Your clients are afraid of paying too much for their vacation. As a travel counselor, it is important for you to shift your clients to a focus on value rather than an obsession with price. You can assist your clients to better understand the value of their vacation travel and how in every well planned instance it is worth far more than the price paid.
Before you can lead your clients through a discussion on value over price, you have to be fully invested in the difference yourself. Value means different things to different people. However, we sometimes allow clients to drive the conversation. They focus on price and drive us immediately to the bottom line. In an exercise designed to plan the perfect vacation, that is a terrible place to start.
To use an example I have used before, if price were the most important thing in a purchasing decision, Starbucks would never sell a cup of coffee. People want real value – they incorrectly phrase the discussion in terms of price. As the expert, you have to help the client make the psychological shift in thinking.
The conversion from price to value can only be made in a relationship built on confidence and trust, the same values to which you aspire in your practice. A skilled travel counselor will ask questions about the upcoming trip: how the destination was chosen, who will be traveling, what the goals of the trip might be, what type and quality of accommodations are desired. Leave the concept of price and budget until the very end. Instead, draw from the client their every desire. Help the client paint the picture of the perfect trip. If they are like most people, clients will continually interject pricing concerns during the initial planning interview. Assure the client that the planning fee they have paid you is their assurance that you are going to search high and low for the best value for them – a trip that meets all of their expectations and desires. From that trip you will determine a price and together you will evaluate the value.
One of the great values of charging a fee is that it allows both you and the client to relax into the relationship. You know the client is not going to take your research and book it elsewhere. Make the client understand that as a result of the fee, you work on behalf of the client to achieve the best possible value, whatever the final price.
As you do your research for the client, pull together an itinerary and components that first and foremost fulfill the client’s travel ambitions. Once that mission is accomplished, balance it off against your understanding of the client’s past travel accommodations, budgets and comments. Knowing your client’s travel history is one of the best possible clues to their price sensitivity.
When you make your presentation to your clients, infuse it with your own sense of passion for their journey. Take into consideration the ideals of travel, the romance and the experience they will have. Paint a picture for your clients. Take charge of the presentation and leave the issue of cost until the very last. Price, when it is properly presented in the context of value, is almost always a logical conclusion of everything you will have described. If the client feels that the trip would be wonderful but the price is too high, make adjustments with the client present. Perhaps a different hotel, one less day in the destination, a change of dates or season. Work with the client, on their behalf, to find the best possible value for them.
Clients want to travel. Price is often their greatest fear. Instead, turn it into the part they look forward to – achieving a great value each time they work with you.