Drew Kluska, owner of luxury travel specialist The Tailor, knew he wanted to make a professional series of mini-clips about the experiences he offered. He also knew he needed the right man for the job.
That’s what made him approach documentary-maker Luke Pike, well known for creating Discovery Channel’s Abalone Wars. Together, they’ve created The Tailor TV.
“I teamed up with him and said, ‘what we need to do is bring these experiences to the world, because people don’t understand them.’ It shows the depth of experiences available here,” says Kluska.
Kluska himself has an enviable history in the luxury tourism market. In his early 20’s he travelled to Kenya to manage prestigious camps like the famous Lewa Downs Wildife Conservancy, recently known as the stage for Prince William’s proposal to Kate Middleton.
At the age of 26 he moved back to South Australia and started The Tailor. They’re recognised, Kluska says, as the best on the Australian market when it comes to luxury tourism.
“You’d be shocked if you knew the kinds of clients we’ve brought through Australia. It’s the who’s who of the world. We differentiate ourselves by our skill at designing customised itineraries – not your normal type of tours, these are handcrafted for the top one to two per cent of wealthy clients on the globe.
“We’ve been going for 17 years now and really pioneered this whole luxury thing in Australia,” Kluska says.
If you’re creating quality content like we’re doing, people want to watch it. That’s the bottom line.
Part of staying on top of the industry is keeping up with the times, and as Drew says, if you aren’t doing everything you can to engage your consumers across all sorts of mediums and technologies, you’re not going to be part of the future.
“What we’ve already seen with places like Port Lincoln that we filmed for our ‘Australian Coastal Safaris’ package, our conversion has gone through the roof once people understand what it’s about. It’s very hard to articulate that experience in words and pictures.”
For Kluska, fellow South Australian Luke Pike was the natural choice. They’d worked together previously, and since then he’d achieved even more success with Abalone Wars.
Now in it’s third season, Abalone Wars rated highly during North America’s Shark Week on Discovery Channel, the longest running cable television programming event in history. As Pike himself says, “these things run on ratings.”
“We’re very fortunate to have a filmmaker of his quality here,” says Kluska, “and you need to be on that platform. If you’re creating quality content like we’re doing, people want to watch it. That’s the bottom line.”
For The Tailor, which sets itself apart by catering for the luxury market, the new Tailor TV website is a chance to attract new customers and walk interested customers through itineraries.
“That’s the whole thing, it’s bringing awareness to the products and selling more trips – but it’s also a great way for people to get inspiration as well. I think that flows across all segments of the community, whether you’re wealthy or not. We all like to be inspired by things,” says Kluska.
It’s a departure from their typical channels – word of mouth and referrals have typically worked for their kind of clientele. The Tailor TV then, is an attempt to rise above the pack in a jumbled market.
“People want an expert. There’s so much clutter on the Internet. If you just want to book a hotel in Sydney and some flights, you don’t need The Tailor. But if you want to have an amazing experience in the Kimberley, or shuck oysters off an oyster rack in Coffin Bay, then you come to us.”
It’s a complex market, Kluska says, and The Tailor positions itself for people who “really want something special”, a deep experience that you can’t buy off the shelf.
In that regard, South Australia might not be the first place in mind for a visitor to the country, but Kluska thinks that’s changing – and it’s never held him back from providing a good experience.
“International guests don’t see Australia as states. They see it as one country.
There was this myth in tourism that South Australia was for second-time visitors, right? That’s absolutely incorrect.
“When we sell an international client a trip, we sell them four things: Sydney, the Great Barrier Reef, the wildlife and the outback. We’ll deliver the wildlife, in 75% of cases, on Kangaroo Island. The outback, we’ll either use Port Lincoln and the coastal seafood safari, or the Flinders Ranges or Gawler Ranges.”
Kluska takes a guess that around three quarters of their itineraries take place with more than half of the product delivered in South Australia. It’s not difficult to sell, he says, you just need to want to do it.
It’s getting easier too, with luxury locations such as the Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island. For Kluska, that kind of experience stacks up with the best on an international scale, and visitors see that.
The Tailor has brought Russians, Argentinians, Greeks, people with titles, rockstars and more through the state. He says, often after taking them through the Flinders Ranges or down the coast, they love what they see in South Australia.
Managing Director of The Tailor, Drew Kluska.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to pretty much do everything that money can buy in Australia, and I can tell you now, in an unbiased view, everything we have here is as good or better than the rest of Australia.”
For now, The Tailor TV will keep making a number of films around South Australia and the country as a whole.
It seems that Kluska made the right choice in bringing Luke Pike on board and aiming for quality to keep ahead of the clutter because, unlike the pain that a lot of smaller travel operations have felt in the advent of online booking, The Tailor is on the rise.
“You know, our business isn’t in decline. In fact it’s going very much the other way. We make everything seamless. People want that kind of service.”
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