Top Tips for Running Your Luxury Travel Agency

Luxury Travel
Photo by anyaberkut/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images
Ruthanne Terrero
Ruthanne Terrero
Vice President–Content/Editorial Director

I recently reviewed some profiles I’ve written on luxury travel advisors and came up with a list of expert tips they shared for running their very successful businesses.

  1. Don’t grow your company for the sake of growing it. If you can deliver luxury service profitably with the correct group of agents who really know their stuff, do it.
     
  2. Don’t create a formula for luxury; it doesn’t exist. Bespoke means customized, not mass produced.
     
  3. Analyze your client and then analyze them again. Don’t take the easy way out by booking exactly what they’ve asked for. They might not be sure of what they want.
     
  4. Don’t skirt around the money issue. Be clear on how much your client can spend before you start reserving hotel rooms and flights; it will save you all a lot of time and embarrassment.
     
  5. At the same time, don’t introduce the question of budget immediately. Find out what your client’s aspirations are for this trip and then craft a fabulous itinerary around the feedback. You can always whittle down some of the extras to suit your customer’s wallet. You may often find they’re willing to spend more if you’re able to get them to buy into your vision for the experiences you’re presenting.
     
  6. If you trust your staff, then trust your staff. Don’t call and e-mail them every five minutes while you’re on the road to be sure they’re doing their work. If you have to do that, there may be bigger problems.
     
  7. Use supplier websites as a tool. Let your client peruse all of the hotel options you’ve selected for them in the comfort of their home, not in front of your computer. When they’ve narrowed down their choices, it’s time for you to step in to do your magic.
     
  8. If your client goes ahead and books direct, he or she was never really your client to begin with.
     
  9. Know the general managers and concierges at the top hotels. This will enhance your clients’ experience by at least 100 percent.
     
  10. After you’ve visited many hotels, analyze what you’ve seen so you’ll be able to describe whom that property is for in two sentences. Write down room numbers. Keep good records so you’re a walking encyclopedia of knowledge.

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