire a cab to take you anywhere, in Kashmir, cabs only bring you to the tourist spot. You’ve got to park and then use local vehicles to get around – like a mule, horse, or Jeep. This odd rule wasn’t the worst part – the prices were. At one spot, the horse handler quoted 3,600 rupees; I haggled it down to 1,500 rupees. I felt good. I later found out it could’ve been done for 800 rupees. Imagine this everywhere. Everywhere you go, you have to negotiate, and it marrs the experience.

We had hard time going around peacefully. There’s always someone selling something near you – tea, nuts, photography services, and kababs. No matter how stern we were, they persisted until another vendor took their spot. The last day, we took a boat ride on Dal Lake, hoping it would be at least quiet. Nope. The floating sellers came around selling tea, coffee, photography, and kababs. We didn’t get a single moment of peace during those 20 to 30 minutes out on the water.

Next time, I will escape this madness.

Focus on customer delight, sales will flow

The key to increasing sales in an era of algorithms and AI is to focus on fundamentals: customer delight. Although technology can certainly help, it shouldn’t be driving your sales. Your sales fundamentals should dictate what tools you use and how you use them.

Let me give you an example from my recent trip.

We planned a trip to Kashmir recently. I asked friends for recommendations a month before our trip and one recommended a travel agent. Trusting my friend’s judgment, I contacted the agent and shared our itinerary, passenger details, and preferred dates. She offered various packages, ranging from four to five days with varying luxury levels. Once we picked one, we paid the deposit and got confirmation.

Our travel agent was incredibly responsive and attentive throughout our trip.

We were originally booked in a family room for our group of seven – two families with four adults and three kids. However, we quickly realized that one bathroom wasn’t enough. I asked the agent if it was possible to have two separate rooms instead of one. She successfully negotiated with all four hotels and booked two rooms everywhere.

We stayed in a boathouse on Dal Lake in Srinagar on our last day. There was no toilet paper, and the staff wasn’t very helpful. I sent a WhatsApp message to the travel agent, and the boathouse owner called me within an hour and ensured all our needs were met.

Even in the age of technology, it is essential to remember that human connection and exceptional service remain the cornerstones of continued sales.

I don’t know much about her professional background – if she operates independently or with a bigger agency. I trusted her because of a friend’s introduction and my own positive experience with her. We weren’t just numbers on a spreadsheet or CRM record, we were treated like individuals. She used modern conveniences like UPI payments and WhatsApp, but she focused on providing an exceptional experience.

I’m writing this as a delighted customer.

If you ever visit Kashmir and want someone to arrange everything for you, don’t hesitate to contact Namyi of Glitz Holidays. Glitz embodies customer service with a smile. That is the only way to get more sales.