Story – How to galvanize a formation: Sophie Salcedo, Account Director for Abu Dhabi

Blaise Borezee General Manager
Analysis: Singapore, Innovation to foster new tourism perspectives
8 July 2016
Gaël de La Porte du Theil President Interface Tourism
« Live my life of… » Gaël, Interface Tourism Group’s President
4 August 2016
Show all

Story – How to galvanize a formation: Sophie Salcedo, Account Director for Abu Dhabi

Sophie Salcedo Account Director

Story – How to galvanize a formation: Sophie Salcedo, Account director of Abu Dhabi

After more than ten years promoting destinations to French travel trade, I can’t count how many presentations I have done…

We all came to the same conclusion: the average PowerPoint presentation, done in front of tourism agents, works for the popular destinations, the ones that make us dream. But when the represented destination seems less fashionable and is not “the place to go this summer”, it is of the utmost importance to find other ways to be attractive!

Being account director for the destination Abu Dhabi, I have been confronted to this dilemma. Still unknown on the French market, and unfortunately victim of prejudices and even amalgams, this destination is not the one attracting the public and the tourism professionals. And still! All the people who take some time to discover this place fall under its spell.
So, how can I communicate my passion for this Emirate?
By learning while having fun and by changing the codes, these are the two keys we are trying to apply.


Two recent actions for two different targets.

The first format that worked wonders with travel agents are the cooking classes. I don’t teach you anything but French are food lovers, therefore they like when travelling starts with food. By discovering a destination through its gastronomy, spices, flavors and perfumes, a “big” step forward is already done.
In Toulouse and Strasbourg, we organized presentations with Etihad Airways airline. It was set during lunch time, this format allowed a 15 minutes presentation, followed by a cooking course in small teams, a team building of sorts, ended by a degustation together.
An event of 1h30/2h time, where the goal was to catch the participants’ attention, present the destination and get to know each other.
Nothing revolutionary but still efficient!

retour activite_Sophie2

Other target, other format: The product managers.

The challenge is different. They are specialists, they know their destinations, even if it is with different levels of knowledge (and interest) depending on the country.

Our job is to show them that we can still offer something new!
With Sultanate of Oman tourism board and Oman Air airline, we were convinced that our two destinations while different could be combined quite easily and please the same public. Consequently, we invited in June, fifteen product managers and tailor-made product agencies to a joint presentation. All of them already knowing at least one of the destinations or often both.
However, instead of doing a classical presentation: airline followed by 15 to 20 minutes per country, we decided to work by themes. Six in all: Seaside, city break, family, culture, circuits/auto-tour and golf. Each time, we were proposing an “all included” itinerary Oman – Abu Dhabi. This format, which requires good relationships between the destinations, was appreciated because it brought a new perspective. It was also more dynamic since more speakers were needed.

retour activite_Sophie3


It is still necessary to innovate in order to captivate, to always be ready to change. Some surprises are still to come but… it is a secret!


Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.Update my browser now