Written By: Michelle Fee, CEO & Founder – Cruise Planners
Travel has changed, whether we want to accept it or not. In the same way we saw security protocols increase after 9/11, we have seen similar lasting shifts in health and safety rules post-COVID.
But just because how we travel has changed, doesn’t mean people’s appetite for travel has diminished. We know there continues to be a huge demand for travel, and when it is safe to do so, people are going to explore the world in large numbers.
As a travel advisor, what can you do now to prepare for next year, and how can you capitalize on the surge in travel that is to come?
We outline four strategies that will be key to your success.
Trust is key in any business, and it is particularly important in the new travel landscape. Travelers want to trust the destinations they are going to are safe, that you will protect their travel investment and that you have their wellbeing and overall safety at the forefront of your mind.
What is your trust element in the marketplace?
While trust can be built over time, now more than ever, it is important to clearly communicate and demonstrate why clients should trust you. At Cruise Planners, our affiliation with American Express Travel gives our advisors instant trust and credibility. The American Express name is synonymous with integrity, professionalism and excellent service.
The iconic blue box logo appears on all our marketing and acts as a seal of approval, giving our advisors an instant leg up.
In a continually changing travel landscape, trust is everything, and travelers want to work with strong, reputable, well-established brands they know they can count on. Be sure you are communicating your trust element. Reviews and testimonials from clients and showcasing any certifications you have are good ways to demonstrate trust.
Stay in Touch
Even if people aren’t traveling today doesn’t mean they aren’t buying travel in the future. It is important to continually engage your clients, so you are ready to close a sale when the time is right.
How are you reaching the right clients more efficiently?
At Cruise Planners, one of the ways we help our advisors stay connected to their clients is with our Where2Next Travel Series. We partner with several major travel suppliers to provide completely turnkey virtual events featuring destinations around the world.
Our proprietary software scours a travel advisor’s database, generates a list of the best clients to invite and automatically sends an email invitation for the virtual event. A reminder email sequence and post event follow-up series are also sent automatically on behalf of the agent. Everything is completely turnkey—you don’t have to lift a finger.
Even if you don’t have sophisticated marketing systems in place, you should still be communicating with your clients in personalized and creative ways. Talk to your BDMs about hosting virtual travel nights and utilize the information you know about your clients to target relevant offers.
Every client’s comfort level is different, especially if traveling for the first time in nearly a year. It is important to have a variety of offers available so you can match a trip with your client’s needs and desires.
Are you a top-selling land and cruise expert?
Despite the name, Cruise Planners agents sell more than just cruises. In fact, we are the number one seller of Sandals Resorts vacations in the world. Our All-Inclusive Resort System allows agents to easily search and compare hundreds of resort options in one place, so they can quickly find the perfect option for their client without having to bounce to multiple sites. This helps agents save time and drive sales.
It is more important now than ever to diversify your offerings. If most of your business was cruise sales, it is a good time to start learning more about land offerings. Take advantage of supplier training courses and make sure you have options ready that match your clients’ comfort level, not just your own.
Capitalize on Low-Hanging Fruit
It’s an old cliché: work smarter not harder—but it still holds true. At the onset of the pandemic, thousands of travelers were forced to postpone upcoming trips and were issued future travel credits. Clients with FTCs are your golden ticket!
Before you look to generate new business, focus on rebooking any clients still holding FTCs. They have already made a purchase and are likely eager to rebook the trip they weren’t able to take.
How are you effectively managing FTCs to drive sales?
At Cruise Planners, we have created a custom tool to help our advisors keep track of their clients’ FTCs and integrated it into our proprietary CRM. This allows us to help our advisors target people with a high intent to purchase, market to them with relevant offers and generate a sale when the time is right.
Even if you don’t have an automated system, it is important to track clients with FTCs in some way (adding notes in your CRM system, creating an Excel spreadsheet or even using pen and paper), so you can effectively market to them and convert them into sales.
Are You Prepared for the Future?
As you look to the future, does your host offer the tools and support you need to capitalize on the growing demand for travel and adapt to a changing landscape?
Cruise Planners provides the strength, systems and success model of a franchise and may be the MOST affordable option for you and your business. It’s no surprise that more experienced advisors are joining the Cruise Planners family. To learn more, visit www.cruiseplannersfranchise.com.