My passion for traveling has led me to help others explore their dream destinations and create memories that will last a lifetime. Cary Travel Express recently hosted its 14th annual travel show and we saw many familiar faces; and even more exciting, plenty of new ones! Unlike many agencies, we do not measure the success of a show by the trips booked or the leads captured. We take it a bit further and measure the end result—the quality of vacation experiences that we provide to our clients.
With the New Year brings an important question ― should our clients choose us or should we choose them? On the surface, that may sound harsh, but the reality is that we often waste our time on the people who are going to be one time travelers, information seekers, and time wasters. They suck the life out of you, and disappear forever, gnawing at the next agent or online travel agency (OTA) that is willing to be their next victim. We have long-standing relationships with many of our clients, and it is more important to us that we grow and nurture those relationships and expand on truly meaningful leads.
So, how do we start weeding out the deadweight? Do we start by charging service fees? Do we stop selling airline tickets? Or do we simply push the clients who suck the life out of us away?
Being a travel professional can be a very time consuming business. To compete, it’s imperative to provide excellent ongoing service in a way that the OTA’s cannot. In order to be the best at what we do, we need the time and the resources to manage our clients and plan successful trips for them. We build partnerships by welcoming them home with a card, or sending them a coupon for their anniversary. We remember what they like and dislike. We even become their friends on Facebook and extend our relationship socially.
Building and maintaining relationships with our clients is hard work, but having a repeat client base is critical to our long-term growth strategy. Remember, it is far more expensive to acquire a new client than it is to keep an existing one. I think that we have been very successful so far, but there is always room for improvement. We will continue attracting clients with our marketing tools such as e-mail blasts, print advertising, and office theme nights. We will keep our existing clients by providing them with service above and beyond anyone else in our market. And, we will grow our business by listening to our clients, continuing our education, networking with our tour operators, building our group business, and ensuring that the Cary Travel Express name is synonymous with quality, expertise, value, and integrity.
We plan to make this a year one of growth and positive relationships! If you have any other ideas or tips on helping us achieve our goals, please feel free to share your comments.
Mary Jo Babiarz, Senior Travel Consultant with Carey Travel Express, has been in the travel business since 2005. Her love of travel has taken her to destinations such as Hawaii, many Caribbean islands, several Mediterranean port cities, and lots of Mexican vacation destinations. She is particularly knowledgeable about the Riviera Maya and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, but has extended knowledge in the Caribbean as well. An avid photographer, Mary Jo is known to thrill her clients with her first hand photos. You can reach Mary Jo at Cary Travel Express or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.