Cleaning up your travel houseDecember 10th, 2012 . by John Frenaye
The end of the year is fast approaching and we have just a few weeks left until we launch out of the starting gate to an incredible 2013. The New Year mantra is typically “out with the old and in with the new” which applies to your travel business in any number of ways. Of course we are tossing out old brochures (well from the suppliers that still provide them), perhaps old client records and notes, and even that mystery container that has been lurking in the refrigerator since July. But what about tossing out some of your clients?
Wait, did I just say that? Yes I did! Admit it, some of your clients are a pain in the @$$. Some of your clients are unprofitable. Some of your clients are too needy and not worth the time and effort. Some of your prospects are perennial tire kickers. So, why not purge them and start working with the client you want to work with? I am not suggesting a massive purge because clients and prospects can change over time; but I am suggesting that you take a long hard look at your existing client/prospect base and see if you can thin it out a bit and identify the ones that are pulling your bottom line down.
We all have clients that are, quite simply, a pain in the rear. They may always call for last minute reservations with unreasonable expectations. They may always have multiple changes. Maybe they insist on working with a supplier that does not pay fairly. I think you know who these people are. Go through your database and mark their profiles with “OID.” Only If Desperate.
None of us are in business to lose money. That is the airlines’ job. So why would we want to lose money selling travel? We do it all the time. Take some time and calculate the true value of your time and then determine how much time it takes to adequately complete a booking. Take into account the sales process and the follow up after the sale. I think you will find that the $75 commission check from the cruise line will have cost you more than that! Look at your clients and see which ones are unprofitable. Do you consistently spend hours and hours with a client to determine a destination only to book the cheapest resort for a long weekend? Get rid of them; or at least tag them in your database with a “¢” sign in stead of a “$$$.”
Every client or prospect has some value. But for those whose value is diminished, it is not necessary, recommended, or desired to waste efforts on them until something changes.
To be successful, you need to target your audience and continuously work that target. Giving your non-targeted prospects and clients merely erodes at your bottom line. So after you are done cutting the Christmas tree—think about pruning your clients—just a little!