Well, you know what they say about the best-laid plans. It has been a crazy May on many levels. My intention and written goal for May was to focus on a plan for generating referrals, but honestly I was pulled in many directions and backed away from that goal. At the moment, I am going to keep it simple with my policy regarding referrals – I only work on referrals from a current client. Thankfully, business is strong and I would like to consciously develop the caliber of clientele that I enjoy, and that will be profitable and hassle free. That may mean breaking away from a few current clients or sometimes referring business to a colleague; but I am ready to embark on the journey of cultivating the right profile of client to engage in a mutually beneficial professional relationship.
With that in mind, whenever I receive a fantastic referral, I crazily thank and deliver a small gift for the referring client. It’s important to remember the thank you, and I’m confident this encourages even more referrals and good will. I’ve been keeping it simple with a travel themed note card and small gesture of appreciation, such as a pretty plant or gift card for ice cream or small travel book. Everyone has truly loved the small token and is surprised to be acknowledged and that someone would make such an effort, so it really seems to go a long way and be a very worthwhile investment of time and money. It has lead to more referrals, too!
So now for the mixed up part of May—I am very overwhelmed! Perhaps this time of year is just our “crunch” time, but the volume of FIT’s and the details are tedious. In addition, I get so many calls and emails over the smallest aspect of the trip, I feel bombarded with the minor questions. There are a lot of balls to juggle! One strategy I tried was to stick with suppliers that are a one-stop shop, which worked for some clients. I found some clients wanted a breakdown of pricing which suppliers may not offer, or certain suppliers have a small specialty of services to offer, while others have strict requirements with needing so many tours and a minimum hotel night stay. This has felt like a Mensa puzzle to synthesize the options and choose for that particular client and trip. In addition, many suppliers are very slow to respond or head in a different direction than what the client requested. The most challenging aspect has also been a lack of timely response from some clients, even after they have their air reserved but no hotel or vice versa. I think I need more patience, and some clients need some tough love! If anyone has suggestions, strategies, or great FIT suppliers PLEASE share – the collaboration is so helpful.
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.