How many times have you heard the expression, “the fortune is in the follow-up?” But yet, so few of us actually take full action on this philosophy and instead fail at the follow-up game. Today, I break down the follow-up game for your travel services in the hopes that you set up systems to ensure you follow-up correctly and stop leaving lots of $$$ on the table.
What kind of money are you leaving on the table? First, you are leaving good bookings on the table because you didn’t follow up enough with inquiries. Second, you are leaving lucrative repeat business on the table because you didn’t keep in touch with your clients. Third, you are leaving great referrals on the table because you didn’t impress your clients enough to remember to refer you. That’s a fortune right there.
When it comes to following-up for a travel consultant, there are three main times to do so:
- After an inquiry;
- After a booking (deposit taken);
- After travel
Here I will detail how you can follow up during each phase of your services.
1. After an inquiry – It may seem very obvious, but you must follow up with your clients after they inquire. It's perfectly natural to get back to a prospect as soon as they inquire. But how about once you send them quotes? Create a system for yourself to inquire after they receive your quote. I recommend you communicate via phone and email. You don’t have to feel like a pest. Come from the place of doing your client a service/favour. If you have to, make up a white lie that you are holding space and your hold expires the next day.
2. After a booking – Many travel agents erroneously feel their job is done once the deposit is taken and booking is made. A true travel consultant is just getting started at this point. Follow-up with your client to manage their expectations for their travel, assist them in being fully prepared, make arrangements for additional items to their itinerary and get special treatments and upgrades if you can. To see an example of a great follow up system I used, once the deposit was taken, CLICK HERE to read another blog article.
3. After Travel – This one is key to over-delivering and surprising your clients and getting great referrals. You must keep in touch with your clients consistently once they have travelled. Even if it’s two years before they travel again, you must keep in touch with them because you never know who they may refer you to. Here are some tips for following up after travel:
- After travel can mean from the day after they depart for vacation.
Create a system for yourself to call your client on the first day of their vacation as a “check in” and make sure everything is OK. You can also arrange to have something special in their room upon arrival.
- Follow-up with your clients within a week after they return.
This could include a welcome home gift or just a phone call. I know an agent that organizes the airport transfer home and takes it one step further by ordering a pizza to be delivered just after they get home. As a mother of three kids, I know it would be love at first sight if a pizza was magically delivered to my house after traveling all day. So imagine how your clients would feel about you!
- Create a 12-month “stay-in-touch” campaign for your most lucrative clients to make sure you stay on their radar screen.
Don’t rely on the marketing systems provided by your consortia. These are supplier based and do nothing to convey your value. The process can be so simple with the incredible tools we have, but so few people do it. Here’s a process I recommend: Look through your client files and extract the clients that were most profitable and were good to work with. Put them on a list. Use a service like Send Out Cards and import their contact details into the program. Create 12 “touches” for each month of the year. It could be a card, postcard, box of chocolates, or a book. Vary it each month. Schedule it within your program and set it to go. The process can take you less than two hours and you will have taken care of a very important part of your marketing.
Meredith Hill is founder of Gifted Travel Network (GTN). Building off of GIFTE’s principles, GTN supports its travel professionals by helping them build their own brands and by providing ongoing entrepreneurial education – or, as Meredith says, “entrepreneurial nutrition.” This piece was originally published at this link: https://goo.gl/UHM0BC.