Trip Proposals – Part Deux | TravelResearchOnline


Trip Proposals – Part Deux

My recent article, Preparing a Trip Proposal That Wows Your Client, generated a healthy number of comments and private messages asking for more information and a sample itinerary.  I love it when this kind of discussion and sharing occurs!

First off – I’ve been asked by a number of people for a sample itinerary that incorporates all of what I discussed in my last article.  You can download a PDF copy of a recent itinerary I issued for clients traveling to Italy here. You can see how I incorporated all of the elements I discussed; this client fell in love with the trip, and was ready to book right away.  We were able to discuss pricing later.  Because this trip was EXACTLY what she was looking for, she was willing to pay the asking price – had I included the price, chances are she would have price-shopped the entire trip, or at least major elements of it, in an effort to work a better deal.

Next, to answer some questions that came up:

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How do you feel about links to resort websites and YouTube videos? This is one of those things where there isn’t a blanket right or wrong answer.  Most of the time, resort websites are set up for online booking and the site is plastered with many calls to action designed to get that online booking on that visit.  This seems counterintuitive – you’re doing the work selling a resort, cruise line, or destination, so why send the client to the supplier’s website and potentially cut yourself out of the equation?  Instead, I email the clients images, or I create a special page on my website just for them that showcases those images.  Same thing with video – YouTube has made it easy to embed video in websites and that is my preferred way to share those.   But, it is important to preview the video first – nothing like sending the client a video for a destination that encourages them to bypass you for booking at the end!

How do you actually create the proposal? I created the general outline in Microsoft Word, and I change images and text according to the needs of the specific client and trip at hand.  The first time I created the proposal, it took a little while to get things “just so” but now it’s rather quick and easy to switch things out.  Also, I went through several different versions of proposals over the last few years before arriving at the one I presented above.  My suggestion is to play around with different formats and layouts to find what works for you (on the editing side) and for the client (on the presentation side).

What is your opinion in proposals created by programs like Clientbase? There’s nothing inherently WRONG with proposals automatically generated by Clientbase or other similar programs.  They do a good job for how they’re designed, but I believe they don’t work well for me or my clients.  I focus on detail-oriented experiences, so a barebones style proposal that simply lists the hotels, tours, and whatnot simply doesn’t meet my standards and will not wow my clients the way I want them to be wowed.  I always feel like I’m looking at a corporate-type itinerary when I see a generated proposal of that type.

Feel free to ask more questions about trip proposals and share your experiences with your own in the comments!

Steve Cousino, ACC, CTA, LS is a six-year industry veteran and owner of Exclusive Events At Sea and Journeys By Steve with specializations in group cruising, individual ocean & river cruising, and personalized experiences in Europe, especially the British Isles. He can be reached at

  7 thoughts on “Trip Proposals – Part Deux

  1. Marie Eatman says:

    Thanks Steve! I prefer personal proposals over Clientbase also, but this one is awesome so thank you for sharing!

  2. Thanks for your comment, Marie! My proposals do take some additional time, but because my niche market is so select I don’t have a large volume of business, so I can afford to take that extra time. Clientbase-style proposals are great for those who don’t have the time, or don’t need the more personalized style that I use.

  3. Chanté says:

    Hi Steve. This is great, and very similar to how I present my itineraries too. For the longest time, I couldn’t get the photos right next to one another, like you have, but I started using a photo editing program where I can create collages, and it’s even better! Also, I like how you do not place the pricing in your itinerary. It varies with me; especially if it’s a group and they are attempting to gauge if they will be able to afford the trip. I don’t price out each component, I just put a grand total at the end and advise what it will be per person, and also, I include the travel insurance separately, but it’s included as an “approximation,” so they know that insurance is strongly advised. Thanks for all of the great articles Steve!

  4. Bravissimo Steve! I’ve used Izento but seems like your manual process makes something far more easier to read and digest to get the client amped up!

  5. Thanks for your comments!

    Chanté – It took me a lot of trial and error to get my proposals to work the way they do now!

    Dave – iZento is a good product, for me personally it doesn’t work because I can’t customize it as much as I’d like. Plus, they are more for a trip guide the client can take with them rather than a proposal tool to help the client understand what they’re paying for. I have seen some AWESOME iZento books, though!

    Steve Cousino, ACC, CTA

  6. Karen Dawson says:

    Nice job Steve!

  7. Hey Steve and fans,
    Great article as always. I am fan of yours!

    Have you or anyone had experience with this site…

    Would be interested in your thoughts pertaining to it. Thanks Steve and fans.

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