As we begin an exciting new year together, I thought it might be useful to talk about some of the tools that top interest advisors have at their disposal. We hear that travel advisors are back in vogue, but what are some things top advisors can do to enhance the services they provide to clients?
Know Your Client: Every other professional needs a new client intake form. Medical offices and accounting firms need a good deal of initial letters as the first steps in taking on a new client. You can use a new guest application or profile. Create your own and ask the kind of questions that help you get a permanent record of your customer’s likes and dislikes, past travels, and any health issues they might want to bring to your attention.
Make sure you have a wide range of questions with a consistent request for contact information. Ask about their past relationships with travel agents. How do they fly? What is the cost of their hotel room? Make sure you ask them to tell you two or three things about themselves.
Decide whether to charge an application fee for joining a new customer’s profile/application. It’s good to remember that a travel agency in New York charges new clients $150,000 for the privilege of working with them. Charging your potential customers $100 isn’t a bad idea, and it will really get the tire kickers buzzing.
Have a list of airports that offer VIP meet and greet services: Nothing says “service” like an unexpected VIP greeting as your customers exit the plane. Everyone else is walking through the airport while your customer sits in the golf cart enjoying the ride and taking in the view.
Meeting your customer at the gangway with a sign bearing their name can be the most memorable part of their journey. Key Consultants maintains a list of airports worldwide that offer VIP services.
Keep a file on your desktop with Digital Gifts: Start the world’s largest digital gift collection. Sending a client to Japan in a few months? Attached is an article detailing sushi restaurant etiquette in the country. Are your clients spending some downtime in Napa Valley? Consider including a digital gift outlining the best wineries to visit, along with directions.
Every evening you can extract a number of useful articles from your Apple News Feed. Don’t send a simple email without including a digital gift. It’s thoughtful and it won’t cost you anything.
Design a regularly scheduled, ad-free way to interact with customers: Our customers are tired of ads bouncing off their screens. That’s why they prefer streaming their TV content.
Design a way to communicate with your customers that provides useful travel information instead of product advertisements. Try to form an unbiased opinion. Help your customers understand how the industry works in a unique way that the Internet can never replicate. Try to humanize your working relationship with each guest. Make them a part of your extended travel family. If you do this, you’ll begin to humanize the booking process in ways no one else can replicate online.