Harris and Jiffo field queries from seminar attendees.
If you aren’t tapping into the Gen-X and Gen-Y markets, you are missing out on a huge piece of business. During the 2013 Luxury Travel Exchange International (LTX) in Las Vegas, Travel Agent sat in on a panel titled A Generational Perspective, moderated by Joe Jiffo of Ensemble Travel Group. Panelists included Brian Harris, owner of Destination Site Selection, Melissa Pugh of Jet Set World Travel and David Rubin, CEO of DavidTravel.
“Gen-X and Gen-Y have money and many of them have grown up in homes of affluence,” says Rubin. “They went to Four Seasons, they love the butlers at St. Regis, and they want to stay at the Park Hyatt.”
It’s important to build relationships with this age of travelers from the get-go, the panelists agree. “We reach out to everyone going on a trip, whether it’s the five-year-old or the 80-year-old,” Rubin adds.
By building this relationship early on, you secure future sales when these members of the family grow up and start to book their own travel. In the same vein, it is important to know how to connect with each member of the family in the way that is most comfortable for them. “I try to mirror the client’s preferences,” says Harris. “I have a client who likes to text, so I communicate with him via text.”
Similarly, Pugh says that her agency has every member of the travel party fill out a profile form, which asks how they want to be communicated with. “You get to know not only how they like to travel, but what they like to do in their real life,” she says. It’s about making these personal connections with each family member because not only does that set you apart as a highly in-tune agent who cares, but it also helps to secure clients for the future and generations to come.
On the flip side, agencies like Jet Set that attract a younger clientele are having the opposite results. “The younger generations are traveling luxuriously and parents see what we do for their kids,” says Pugh. “They see the value in what we’re charging.”