I once suggested travel professionals give their clients a subscription to Conde Nast Traveler to help them dream. A reader expressed concern at that tactic. After all, that magazine, and others like it, are filled with opportunities and solicitations to buy travel. Why give your client a magazine that provides so much travel advertising?
Because you don’t sell travel.
Your clients don’t need you to buy travel. They can buy travel anywhere. They can buy travel on the internet, from a supplier direct or from the agency down the street. They will encounter a thousand travel ads between visits with you. That’s a great thing! Suppliers spend money, and lots of it, marketing travel. You want your clients to want to travel. You want them to see as much advertising as possible! Then you want them to come to you for assistance in making an intelligent buying decision. To ensure that your clients come to you each and every time they want to travel, for you to develop the kind of customer loyalty that ensures repeat business, you have to WOW them. Having the confidence to give them an annual subscription to a travel magazine is a good example of a WOW technique – high perceived value that excites their desires to travel.
This 365 Marketing and Sales Tip is provided free to the travel agent community by:
Surprise your clients. The WOW factor is often best generated by something unanticipated. WOW happens when the client does not expect the special favor. Think beyond the standard fare. A bottle of wine in a hotel room, a call during the trip, a special phone number where you can be reached – these are the norm for travel consultants. A travel diary, a destination guide, a special tip on a great place to have dinner, an invitation to the manager’s reception at the hotel much better. Knowing your client is a fan of old books and manuscripts and providing him with a list of antiquarian shops, however, demonstrates your intimate knowledge of both the client and the destination. You are looking for that special intersection of client desires and needs with the destination that WOWs.
Because the standard of customer service that your clients typically encounter in commerce is so low, it actually does not take a lot to WOW them. In our very hurried society, good customer service often takes the form of giving special allotments of time to your client. Certainly remembering their birthdays, anniversaries and other special holidays and occasions is important. A handwritten note goes a long way to demonstrating that you dedicated time to them. Meetings with them where you lavish attention and time to their plans and ambitions, where you take no other calls and where you don’t hurry the meeting to get to another. Give clients your time and they will give you theirs.
WOW’ing clients is also about demonstrating enthusiasm for their travel plans. Your clients are excited about their opportunity to travel. Be excited with them! Demonstrate your willingness to do everything possible to ensure that their travel plans are complete and well-thought. Bring your expertise to bear and anticipate problem areas. Anticipate their needs long before they do. You have helped dozens of people this year plan their vacations. What have you learned? How can you put it to the service of the client in front of you now?
Understand that you don’t have to do any of these things. Your client doesn’t expect them. But if you don’t, someone else will!
Tomorrow: Educate them