Saturday night I ran out of printer ink. Just after my local Office Depot closed. That’s the way life works right? Well, I was in the middle of printing some information for a client and figured I’d see what Amazon had to offer. They had my ink and miraculously it could be delivered by Sunday (kudos for good customer service). As I was checking out, there was a note saying I could get a $25 credit to my account if I ordered using my Echo. Hmm… $36 bill reduced by $25? I’m in. “Hey Alexa, buy the printer ink that is in my shopping cart.” Boom, it was on its way and a $25 credit appeared in my account. And less than 19 hours later, my ink was at my door. So what does this have to do with travel?
As I completed my transaction I began to think about the retail market today. Why did I not support my local Office Depot? They were not available when I wanted to purchase my product. What did I do? I went someplace that was.
What about your travel business? Are you available when your clients want to buy? Yes, we all have websites and some may argue that clients can buy online. But we also argue that travel is complex and unlike my ink, clients are not ordering a part number. The mega sites that sell travel usually have a 24-7 call center to help web clients; but I am betting you don’t – I know I don’t. So, how do you get a leg up when you cannot offer 24 hour consulting 365 days a year?
Just like me, today’s consumer wants their products when they want them. If you miss your opportunity to provide that service, you run the risk of losing out. Does anyone wonder why Amazon is working so hard on a two-hour delivery window in many areas? Drone delivery? This is the new millennium’s answer to the impulse buy at the check-out counter at your local grocery.
If you want to sell more travel, sell it when and where the client wants to buy it. Of course many will be fine with a phone transaction or even a web transaction; but for those that are not—go to them. Offer to meet them at their home or office on their schedule. The Starbucks closest to you may not be the most convenient for that client looking to do a three-week FIT in Europe.
A home or office visit has several benefits including:
- Uninterrupted time
- Ability to fully explain details
- Relaxed, non-transactional setting
And often this comfort will put the client at ease allowing you a better opportunity to upsell or to fully discuss the importance of travel insurance. If you have a Square or Paypal account, you can take a deposit right there. Of course, let the supplier handle the fees on the lion’s share. But this is by far the most comfortable transaction your client might experience. We are always more comfortable in our home, our office, or our Starbucks.
And a bonus tip—use this as a marketing program. My guess is that many will not take you up on it—only the most serious; but they will notice it and anything that gets you noticed will set you apart when the customer is looking to buy!