Discounts versus customer service. It is a recurring theme in my office most days. So much, that competing with online pricing has become more time consuming than actually planning great trips for my clients. Spending vast amounts of time with many of my clients to find the perfect vacation for them, only to have them bring me a price that is sometimes $800 less than my quote, is a little disconcerting to say the least.
I have always prided myself on providing excellent customer service and going the extra mile for my clients. I do my best to offer first hand information that is useful to them–information they won’t find online. And I feel that many clients really appreciate this, which is why they keep coming back to me year after year. But, I am seeing such a huge amount of discounting online, that it is nearly impossible to compete (or sometimes even be in the ballpark) on price any longer.
It comes down to a moral decision. Do I offer the discount upfront to get the booking? Or do I stick to my guns and give them the actual pricing? It has become a situation I wrestle with everyday. I have many clients who aren’t looking for discounts. They want a really great trip, but new clients seem to expect the $800 discount. How to compete?
Sure, I can offer them every bit of information I have about the resorts and locations based on my travels, but is that really enough anymore? In this cost-conscious environment, everyone is looking for cheap. So my solution is to offer them the information they need to make a decision on a great vacation along with non-discounted pricing. Of course I make sure the price is as reasonable as possible. If they would like to work with me for my professionalism and great customer service, than I am more than happy to go the extra mile to make sure their trip is fabulous. If they are only looking for a cheap trip, the online sites can have them.
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