Health Tourism

Because of the unsurpassable dedication and commitment to their profession, Indian Doctors are some of the best in the world. At a recent conference in Cochin, South India, I was asked to give a talk about marketing health tourism overseas. The presentation was well received, so much so that I was asked to share its content…

glen cochin seminar


Imagine the scenario; you receive an anonymous e mail: ‘YOU ARE UNDER INVESTIGATION’. Immediately you disregard all other mail in your inbox and go to work on sorting this out. These words have increased your heart rate and unless resolved your blood is likely to boil. Even though you know you haven’t done anything wrong, you cannot shake the need to fight your corner.

My point is this; words are not just lines and curves which inanimately lay on a sea of white. No, to the reader, they have a motive and prompt a response. Words can either fester in the back of the reader’s mind like fungus, or become sweet like candy. Bombard your reader with negative words, or words they do not relate to and one thing is for certain, you will cultivate negativity. As the saying goes, ‘you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear’. Or, as I like to put it, ‘Only pig’s roll in shit’!


Nowadays, we mainly write on chat sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Perhaps this is because such platforms allow us to state our side of an argument without having to face a counterpart. The question is this: what impact do your words have on the world? Do they help or hinder, heal or harm? How many millions of words are being cast into the universe with little thought given to their consequence?


Perhaps the biggest travesty of the internet is how many people are posting words which they have not written. We live in a ‘copy and paste’ society, and this is becoming more prevalent in emerging countries like India and China. Here, English text is being ripped off at an alarming rate – particularly in tourism. The web is full of sites which use stolen information. The problem that small tour operators’ face is that the information they copy does not translate well to overseas markets – it does not convey sincerity. I have worked with a number of Indian tour operators and, simply by editing text, their conversion rate has improved dramatically. Thus proving that words most certainly have the power to induce action!


A young Monk was asked by his teacher to re write a passage of text so that his fellow brothers might better understand the message concealed within. Upon instruction, the young Monk insisted that he source the original text from the monastery archives. This, he said, would avoid any misguidance and ensure his fellow Monks were getting sound advice. Only by copying the exact words, from the original text, could he be sure there was no room for error. So, the head teacher, moved by the young Monks enthusiasm, agreed to let him visit the archives. Off the young Monk went, down a twisted corridor towards a cobbled staircase, before vanishing into the monastery cellars.

As minutes turned into hours, the teacher became a little concerned as to why this simple task was taking so long. As a result of his anxiety, he made his way towards the cellar door, shouting the young Monk’s name as he opened it. There, sat on the floor with head in hands, the young Monk was weeping bitterly. ‘What is wrong my son?’ the head teacher asked. It was here, drowning in tears and sniffles; the young Monk replied, ‘All of these years and the text reads ‘celebrate’ not celibate!’


 In cyberspace, the right words can have a profound impact. Internet giants Google are, in fact, waging war on words. Here, companies compete fearlessly to dominate words and phrases that prospective clients are searching for. Of course, if you try this, it does not promise profitability; because buying words comes with a hefty price tag. Yes, your web traffic may increase -so what! If your visitors are not stimulated when they arrive at your site, they will not take action – especially if they have read your information elsewhere. What is also important is that your text provides clear, concise solutions and directions that are easy to follow. So, the words you choose should be an extension of your brand identity and a gateway for action.


 If your organisation is not fortunate enough to afford the luxury of Google’s services (which, let’s face it, most business start ups aren’t) then you have to be more innovative. The late Apple giant Steve Jobs urged his team to be more innovative rather than inventive. Human nature is to keep inventing, but few great minds innovate. By applying such a mindset, writing for profit becomes an art form, and although artists can be loose cannons, when they fire, they make great noise. When you make noise, your customers stand up and listen. Better you find a niche market and write directly to their needs, than compete with internet giants who want the lion’s share of your industry. Slowly, as you gain momentum and your brand grows, you can test larger markets and see if you can stand the heat.


All your life, you have used positive language to express moments of mental clarity and this has brought order to your world. How many times have you been ‘in the dark’ about something? Then, suddenly you get the point and say ‘Ah, now I see’. You might have suggested, at some time, or another, ‘shedding some light on things’, so you are better understood. You may have used phrases such as I cannot ‘see’ the point, or I am in the ‘shadows’. This is because the words you use are a direct reflection of your state of consciousness. When there is clarity we feel illuminated; but with confusion there comes a dark cloud of doubt. So remember, you are responsible for taking your reader on a journey from the dark of the unknown into the light. As writers how can we dilute such a wonderful opportunity?

The way I use words from an advertising perspective gets even more interesting; I use all kinds of tricks and tools to stimulate activity. My next article will cover a few strategies. In the mean time keep writing and be innovative.

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