Once you’ve built a book of clients, it can feel like such an accomplishment. No doubt it’s the goal that you’ve been working towards for years – you can’t wait to have a group of adoring fans eager to book travel with you!
So what do you do next? How do you best utilize this group and make sure they keep coming back year after year?
There are several ways to tap into your current network and better serve them. These small tweaks to your business make all the difference between you and a competitor.
We’ll start with the most simple and least expensive tip. Always, always, always follow up!
The last thing you want is your client to feel like the experience was transactional. It’s important to re-share their photos, do a brief check-in while they’re traveling, and do a complete follow up after they return. Even if they have negative feedback, you need to know so you can fix it for the next time.
Make sure you thank them for sharing and taking the time to speak with you. Emphasize how you can’t wait to help them with their next trip and ask for a referral to a friend or family member.
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Remember Special Occasions
Clients hire travel agents because they crave the personal connection and attention to detail they can’t get through a big booking site.
These days, every corporation sends out generic “Happy Birthday” emails so you have to go one step further and really think about how to celebrate your client throughout the year.
On average, you should have about 1 to 2 “touchpoints” with your client per quarter. This could be as simple as sending them a note checking in to see how they are or interacting with their social media account.
Plan an In-Person Event
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have a personal connection with your clients and a great way to do this is to organize an in-person event.
We are very fortunate in this industry that we have so many sales partners at the ready to create something special and unique for your clients.
You could easily host a safari night with your favorite company or create something more out of the box.
Another idea is to create an event your clients have an interest in outside of travel. For example, for your luxury clients, you could partner with a Telsa sales team to organize a test drive or a personal stylist who creates curated resort wear options. Instruct your clients to bring along one friend with the same interests and then you’ve easily grown your list with new potential leads.
Create a “Wow” Moment
Everyone says that they “exceed expectations” but what does that mean? In the customer service industry, expectations are the most important things to manage.
You need to spend a long time qualifying your client to get a sense of their expectations. If the client expects a simple transactional booking in order to receive amenities, you can exceed their expectations by creating something personalized to them. Maybe it’s a photo of their dog or maybe it’s adding an extra resort credit to their booking – there are a number of ways to do more than what is expected and make yourself memorable.
If you have a seamless client process, then it will also make you memorable to the client. Don’t just take their deposit and never speak to them again. Build up the excitement by sharing articles and recommendations about the destination so they appreciate your expertise before they even set foot on their trip!
Create a Personalized Travel Plan
Sometimes the best way to get repeat business is to simply ask for it. If you are going to a conference, it’s best to go prepared with a “shopping list” for your clients.
Reach out to your clients before you leave and tell them you will be personally “shopping” for their travel plans and ask them what destinations they are interested in going to next. Follow up after the conference with your personal recommendations and connections.
Take it a step further by asking them to create a multi-year plan. For example, if you have a family that loves to travel to the Caribbean over Festive every year, you can create a list of top 5 hotels that matches them for each year. That way, they can get excited about the next trip before it even starts.
At Brownell, we even create a custom travel map for clients wanting to do a multi-year trip plan. If the clients hang it on their wall, it’s a constant visual reminder to plan the next trip and call their agent – a win-win!
At the end of the day, travel agents need to rely on repeat business to scale their agency. The more you fine-tune your customer service skills and build personal connections with your clients, the more repeat business you’ll receive.
What other tips have worked for you?