It’s a no-brainer that the last decade has seen dramatic shift in the way consumers interact with travel agents, in that it significantly more challenging for the agent in both price and opportunity.
What hasn’t changed is the business process associated with travel, simply put:
In speaking to our agents, family and friends, combined with a bit of good old fashion Internet , here is how and why customers find and use travel agents
There is a greater emphasis than ever on word-of-mouth from family and friends to generate the first point of contact with new customers. Their stories, your website and social media, validates that it is worth making the call.
Lesson: stimulate word-of-mouth, make sure your communication strategy online matches the word-of-mouth messages.
By time that person comes to you, they are “an expert” on the holiday you might book for them. So you need to have the inside running, with product knowledge and experience if you want to win them away from the Internet.
Lesson: don’t be everything to everyone but focus on what you are good at so you sound knowledgeable.
Whether it be ensuring you don’t book accommodation for your grandfather in the red light district, having someone pick you up at the airport or support in the case of refunds, travellers need to feel safe. Hurricane Sandy, ash cloud, earthquakes, airlines going bust….
Lesson: “Did you want travelers insurance and a transfer with your order?”
Some traveler’s sick and tired of doing all the work himself and now want somebody just to take away the pain. The added bonus of focusing on delivering time-saving is that “time poor” people tend to be “money rich”. Someone who spends five hours on the Internet to save $50 is probably not the customer you want.
Lesson: Emphasize the value adds early on
They want to be looked after. They will quickly forget the $20 savings you found for them; but they will remember the beautiful warm water and the service you provide them when they are telling their friends about the holiday.
It’s a great story to tell to make your friends jealous about your travel experience.
Lesson: Make sure your name appears in the stories they tell friends and family which in turn encourages them to use you in the future.