We are a society that puts a high value on convenience. The pace of life, frenetic as it can be, means that consumers looking for travel cannot always do so in a 9 to 5 time slot. Online booking portals offer a 24X7 opportunity to research travel and book. A consumer can choose their own time for research, can educate themselves and do so without encountering any pressure to make an immediate decision. It would benefit travel agents looking to establish long term relationships to find ways of creating a sense of convenience and accessibility that clients will find equally attractive.
With others in the marketplace vying for the attention of the same potential clients, it is important for travel agents to consider exactly how accessible they are. Accessibility is sum of the characteristics that make you easy to remember, easy to find, approachable, likable and worthy of trust. Each of these elements are wrapped up in your approach to the market and should be given fair consideration as you position your company in your community.
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Most importantly to the buying process, your language and demeanor need to be friendly and approachable. Be flexible in your meeting times and make a real effort to accommodate the clients’ schedule. Give your clients multiple ways of reaching you: telephone, cell number and email or texting. Let your clients know when you are available and be prompt in returning their messages. Keep your meetings friendly and relaxed. Overly formal settings may be uncomfortable for your non-luxury clients.
Use appropriate language and vocabulary when explaining travel to your clients. If your couch your discussions in travel jargon, or if you fail to intuit your clients’ emotional needs or financial concerns, they may perceive you as aloof or out of touch with their sensibilities.
Avoid putting pressure on the client to make a decision. Consumers do not want to feel that the purchasing decision is more important to their travel agent than it is to them. An overly aggressive “sales” approach is completely counter-productive to building a long-term relationship. Explain the fleeting nature of pricing, but allow that in and of itself be the only urgency you place on the decision making process.
Finally, know that many of your clients will do some of their own research. If you seek to discourage a client’s curiosity or propensity to do their own research, your client may interpret it as an attempt to withhold information or to keep them at a disadvantage. Instead, adopt a very open demeanor in your discussions with the client and encourage them to bring any information they find to you for clarification or discussion.
The more open and friendly you are, the more clients will see you as a part of their team. If a client perceives you as accessible and approachable, you will find them at your door more often.