Deep within most people is the capacity to inherently understand when a company mirrors their own values. People look for empathy, for a travel planner than has the capacity to best understand their own situation, to honestly assist them in making a buying decision. Great travel consultants think from a client-centric point of view. The emotion such a travel planner seeks most to elicit is trust. That’s why all of the agent’s collateral, demeanor, choices and presentations have to exude a client-centric perspective. Empathy combined with confidence, with a bit of personality thrown in, equals trust.
Trust is essential as a foundational element for a solid business relationship. Clients are looking for honesty and integrity in their travel consultant. As we have discussed, achieving the trust of a client might first mean breaking down the preconceived notions the consumer has about travel agents. Once a client better understands the respective roles of traveler and travel agent, a process of evaluation begins. In essence, the consumer looks to the promises of the travel agent and decides how well the bargain is being fulfilled. This is why it is absolutely essential to examine all of your marketing messages to ascertain what promises you are explicitly and implicitly making to clients. You will, without doubt, be held accountable.
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Consumers want to buy from people – they want to know who is the personality behind the website, the advertisement and the public relations event. Whenever possible, humanize your marketing efforts with a face and a tone that is authentic. Avoid cliché in your marketing. Industry jargon and a repetition of the same promises and headlines that consumers see on any random travel ad give them no distinct reason for visiting with you. Instead let them know how they will benefit from doing business with you and your company.
Demonstrate a real interest in your client’s welfare. Your interest in their best interests will show through. Continue building trust with your newsletters, blogs and other client communications. Ensure that every effort implicitly speaks to core values in a consistent tone. Give your clients and potential clients lots of ways to get in touch with you: email, address, phone and website URL.
Finally, be a true consultant. Rather than “selling travel” assist your clients in making a smart buying decision. Empower them by providing insight, facts and honest recommendations. Answer questions in a straightforward manner without any deviation that might signal to the client that you are keeping information from them. Empathetically appreciate your client’s concerns in the travel planning process, address those concerns, and you will earn not only their trust, but loyalty as well.