‘Tis the Season for…Tradecraft

So we’re hardly into January but it’s been a busy start for the ‘Tradecraft’ tours. Two already just in the last few days. Is 2014 going to be a bumper year for them? Who knows, but it’s been an exciting start to the year because of them!

You may be wondering: what’s a ‘Tradecraft’ tour? Aside from the normal tour where myself and the client (and partners, colleagues etc) meets at the rendezvous point, clients may want an additional element thrown into the mix. This mostly boils down to a partner booking the tour as a surprise for his or her other half, who they already know loves spy stuff. Why not get their blood pumping with a bit of drama to begin with?!

From a personal point of view, it’s great fun. By exchanging emails with the client, and understanding more about how and why they’re wanting to indulge in this, I get some background information about their partner, little snippets that can be used to create a concept and frame the subsequent scenario.

If truth be told, I really enjoy the vibe created by putting some ‘Tradecraft’ to use. It calls for creativity and in some cases, a bit of dramatic license as well. This week alone there has been classic brush passes with completely unsuspecting individuals in a coffee shop and a bar: brilliant! I wish I could be a fly on the wall to see their reaction afterwards! But alas, I must disappear as quickly as I initially appeared…it’s all part of the drama, Dahling!

From a purely clinical marketing perspective, the initial process cements firm foundations and trust between both parties, which is good considering the money changing hands. I never forget that with private tours there is a premium price, and a certain amount of risk to the client (despite them getting a good feel for the experience from the website and the TV video clip). I don’t doubt that people have paid good money for private tours elsewhere and perhaps felt short changed by what they received. That sure as hell ain’t happening on MY watch! So this sort of interaction between myself and the clients helps reduce their feelings of risk or uncertainty and further improves their confidence levels of getting the experience they have paid for, and deserve.

So far these ‘missions’ conducted have been relatively small scale, involving creating anticipation, excitement, and certainly some mystery immediately before a tour – in some cases, mere minutes beforehand.

What REALLY kicks ass is being able to create something special and customised for a whole day or weekend for a couple or mature family. And as for larger corporate audiences there’s already the possibility of creating something special through my relationships with the InterContinental London Westminster Hotel and the St. Ermin’s Hotel – the latter being the spy hotel of spy hotels for so many reasons.

I hope 2014 will be the year of the ‘Tradecraft’ tours: even more excitement, creativity and more value and smiles for the clients!

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