I always learn from our newest class of 30Under30 and this year is no exception. Here are some of their top tips from 2019.
Personalize it: Fallon Hirschhorn of Ovation Travel Group wows her clients the moment they walk into their hotel room with welcome gifts, such as a cocktail bar of their favorite drinks or a framed personal photo that’s waiting for them. She’s even had pillowcases customized for them. This starts everything off on a high note so her clients are walking on air from the first moment of their vacation. Jamie Guillen of First in Service Travel does the same thing. Recently when one of her clients arrived at her hotel for her bachelorette party, a copy of her engagement photo of her fiancé and puppy were waiting for her, courtesy of Guillen. The thoughtful gesture, which was delivered with the assistance of the hotel’s concierge, helped cure the client’s bout of homesickness immediately. “It’s the little things in life that mean the most,” says Guillen.
Just ask for it: How does Hirschhorn of Ovation Travel get Millennial business from her peers? She contacts her friends and acquaintances via social media to let them know she’s able to plan a great honeymoon. Eight out of 10 have responded positively.
Don't give it away: Kate Lawless of River Oaks Travel has a travel planning fee structure for clients. That’s not unusual, but listen to her reasoning and you’ll wonder why you’re not charging for your services yourself: “I treat every client as an individual, nothing is pre-packaged and nothing is ever exactly the same. A lot of time goes into every itinerary. I search for the best flight options, send multiple hotel ideas for every destination, put together touring itineraries that match each client’s interests, style and budget and even create recommended shopping or restaurant lists and make restaurant reservations.” I like Kate’s mindset; too many travel advisors give their services away for free, but when you list out what you’re actually providing, the concept of “free” should go right out the window. Jesamine Lee from Skylark has the same mindset. At her agency, she’s been advocating charging fees for complex trips and has successfully done so for her past three bookings. She sees the obvious benefit, that it adds to profits. “But it’s also efficient in weeding out bad leads and allocating time and effort to clients who trust me and who will keep coming back to book more travel,” she says.
Follow up: Brittany Bridgewater of TravelSmiths, Inc. shared a basic tip that has brought her new business. “It may sound simple, but I’ve become better at following up,” she says. “For clients who have reached out for pricing to book a trip, but then decided against it, I continue to send them updates when there are promotions and offers regarding their trip.” Bottom line? “I’ve received a ton of business from doing this with clients that I previously would have ruled out.”
Live a good life: Katrina Marie Hegge of Harmon Travel recommends a travel advisor career to her peers because “it’s an incredible way to fulfill not only your career, but your life. I see so many of my friends working meaningless jobs and always being frustrated.” Juli Morgan of the Luxury Travel Institute has experienced the same dynamic. “So many of my Millennial friends ‘joke’ that they got into the wrong career, except they aren’t really joking,” she says. “This job is extremely fulfilling, you have a potential to make a lot of money if you work hard, and you get the added benefit / perk of being able to see the world.”