Touring Asia and Making the Most of Your Travels

Asia has so much to offer to those who choose to visit. There are many elements of Asian culture that truly intrigue people all over the world. Asia embraces a unique way of life and brings a whole new perspective to the table as far as everyday life is concerned. One can truly learn a lot by exploring different areas of Asia. From China to Japan, to Indonesia, each Asian country embraces a one-of-a-kind appeal that no other country can quite compare to. Unique clothing like the kimono, historical sights such as the Great Wall of China, and religions such as Buddhism are just some of the factors that make Asia into a wonderful place to visit, learn about and explore.

When travelling becomes increasingly important in your life and you have more time to spend exploring the world, Asia is one of the best places to choose. For children and adults alike, Asia can bring a lot to the table and open your eyes to cultural differences and lifestyle choices that differ immensely from those that we have grown accustomed to. Broadening your perspective on Asian culture is extremely interesting and appealing, on a number of different levels. If you are planning to pack your bags and embark on an Asian journey, you will want to be sure to make the most of your trip by documenting it with photos and videos, but you will want to go above and beyond to ensure that you are making the very most of your trip.

If you are going to be spending time in Asia, it would be a fantastic choice to make the most of it with the help of one of the Asia escorted tours that are available these days. Asia escorted tours are ideal in making sure that you do not miss a thing when it comes to exploring new territory. We all know that Asia is a large continent, flooded with knowledge and beauty. There are so many famous sights to see, but there are also hidden treasures that only an experienced tour guide could familiarize you with. Asia escorted tours are effective in making sure that even the most sacred treasures of Asia are revealed.

Whether you are a college student majoring in Asian studies, or an executive who travels to Asia regularly for international business matters, there are a number of influential and valuable things to be learned through Asia escorted tours. There is nothing quite like the refreshing feeling of travelling to a beautiful place, rich with culture and history.

What’s Missing in Your Indirect Channel?

Entering or expanding your presence in the Asia Pacific region invariably requires working with an indirect model engaging channel partners in one form or another, for all or part of your business. There have been many and varied ways of recruiting, enabling and managing your channel partners, just as many agreement types to work with, all well documented, all well researched. We have, over our years of experience, witnessed those that have worked, unfortunately many more that have not. After thirty odd years of business, many organizations in the IT sector continue to struggle with the complexities of an indirect route to market, nowhere more so than in Asia Pacific.

Of course there will be academic nomenclatures for some of the more common scenarios exhibited, however we have provided a slightly more descriptive categorization of those we come across commonly, all have something missing in the relationship.

“Dump and Run’ Model

Mr Vendor recruits Mr Channel Partner, seemingly with all the right criteria followed for selecting the perfect partner. The agreement is negotiated, the contract is signed, hand shakes and bows exchanged. Mr Vendor hands over a box of collateral, some CD’s and manuals, a help desk number, a web address and gets on the next plane returning home, heading straight for the fax machine to collect the flood of orders. Obviously a slight exaggeration, yet not an uncommon approach to partner recruitment.

Clearly partnerships require commitment from both parties. On one side the commitment to enable and transfer skills and knowledge, on the other a commitment to provide capable resources and focus, and a mutual commitment to agree a business plan, with continued review and measurement.

“Show Me Yours First – Stand Off” Model

These agreements take a form where Mr Vendor won’t provide anything or make any significant commitments until Mr Channel Partner first shows some commitment to the ’cause’, maybe hiring dedicated staff, allocating marketing budget or opening the ‘kimono’ up to the customer list.

Mr Channel Partner on the other hand hesitates to provide or commit precious funds and resources until Mr Vendor shows an active desire to support through supplying qualified leads, committing to free training or allocating resources to work with Mr Channels Partner resources. After a time with each waiting for the other to make the first move and not living up to expectations, little if any business is written and the partnership fades with both parties moving on to other pastures.

‘Indirect Is Cheaper’ Model

Many unfortunately still look to the indirect channel model as a free or cheap entry into a market with an expectation of huge success. The indirect model in any of its forms requires discounts, infrastructure and support, by implication there is a cost to this. It should NEVER be considered free.

What should be expected from any indirect channel model is a broader reach into previously unavailable markets with access to domain expertise and or regional experience at a better return for each dollar of outlay. Straight forward, right? Not for all unfortunately.

One all too common example is relatively successful and established organizations making the decision to change to the ‘cheap’ indirect model, significantly downsizing or closing local operations, not implementing a channel enablement and support infrastructure, nor managing the customer expectations. The expectation being revenue and maintenance renewals will continue and grow and the partners would carry on business as usual. The results, not surprisingly, are usually massive drops in revenue, defection of customers, partner dissatisfaction, low staff morale and competitor successes.

‘The Silver Bullet’ Model

Many organizations enter a market such as Asia Pacific looking for the ‘silver bullet’ channel partner, the one that has the contacts, the relationships, technical and sales skills, support infrastructure to sell and support their products – the obvious choice for the desired market segment. Of course this is the perfect scenario. What is often missed is that these channel partners (likely larger organizations) will have a sales force paid on gross profit, already committed to selling known products from multiple vendors with targets like any other sales force.

Ask yourself the question: Will a salesperson focus on a new, unknown, difficult to sell product with a slightly higher margin or will they go and achieve their quota with what they know and what is currently selling, even though the margin may be slightly lower?

‘Committed Start-Up’ Model

Relative to the above, seemingly a reasonable approach. Mr Start Up Partner will be keen to prove themselves, hungry for revenue, eager to impress, often with a specific domain expertise and driven to build their business. Everything that one could want in a sales force. Sometimes. What about resource availability and quality? What about scalability? Smaller organizations will be juggling issues like cash-flow, breadth of relationships, depth of contacts? Again, there are numerous examples of these well intentioned ‘partnerships gone wrong’.

‘You Need Us More Than We Need You’ Model

Typically either Mr Vendor or Mr Channel Partner are a recognized brand in their specific market, sometimes even both. The one more recognized in the market to which the other wants access plays hard ball, or more often, an individual charged with the relationship, suddenly wants to show their value and plays hard ball. A relationship built on animosity from the outset, destined for the ‘seemed like a good idea at the time’ pile. These relationships do have much to offer when executed correctly but can be difficult to manage or negotiate if either party believes they are in the dominant position with little to gain.

If all of these scenarios sound unfamiliar … then credit to your channel people, they should be rewarded handsomely as your channel is most likely working well for you, with mutual benefit.

But if any sound a little too familiar then … the big question! “What IS missing in my indirect channel?”

It’s not difficult to search out the plethora of material on the ‘6 things’ or maybe even ’12 things’ you must do to make a channel partnerships work. Or, on how to select your channel partners with what criteria etc. All these will have valid guidelines, all will have important aspects you should take note of and incorporate in your channel approach. Most will highlight aspects of company alignment, market segmentation, sales processes, clear rules of engagement and documentation of mutual expectations combined with constant, open communications, some identify a need to support your channel partner through resources and infrastructure, even funding of direct sales support during the enablement stage. All of which is correct and important.

Personally I like to boil things down to their simplest level, a common denominator or two. In this instance there is a fundamental state of mind that determines whether the partnership will succeed or fail, the one thing in the scenarios above that is missing.

A level of desire and ability to INVEST.

Each of the scenarios fail due to a lack of investment and we are not talking only of financial investment. We are talking about investment in all its forms – time, resources, focus, commitment and financial.

The ‘dump and run’ model lacks investment in support and commitment; ‘show me yours first’ lacks investment in the relationship and building trust; ‘indirect is cheaper’ lacks investment in many areas and so on. I’m sure you get the point.

Think of it this way, you would not expect your bank to pay you a dividend or interest income if you have zero dollars invested in your account. So it is amusing and somewhat worrying when speaking with seasoned and generally successful executives who seek to expand into Asia Pacific, actively avoiding investment in their channel development, yet they maintain high expectations of results. This is no more important than in Asia Pacific, a region accepted as requiring a strong indirect channel strategy to succeed, built on commitment, relationships and mutual trust.

The summary

The key to a successful channel partner strategy and in turn a business that will grow and gain strength year on year is simply, a commitment to invest appropriately based on the returns required and expected. Namely in the areas of:

o Understanding the market through research and segmentation.

o Partner selection and due diligence.

o Partner enablement (resource allocation & execution support).

o Support infrastructure and partner management.

o Communication, relationship and trust building.

o Regular and focused reviews.

Like all good things, successful, mutually beneficial relationships require commitment, focus and effort – there are no short cuts, there is no money for nothing. Your outcomes, returns and profit is directly proportional to your desire and ability to invest in your channels.

Top Ten Majestic Places to Visit in Asia

Asia is probably one of the most enigmatic continents in the world. Not only is it rich in very diverse cultures, but it is also rich in history. You will never run out of wonderful places to visit in this wonderful and mysterious continent.

1.) Indonessia’s Breathtaking Bali

Bali is one of the very beautiful places to go to once you are in Indonesia. Do not miss out on Batubulan Village, famous for sculptures made out of fine stone. Get to enjoy Bali’s culture like the Barong Dance and enjoy the beautiful crafts of its goldsmiths and silversmiths.

2.) Exotic India

If India is in your Asia tour itinerary, then you will never regret it if you went on one of those boat rides in the Ganges River. Get to see, too, the devout citizens of India while they pray and bathe on the sacred waters of the Ghats. If you want to see their temples, then the Khajuraho Temples is for you, an architectural wonder

3.) The Wonderful Side of Pakistan

Pakistan, although an intimidating country, has a lot of sceneries that tourists will love. Get to see a majestic view of the Himalayan Mountains and the Monkial Ranges. If you want to know more about Pakistan’s culture and people, then the Swat Museum is a must place for you to visit.

4.) Buddhas of Bangkok

There are a lot of statues of Buddha that you can see in Bangkok, and one of the temples tourist flock to is the Reclining Buddha Temple. You must also visit the Erawan Shrine as well as the Snake Farm of Bangkok that is located near the shrine. For a more modern tour, visit the Safari World and Bangkok’s Pattaya and Coral Island.

5.) What Vietnam has to Offer

Vietnam is now one of the favorite destinations of tourists. Tourists love exploring the city on their own and tasting the different food Vietnam has to offer. There are also cruises that a tourist can enjoy like the cruises along the Mekong River, and they also get to visit the smaller islands to taste the wonderful fruits Vietnam has.

6.) Unforgettable Katmandu

Another unique place to visit is the Katmandu where you will get to know more about its culture and people by strolling in the Katmandu Durbar Square. Do not forget to visit, too, the Buddhanikantha Temple, another one of its famous tourist destinations. You can also go to Pashupatinath Temple.

7.) Big China

You cannot tour all of China in a week, but here are some of the top places to visit in China. The Yangtze River Cruise is one of the favorites of not only the tourists but the local citizens as well, and in this tour, one gets to have a closer communion with nature. The other places that you must not forget visiting is the Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City as well as the Temple of Heaven.

8.) Delightful Turkey

Turkey is one country you should not fail to visit. There are a lot of museums you can visit like the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. You can also visit famous archeological sites like Pamukkale’s Hierapolis as well as famous mosques like the Blue Mosque.

9.) Enjoying Japan

Get to experience both old and new Japan in your Asian tour. Visit the wonderful and exciting City of Tokyo, a big contrast to Japan’s mountain villages where the old culture is still palpable. Also, get to know more about its people and culture by visiting the temples, shrines and palaces of Japan.

10.) Modern Singapore

Singapore is one of the world’s business regions. Also, this is famous for being one of the major shopping centers in Asia and is rightfully called Shopper’s Paradise. Its stores’ competitive prices as well as air-conditioned malls are one of the favorite places tourists go to.