April 30, 2018

Five ways to avoid pushy salespeople during your next vacation

Annmarie Nicely Annmarie Nicely
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Travelers on summer vacation should leave their resorts or stray from their cruise stops to explore markets, view scenery and enjoy natural resources. Along the way, it’s likely they’ll encounter pushy salespeople, said an expert on tourism and hospitality.

Annmarie Nicely, a leading researcher in the field of visitor harassment, has identified 35 known behaviors used by micro-traders, such as taxi drivers, craft vendors, street-side chefs, local tour guides and street performers, to market their products, services or entertainment.

What appears to be a minor inconvenience has become a significant drag on vacation destinations, which rely on tourism for an economic boost, Nicely said.

“I look at visitor harassment from the standpoint of the visitor and how they could still have a memorable vacation experience at destinations that have that a particular problem,” said Nicely, an associate professor in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Purdue University and a member of the Purdue Tourism and Hospitality Research Center.

Such behaviors occur during all phases of the small-trade process – during solicitation, during the sale, during the “sale-refusal” stage and after the sale – but can be avoided or mitigated to make for an enjoyable trip, said Nicely, who offers the following suggestions:

Familiarize yourself: “Familiarize yourself with the type of behaviors you can expect to see at those destinations. Be familiar with the various ways small traders at a destination might harass you. Overcharging, haggling, trailing, pushing and shoving, circling, traders approaching the visitor one after another – all those are examples of harassment.”

Be prepared: “Once you’ve made the decision to go, you need to be prepared. Think of how you want to avoid or cope with such behaviors. An easy way to avoid those behaviors is talking to persons, especially at the hotel at the front desk, and asking, ‘Where should I go? Where should I not go?’”

Have a strategy: “If you decide to take on going to markets where there’s a likelihood that you’re going to be harassed, there are a variety of strategies to deal with it, the most basic of which is saying ‘No, thank you,’ with a nice, sincere and respectful smile.”

Be emphatic: “Be emphatic when you do experience these behaviors. Visitor harassment is the result of a variety of reasons: social, economic and, we believe here at Purdue, climatic conditions. Persons out in the sun trying to sell their wares and souvenirs for hours can sometimes lead to negative interactions. When it comes to being empathetic, remember visitor harassment occurs in varying degrees in most countries across the world.”

Focus on the positive: “Visitor harassment might be a negative experience at that particular destination, but most destinations have fun activities, natural resources for you to enjoy, beautiful sceneries, rich history and unique elements. Focus on trying to discover those, and you’ll find that visitor harassment is a minor dent in your overall experience.” 

Writer: Joseph Paul, 765-494-9541, paul102@purdue.edu 

Source: Annmarie Nicely, 765-494-4740, ajnicely@purdue.edu

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