Friday, July 1, 2011

Tourism Marketing Trainings

by Mark

It's obviously been much too long since I last wrote (about 2 months!)...however, I have an excuse.  I've actually been working!  Well, traveling for work is a more appropriate description.  A few months back when I realized that my grant funded unique business competition was going to be completed by May, I thought to myself "you should plan some sort of work for June so that you're not 'bored' at work during your last few weeks in Mongolia".  I decided to push myself to do two more trainings for the tourism industry of Arkhangai - this time focusing on marketing.

So I told my staff that I wanted to travel to Tariat and Tsenker soums (if you remember from previous posts these are two of the tourist hot-spots of Arkhangai) to meet with some of the managers/staff of the ger camps.  I also decided that I wanted to bring along two additional local trainers - preferably one that has been working with me for awhile as well as another "newbie" who might like to see how I lead/facilitate trainings for these groups.  You know "capacity building" and all that good stuff!  My goal was to lead a 3-4 hour session on the 4P's of marketing as it pertains to the Arkhangai tourism industry, gather some feedback, do some pre- and post-testing, and pass out some materials (brochures/posters) we'd created for the businesses involved in the project.

I'll let the pictures do most of the talking, but I did want to mention that we learned a lot from the first training that we implemented in the second training.  The results were much better.  In fact, our first stop (Tariat) had the pre- and post- test results both equal exactly 61%.  There are multiple factors for this that I won't go into, but we pinpointed them and a few days later when we were in Tsenker we had pre-tests at 67% and post-test results at 86%!!  We had 23 participants from 14 different companies attend in total.  Overall I'd say it was a success, and if nothing else, it was a really fun time for me and my staff as these were my final soum trainings.

We had our training in Tariat inside one of the gers - we split the group into two teams.  Here I'm getting feedback from one team on how the tourism industry has been utilizing marketing techniques.

Here the other team is presenting after our "activity".  I had the two teams initially write at the top of the paper a fake company name.  Then my two assistants grabbed the paper and swapped them with the other team's paper.  Now taking what the other team wrote, the new team had to write what product that company sold.  We swapped after each topic was written about - pricing, target markets, ways to promote the products, etc.  The final presentation of the "company" that your team was left with was quite entertaining.  It was all done to show how marketing plans need to evolve as more information comes to light.

The training group in Tariat.  Here we had 1 representative from 10 different ger camps.

Afterward we decided to go fishing in White Lake (that's my driver Tsogoo) - a mere 100 meters from the training site.

Do you like our band's album cover?

These were my two local trainers, Khorlo and Nowroo

A trip out to Tariat isn't complete without the "gorge" photo - I believe I now have one of these during every season in Mongolia.

The same training at Tsenker soums' Duut Resort.  Different feel being inside a gigantic log cabin resort instead of a ger.

Here I have the one group drawing a price/quality matrix for a company/product of their choosing.  I learned some valuable insight - for one, this group believes that Mercedes Benz makes a low quality, low price product.  This led to all sorts of fun conversations and attempted explanations!

In Tsenker we had 13 attendees from all 4 camps in the area.  One group sent 6 of their young staff members for the training.  And they were all quite smart.  I was thrilled.

This time we decided volleyball would be our relaxation/sport following the training.  It's hard to tell but what appears to be beautiful grass around our feet is actually probably 30% wild onions!  They were so good.  You could just snap the greens off and chew on it while you played.  Of course we all joked that I wouldn't be able to kiss any of the pretty girls afterward.

On the way back after all our work was done, we took a different route.  After coming up over a hill, we found ourselves staring at some of the largest fields of wild flowers I've seen here.  This particular part was all orange but others were all white, or all yellow, and they'd just blend one area right into the other.  This is us pretending to look comfortable as thousands of bugs attacked!

And why not one more flower photo!  We took dozens.  This was actually us jumping toward the camera but it took too late and instead it appears that we've all just fallen down.  Needless to say, we enjoy our time on these trips and I'm going to miss hanging out with my staff at trainings.

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