For most travel agents, personal travel experiences have historically proven key to closing sales – and particularly so during the pandemic.
“By sharing our experiences, we show our expertise in navigating the complexities of travel during this time,” said Becky Lukovic of Bella Travel Planning, a Travel Experts affiliate.
As a case in point, Jemica Archer of TruBlue Travels counselled first-time travellers to Mexico who had questions on protocols, Covid testing and what to expect in terms of resort activities and excursions.
“It was great, because I just returned from Mexico, so I was able to give them insight into the airport experience as well, and what they need to make sure they download and have handy to get through everything,” she said.
“Seeing how the airports are operating during this time allowed me to help prepare them for what’s to come so that they are not overwhelmed. I was able to guide them on how they needed to prepare themselves with their phones to complete and download QR codes that will be scanned in airports, health questionnaires and exit taxes — all of these things are going to help the client experience.”
During the pandemic, Kim Cook of Love to Travel visited Mexico, Dominican Republic, Exuma and Turks and Caicos. “This has helped us describe the experience of getting Covid tests prior to departure and upon the return,” she said. “We have been able to help our clients navigate all the island requirements and authorisations. Our clients feel more confident knowing we are advising them from personal experience.”
When Cook sends out client quotes, she also includes personal resort videos. “These have been amazing sales tools for us as the clients appreciate seeing our photos and not just the professional resort photos,” she said.
“While we are in a destination, our clients follow our posts on social media. This always generates a lot of interest and gives us credibility when recommending certain resorts.”
Similarly, Sarah Kline of Time For Travel travelled to Cancun during the first week of June, and her social media accounts were buzzing.
“I was touring wedding venues at a resort and sharing video, and I had a bride call me while I was still walking around the property with the sales manager,” Kline said. “She said, ‘If it looks that amazing and fun right now I want my wedding there this summer.’ We’re meeting Monday to book it.”
For her part, Lukovic mixes storytelling with practical advice to help close sales.
“Besides the stories of having a private boat to take us swimming in the quiet coves of the Mediterranean, guides who introduced us to the glories in baguette-making in a popular boulangerie in the 7th arrondissement in Paris and having a picnic at sundown watching the waterhole antics in Sabi Sands, my practical experiences in traveling to a destination have closed the sale many times,” she said.
“When you can converse off-the-cuff with a new client about the hotels they researched in Rome, or which area to have a villa in Southern France, they seem to know they’ve come to the right place. Experience instills trust.”
When a personal travel experience is not as it should be, Antoine D. Wilson of A.D. Elite Travels does not whitewash it to his clients.
“I feel honesty is extremely important and it isn’t just about the sale for me. If I wouldn't go there personally, then I wouldn't recommend it to my client,” he said.
“Your brand is also at stake when you recommend different travel options and venues to your client. I want my clients to have the best experience ever. When my clients are happy, I'm happy, and in turn, they will tell other friends and family members, which creates more business and broadens your clientele.”
Source: Travel Pulse