Nobody wants to feel pressured to make a buying decision, and certainly not when planning leisure travel. Yet, in a traditional “sales” situation, both the travel agent and the consumer often find themselves in an adversarial posture, each concerned about elements of the travel planning experience. The travel professional should learn to anticipate and recognize these impediments to an open consulting relationship and remove them from the buying process. Freed from negative expectations, both the travel planner and the consumer can better relax into the buying process and appreciate it for the exciting exercise that it truly can be. Read the rest of this entry »
Every business relationship is built on trust, and travel consulting perhaps more so than most. Rather than a linear, transactional retail paradigm, modern travel sales is about establishing a relationship with the client, analyzing the customer’s needs and making recommendations based on the expertise of the travel consultant. The best practitioners in any field of expertise exhibit a set of characteristics that can be studied, learned and emulated. By looking at the habits and attitudes of top travel consultants, we can set out an agenda for expanding and enhancing our own skill set. Read the rest of this entry »
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. Read the rest of this entry »
Just under a year ago in this column, I asked a simple question: “Can you trust your clients?” The equally important question remains, however. Can your clients trust you? What are the elements of trust? What does “trust” mean in a commercial context? Consumers want to know the personality of your company and the people behind the company facade. The consumer wants to know that the people with whom they do business mean what they say. No hype, no false promises. It is what it is. Read the rest of this entry »
Is there a tougher question for a travel professional? Trust is one of the most difficult commodities to come by in any client relationship, but especially so in travel planning. In fact, the lack of trust is at the heart of most of the travel planner’s marketing challenges. New clients often don’t trust the travel agent to find the best price, deal, value, hotel or cruise. Travel consultants, in turn, don’t trust the client not to take research and book elsewhere. It’s a conundrum.
Trust is essential for a long-term relationship. How do we get there from here? Read the rest of this entry »
Chances are very good that you are an authority on some topic. For experienced travel agents, you are an authority on travel: how to get the best values, what to avoid, how to get there and what to do once you are there. But even if you are a novice travel agent, your life experiences have no doubt provided you with a topic on which you can write with authority. Therein is the beginning to what writers call a “voice” – the characteristic tone and style you use to convey your ideas. Some writers have a humorous voice, others instructive. Some choose a voice that is objective and neutral. Whatever voice a writer selects, it is important that it be authentic and consistent. Here are a few ways to discover and develop your own writing voice. Read the rest of this entry »