Tuesday Tip: How Travel Agents Can Engage With Hesitant Clients

Travel Agent
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Travel agents who are trying to add to their customer base might face frustration when they’re trying to obtain new clients.

We’ve all been through it. You have an amazing discussion with someone interested in taking a vacation. It seems as if they’re ready to seal the deal with a down payment. But when you follow up with them, they disappear completely, ignoring your polite follow-up emails.

Ruthanne Tererro
Ruthanne Terrero, CTC Vice president–Content/editorial director

Since stalking them isn’t an option, you let it go. But then it starts to grate on you. How could they not get back to you? Is that not rude?

Don’t let it get you down. This unfortunately is the nature of sales and if you do come on too strong in trying to reconnect with potential clients, you’ll scare them away forever.

Here are some tips for engaging with future clients and with those you’ve already booked.

  1. If you’re in the beginning phase of communicating with a new customer by email, keep things simple. If they seem set on going to a specific place, don’t barrage them with five other choices they haven’t considered just because you can. If a client gets confused early on with too many options, they may start asking friends and family what they should do and go quiet on you when they get overwhelmed with opinions. If they’ve arrived at a buying decision on their own that makes perfect sense for them, keep them focused, guide them on enhancing their purchase with your expertise and make the sale.
  2. If you’re not at that point, say you’re still in the initial conversation phase and you want to follow up with them after they’ve gone silent, be artful with your messaging. “Hey, I haven’t heard from you,” could hit them the wrong way, but if you instead write that you’ve been thinking of them and just came across a price break for the trip you discussed, that’s gold. Who doesn’t want to get an email or phone call that let’s them know their vacation is going to cost less? If the conversation begins again, consider upselling them by telling how they can upgrade their vacation using the money they saved from the price break.
  3. Along those lines, you can also research the add-on amenities you can provide them through your agency network relationships. Use your discoveries as an excuse to get in touch.
  4. Whatever you do, keep your messaging short and simple. People do get busy with work and family and trip planning does fall through the cracks. They want to know that their communications with you will be efficient and valuable, time well spent. They may shy away if they sense working with you is just going to complicate their already chaotic lives.
  5. Are you about to hit the road to discover a new destination? If you’re going to be out of your office, that’s an ideal reason to email or phone your client who’s been on the fence about getting back to you. Tell them you’ll still have access to email when you’re gone but that if they want you to start building their itinerary that this week would be a really great time to do that. I’m sure you can think of even more subtle ways to tell them to get the ball rolling. Creating a low-pressure sense of urgency gives them a soft deadline and might just give them that push they need. Besides, you know that if you do travel, that errant client who wandered away two months ago is going to wake up and request your assistance just when you’re putting your feet up on your balcony overlooking Lake Como, that’s just the nature of how things work.

Keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com every Tuesday for our top tips on running your travel agency.