After much deliberation, investigation, and research, I have finally come up with the name of probably the single best travel professional in the country. Me!
Hey, it has to be me, and here’s why. I offer a great value, outstanding customer service, wonderful tips and advice, custom planning of complex itineraries, custom group planning, 24-7 reach-ability before, during and after and fantastic follow up after the sale. I make my connections in the industry work for my clients to create the experience they deserve and expect for their hard earned dollars. I market to my clients and prospects continuously and make them aware of my value. If you don’t believe me, I can give you a list of thousands of clients who regularly travel with my assistance. And if that is not enough, let me show you the t-shirt my kids got me a few years back that proves it! Just don’t ask for a list of the clients that traveled once and never came back.
The perception is we all think we are the greatest gift to travel. The reality is that the perception is likely wrong. Do I think I am a good travel professional? Sure I do! Am I successful? Check! But the question remains, can I be the best? Let me get back to you on that! I do have a list of thousands of clients who regularly (loosely defined) travel with me, but earlier today, I was pulling some reports from ClientBase and decided to look at the “once and dones.” I was stunned by how many there were. Of course, due to my niche, some of them changed lifestyles* and no longer need my services, finances may have changed, or they may have moved or died. But I had to wonder what did I do that convinced these people to travel with me initially…and what I did to make them not do it again.
I don’t know. But I am going to find out. Tomorrow I am creating a brief client retention survey on SurveyMonkey and will be sending the link out to all of my once and done clients on Wednesday of next week (my best day for opens and clicks). And after I get my results, I will be developing a new spy program. I figure if I am not doing it right, someone else must be and I want to know how. I will be visiting the websites of my competitors and making careful notes. I will be visiting the sites of the agencies my former clients are now using. I may make a few phone calls to see how the other agencies are handling cold calls.
I have a bad feeling that the results will shock and disappoint me, but I also have a feeling it will be what I need to hear to move my business up a notch. I remember when I was a kid, when I was sick, the medicine that was supposed to make me feel better (and always did) tasted horrible. I am grown up now and will be taking my medicine. Like a kid, I am sure I will cringe, fight, and may even spit it out a time or two; but I know that in the end, it will make me better.
And, after all, isn’t that what we all want? As for the Best Travel Professional—well, I guess it is not me (despite the t-shirt), but I also guess it is not you either. So what are you going to do to make yourself better?