Taking the travel sales process back to the basics | Travel Research Online


Taking the travel sales process back to the basics

Over the past few weeks there have been several articles about being a better travel professional.  Most recently, Terry Denton talked about going above and beyond. Nolan Burris talked about the differences between strugglers and superstars. And a few weeks back, I suggested, that to be successful, we just need to suck a little bit less than the competition. So why is it so elusive?

Terry pointed out some easy, and overlooked, options. Nolan discussed a different mindset that ultimately would make you money. And I just pointed out how ridiculously low the bar is set for most industries today.

At a travel conference, I heard a great story* that really drove the point home, that a simple act can make all the difference in the world.

Way back when, there used to be gas station attendants who actually pumped your gas, washed your windshield, and checked the oil and air in your tires. The attendants often received a few coins as a tip for a job well done.  One enterprising attendant was always leading the pack in tips; and when asked, his explanation was simple—he always addressed his customers by name. Every time.

With a busy gas station, the owner wondered how he could remember everyone’s name. The young man explained that when he took the customer’s credit card, he noted the name and discretely wrote it on a piece of masking tape and taped it to the inside of the gas cap (or door) for future reference. So, when a customer pulled in, he opened the gas cap, read the name, and then was able to address the customer.

How difficult was that?

As an industry, are we looking for the little things that matter? Are we using the tools provided by the suppliers? The information provided by a CRM? Are we addressing our clients by name?  All of these “extras” are really nothing more than the basics of any business relationship; but time and time again I find that most people in a sales position miss them—it is not unique to the travel industry by any means.

I have a question for you all—what are the simple things you do that keep your clients coming back? Using their name? Presenting a destination guide? Returning calls or emails in a certain period of time? I know I can improve—leave a comment with your tips so we all can!

* As for the story, it sounds like it might be a Mike Marchev discussion, but I am not sure. If you know, please let me know!



  2 thoughts on “Taking the travel sales process back to the basics

  1. Jackie Swan says:

    I’m a believer in always following up after a trip.
    My motto is: it isn’t over till it’s over.

    I either call or email and sometimes it might be awhile after they return but I DO contact them.
    I learn a lot from my clients! (as they do from me!)

  2. Mary Jo Salas says:

    I learned in a sales training not related to travel to call people by their name as much as possible. Never forgot about that, people really feel like you’re paying attention when you use their name throughout conversation and especially for me its a great way to remember them.

    Today I spoke to a supplier who was happy that I use their different marketing tools as those departments really put time and money and the supplier felt so many travel consultants do not use them or care to use them. This keeps on happening and all those great FREE tools are going to be gone and crisp graphics are not cheap.

    Welcoming them back with a note, planting an idea for possibly their next vacation, genuinely taking an interest in their lives with birthday wishes or anniversaries. It’s a relationship and if you value it and want to keep it – you have to show it.

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