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Clients' Life ChangesOctober 1, 2007 By: Stasha Mills Home-Based Travel Agent
Keeping up with clients' personal lives can mean more business opportunities for you
I recently got married, moved to the suburbs, bought a car and am now expecting a baby—all life changes that a savvy travel agent could capitalize on.
First there's the wedding, with flight, hotel and rental car arrangements needing to be made for out-of-town guests. Then, of course, there's the honeymoon. And then the babymoon (or in our case, as many babymoons as we can possibly fit in!).
What Sorts of Questions to Ask
The fact that I am closer now to a different airport is another thing an agent should take note of: What airlines are hubbed there? What destinations are served from it? Keeping up on service changes and deals and alerting the client could mean more business.
Also the fact that I am a car owner now and that I'm closer to resorts in New England should be noted in my file for when information comes through on, say, a new spa or an off-season deal or last-minute availability somewhere within driving distance from me. Because I now have the freedom to just get in the car and go without worrying about booking an air ticket or a rental car, I can do more spur-of-the-moment travel.
When the baby arrives, my travel needs will change further. I will need to be schooled in what properties are family friendly, rules for flying with children and details, such as renting a car with an appropriate car seat and having proper bedding and other items at the hotel.
Remember the Extended Family: Referrals, Referrals, Referrals
I now have in-laws who love to cruise: My agent could suggest some cruise options for the whole family. And not only do I have in-laws, I married into a big family. So there are lots of opportunities for not just planning travel for my immediate family, but also for our travel with extended family. And my agent could now get referrals to book trips that members of my extended family take on their own, and could get referrals from them as well.
Now, if my agent hadn't been in touch with me, didn't listen well, didn't update my client profile, didn't ask about my extended family's travel interests and didn't come right out and ask for referrals, then she'd be missing out on all of these opportunities to sell more travel.
And my agent will have to keep up with me as my child grows: What types of vacations are suited for children of different ages? We'll want to teach her to ski and to swim, so resorts with these options will be interesting to us. At some point my husband and I will want to escape for a weekend without our child. And one day she will be graduating high school and hopefully embarking on a grand European tour (or maybe she'll be a Chinese scholar or an Egyptologist)
Anastasia (Stasha) Mills Healy Managing Editor