While working in the travel business, I have noticed a few “fear based” notions when it comes to luxury. First of all, it seems that many people tread lightly or are initially apprehensive to sell a luxury product, usually for fear that will eliminate the client’s interest in working together. If your advice comes with a lofty price tag, that could be alienating to a newer client that cannot afford it or may perceive your services as not worth the money. This is completely understandable from the client and agent perspectives, as we would never want to scare anyone away! This scenario, however, is usually avoidable by qualifying the client, asking for previous travel experiences, and of course determining their travel budget.
Certainly there are some clients that exude luxury, and it is easily determined that a higher end product is what they want and are willing to pay for. But what if it is not so obvious? It’s important to embrace luxury – without apology and without hesitation! Rest assured everyone loves luxury and needs some pampering to some degree! It is an easy sell with confidence in the premise that you can offer an exceptional experience, so why settle for less? Once clients have a taste of extra comforts, they will never go back. One client reluctantly splurged for a 5-star hotel in a major city, she was hesitant to spend “so much money for a room I won’t spend much time in;” but when she returned, she absolutely raved about the service and attentiveness to her every need. To quote her, “I have never felt like royalty and this was the most special I have every felt on vacation.” To this day, that luxury hotel experience is her template for all of her hotel stays. It’s an important lesson to give our clients; luxury is acceptable – being pampered while you’re on vacation feels amazing!
Many clients may feel luxury accommodations or experiences are wasteful and unnecessary, some may even feel guilty spending money in such an impractical manner. It’s our job to make it ok to love luxury. Clients work very hard; and leisure time is hard to come by–it’s perfectly fine to have comfort, a bit of extravagance, and pure joy in life. Travel is supposed to add to the richness of life and provide sheer enjoyment. People have different priorities and values about spending money and unique visions of what luxury means to them. In my experience, everyone has a “luxury meter” and it’s our task to figure that out! Make no mistake however, everyone has something they will splurge on – whether it’s a larger cabin on a ship, the best restaurant in town, or an experience that is one of a kind. It’s really about knowing your clients’ values and offering a heightened awareness that will surpass their expectation to add a luxury component.
Don’t hesitate to offer luxury; love and embrace the luxury experience without apology and your clients will be wanting some as well!
Marti Litwin is an independent Virtuoso travel advisor with En Route Travel in Southern California. She has a Master’s degree from the University of Southern California. Marti shares her value of sharing unforgettable family experiences with her clients. In addition to travel, she enjoys yoga, health and wellness, her 2 children, and an adorable rescued Golden Retriever, Cookie.