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Step up to a SuiteMay 1, 2006 By: Erin Sternthal Home-Based Travel Agent
According to home-based agents, qualify your clients to nail that suite sale
Agents learn in entry-level sales courses that the higher the product is priced, the more commission they earn. But you are doing more than making some extra cash. You're also giving your clients the keys to an extraordinary vacation—and when they plan their next getaway, they'll call you.
Before you push the suite over the standard room, qualify your client. "Knowing your client, what they want and what type of experience they're expecting, can help upsell," says Becky Theisen of Austin-based Becky Theisen Travel, an associate of Strong Travel Service and a "virtual" retailer. Theisen suggests asking clients if they are celebrating a special occasion and whether they have been to the destination before. If they've been there, ask what other properties they have stayed at.
"Never assume a client isn't a suite client," advises Roni Jordan, owner of Travel 4U2 in Norco, CA. "It's easier to ask and get told 'no' than to never make the sale at all. I assume all my clients are suite clients."
'Want' vs. 'Need'
When Jordan qualifies her clients, she inquires about their desires and the purpose of the trip. "Selling suites is more about 'want' than 'need,' but if your clients desire a little more luxury, then they are a suite customer." Resources
Also ask about past trips. "We all, as consumers, say we will spend less than we will when we are in buying situations, whether it is car shopping or a vacation," says Steve Hirshan, an independent contractor for Americas Vacation Center. "Knowing past buying habits will help tell you where your client could wind up, not just what he or she is asking for."
"Qualifying helps you advise your client of the advantages of suites and what's in it for them," Theisen adds. Explain the benefits and amenities included in suites. Some may be on a concierge level, which has food and beverage presentations throughout the day. "Break down the extra cost into a per-person, per-night fee or something the client can picture as reasonable," says Theisen. "That tends to help the sell-up."