The travel industry continues to add to amenities and personal customer service to appeal to their luxury customers. Travel agents who sell to this market know that “high-touch” makes for the happiest of clients and often the highest commissions.
Luxury travelers, defined as affluent (annual household income of at least $125,000), believe that it’s worth paying more for the very best quality for both vacation accommodations and transportation, according to MMGY Global's Portrait of American Travelers 2017. Although they only represent 11 percent of American travelers, these 6.7 million traveling households took 40 million vacations and spent $70.4 billion on leisure travel during the past 12 months, says the study. These travelers are clearly "high touch" with 77 percent who are willing to pay the full price on a vacation, as long as they're guaranteed the quality and service they feel they deserve, and 75 percent who enjoy being treated like a VIP, according to MMGY Global's Portrait of American Travelers 2017.
When you sell to luxury travelers, let them know about the individual high touch amenities for each product to not only demonstrate the level of service they should expect during their trip but also to help lock in the sale. Excite them with these examples of high-touch service.
Customer-Focused Car Rental
Service for All Types at Hotels
Guests’ four-legged friends are the latest hotel occupants to benefit from the high-touch trend. Kimpton Hotels & Resorts extends their personalized welcomes to guests’ pets, offering goodies such as pet-bed loaners, food, water bowls and mats and even Directors of Pet Relations at select properties. Pets are also invited to join the nightly guests’ wine reception.
For some clients’ high-touch requirements might mean exactly the opposite in terms of alone time needed. The Ritz-Carlton South Beach in Miami’s new spa features Relaxation Pods, private “cocoon-like” spaces “offering solitude, relaxation and quiet contemplation,” and the Timeless Capsule, an elliptical room designed for guests “to extend or condense their spa experience with minimum human interaction.”
Excited About Experiences
Luxury travelers often seek high-touch customized experiences such as cooking lessons with the hotel chef including a tour of the property’s own vegetable garden, or an insider’s or an exclusive tour of a city’s well-known attraction offered only to VIPs. Hotel concierges and local tour operators can help agents gain access to these specialized experiences for their clients. Some hotels may even have dedicated apps that you and your clients can download to help create memorable moments while traveling. The Conrad Concierge available in the Hilton Honors App allows guests to look through a list of curated experiences that allow them to take in one-, three- or five-hours of local favorites focused on culture, art, food or adventure.
Clients will remember your own high-touch service for suggesting any of the above travel options the next time they need to book a vacation.