Travel is a “repeat buy.” Many clients will travel on a schedule approaching every one or two years and some much more frequently. Their repeat business is a big part of the growth and stability of your travel practice. It is important to stay ahead of such clients by anticipating their needs.
There is no reason to wait for the client to come to you with a trip to research. It is far too easy for the client to be sidetracked by an online site, a direct to consumer promotion in a magazine, or even by another agent. If you have properly trained the client, they should come to you in any event, but by staying ahead of the situation, you ensure that you are building repeat business from the outset.
The key is to work with the client on an advance basis: ask what their travel plans are over the next one to two years. In reality there is no reason you should not work on a ten year plan, but by honing in on the near future, you remain involved in those travel opportunities that are closest to the client’s active planning. Begin to drill down on details: where does the client want to go and when? Are there acceptable alternatives? What does the budget look like? Special activities during the trip? While the client may not have thought about each of these issues very far in advance, you can use the information gathered to begin to provide the client with regular updates that fit their travel ambitions. By so doing, you remain involved in the planning process.
Do not think for a moment this is overly aggressive. Does your accountant wait until you are 60 to talk to you about retirement? Does your the doctor wait until you have a heart attack to tell you about good eating habits and exercise? Does your real estate agent ever discuss your “next home”?
All professionals are involved in the future of their clients. You should be as well.