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PEARLS Spotlight: Lynda McHenry

June 13, 2018
  • PEARLS Spotlight Agent Lynda McHenry

Agent: Lynda McHenry
City: I am an independent contractor in Corvallis, Oregon.  My head office is Plaza Travel, located in Encino, CA.  
Number of Travelers: 46
Initial Lead: Two leads! A local wine club and a local bridge club
Budget: Travelers didn’t give me a budget. I suggested the trip to them. Before I approached them, they hadn’t thought about it.
Nights Requested: Again, the trip wasn’t requested—I suggested it to them. 46 guests at 7 nights
Final Booking Amount: Bridge Group $143,000; Wine Group $119,000

Sales Approach: Don’t stereotype the Paul Gauguin Cruises client or you may miss an opportunity! Tap into a common interest and sell the trip around that. In this case, one incentive was traveling with the winery owner, and in the other, it was for people to play bridge.

One of my all-time favorite trips is cruising Tahiti and the Society Islands aboard the m/s Paul Gauguin. I’ve done this four times and am embarking on a fifth very soon! EACH time, I escorted a different group. AND, I would venture to say, some of the demographics of my groups may not be your first thought of the type of group who would be interested in such a trip.

This particular group is median age 65-85 and avid bridge players. Many were single women who, it turns out, have always wanted to go to Tahiti but never had a significant other to go with. NOW they are going to enjoy the amazing scenery AND play bridge! This is a new market to me, and I am definitely looking to expand in this arena.

I started focusing on the demographic of an older, single, female base more than 30 years ago, personally escorting several groups a year. The fact that I was on hand to solve any problems that might arise during travel gave these travelers a sense of comfort, and they would go anywhere I would lead. Again, Paul Gauguin’s Tahiti was at the top of the list, as many wanted to go there but didn’t have a significant other with whom to go. Now, traveling with other ladies and a group leader, the stigma of feeling “third wheel” in a romantic setting was gone, and the extra assurance that “Momma Lynda” was on hand for any problems has made Paul Gauguin Cruises a top choice!

Other reasons why I love Paul Gauguin Cruises:

  • It’s closer than you think! Most people think Tahiti is far, far away, closer to Australia. It’s not. It’s in the same time zone as Hawaii, with very similar weather patterns.
  • It is still untouched and not overdeveloped. I am finding that, in today’s world, it is getting harder and harder to find a destination that doesn’t have fast-food restaurants on every corner. When going to French Polynesia, one is truly getting away from that.
  • Speaking to the fact that one is getting away from it all, with Paul Gauguin Cruises, one still gets all of the luxury, comfort, service, and amenities of a 5-star resort.  
  • The 7-night Tahiti & the Society Islands itinerary is in port every day. No days of sailing. And there are overnights in Bora Bora and Moorea!
  • All-inclusive value
  • Country-club casual ambiance