|Vice President—Content/Editorial Director, Ruthanne Terrero|
We asked this year’s class of 30Under30 what it’s like to sell to their fellow Millennials. Here are some of the tips they provided:
Provide Apps to Export Itineraries: Millennials will love this amenity, but so will your other clients. “Having the convenience of information at your fingertips is so important,” says Alyssa Scott of Protravel International in Encino, CA.
Go Beyond the Mainstream: Having cut their teeth in a sharing economy where all experiences are published on Instagram or Snapchat, Millennials pride themselves on being ahead of the trends. You’ll need to offer up-and-coming destinations and resorts that are super new or under the radar.
Cure Information Overload: There is so much detail on the Internet about travel that Millennials tend to be suspicious of it. This is where you come in. If you position yourself as a trustworthy expert, half the battle is won. “If you are open and honest about destinations or prices, or really just anything, we appreciate that,” says Lesley Stone, Legacy Travel in Plano, TX.
Show Your Vision: “Millennial clients want to see that you have the imagination to empower their dreams and then see them through with superior knowledge and contacts,” says Myste Wright of Protravel in Beverly Hills. So don’t be shy about your ability to craft fantastic trips. Shine a light on your skills and successes.
Ditch the Sales Pitch: That’s right, you need to promote yourself, but if you come off like a used-car salesman, your Millennial prospects may run away. So drop hints that you’re well connected by referring to your relationships with GMs and with your consortia, which can provide great value-added amenities.
Social Media: Are you really sharing photos of your global adventures on all of the available venues? Snap pictures of that lovely alleyway in Paris and the lavender fields in the Sud de France and be sure to tell us how they make you feel.
Hit It Out of the Ballpark: Alexandra Tucker of Auto Club Group, AAA in Knoxville, TN, says that Millennials are quick to tell their friends about great service because they love to share information and rely heavily on peer recommendations. “Being accessible via e-mail and social media, and communicating in these mobile methods allow you to connect easily with these travelers,” she explains.
Sharpen Your Study Skills: “Millennials have the ability to do their homework and quickly, so it’s very important that you do the same [not just on the destination but about your client as well],” says Hannah Lee Schremp of Go Girl Travel in Irving, TX.
You need to be able to find the right fit of the supplier who offers the experiences that your clients are looking for, so read your audience.
Money Matters: “I think it is important to communicate how we, as travel agents, are compensated so that they understand why we charge for our time,” notes Schremp. This means being able to explain how you’ll spend your time designing and collaborating with your network and suppliers to build a trip; and be up front about commissions.
Smaller is Better: Local shops get much higher points over big box stores with Millennials, even if they cost more, says Melody Yeh of Cruise & Travel Experts in Spring Lake, MI. “Millennials prefer local farmers’ markets with specialized produce stalls and people who care about their product and about the person consuming it — similar to what a good travel agent provides,” she says.