Beating the Gas-Pump Mentality


Ruthanne Terrero
Vice President—Content/ Editorial Director, Ruthanne Terrero

One day I came home to find that the huge mulberry tree in the front yard had tipped over and was leaning on the electric wires that stretch across the street. It was quite the sight, let me tell you. This tree was 75 years old and now that it was hovering over the street, dangerously close to falling and crushing the cars below, it was easy to appreciate its girth.

We had to have the tree removed, even though it was still quite healthy, just tipped over from the fact that it had rained for days on end and the wet ground had given up on holding it down. A troupe of men came early one morning and cut it up and then another troupe came and carted it all away.

That left a big gap in the front yard that we had to fill and so last week we found ourselves in the garden center, looking for trees. Feeling conversational, I asked the man at the garden center how things were going. I was more focused on the fact that it’s been cold here in New York for weeks and it feels like we’re missing out on spring.  “Are people even coming in to buy flowers for their gardens with this weather?” I asked him.

“No, the price of gas is killing them,” he told me. “I don’t think they’ll be buying flowers when they can’t even afford to drive to work.”

That sounded horrid and I realized that this may be an issue that travel agents need to tackle as well. The sticker shock over the price of gas may have your clients thinking their summer vacation is going out the window, but if you proactively contact them with a travel opportunity, you may be able to shake them out of their concern.

Here are some tips for encouraging your clients to travel:

  1. Put it into perspective for them. As Murray Lundberg, a cruise consultant at Expedia Cruise Ship Centers, aptly explained, “Unless you’re driving an RV to Alaska, the price of fuel just isn’t that big a deal. Of course we complain about it, but it’s not slowing many people down, or even making them buy smaller vehicles.”
  2. Dare I say it, shop around for airfare deals for them. I know many travel agents aren’t selling air anymore for obvious reasons, but if you can get your clients cheaply to a locale, you’ll likely be able to upsell them on a destination.
  3. Shop around for all-inclusive deals to present to those customers who are concerned about controlling the costs on their vacation. Be sure that the properties you propose are truly inclusive and that your client won’t have to shell out money for additional services and dining options once they arrive on property or on their ship.
  4. Consult with your clients and ask them what their best-ever vacation was. Be sure they include details. Explain to them why they should relive those moments. Haven’t they noticed how quickly time is flying?
  5. Push experiences to your clients that they may not have even dreamed about. Do some research and create an itinerary for a trip they’ve always wanted to take.

    Good luck and don’t forget to get out there and travel yourselves this summer!