When I started living in Australia, I’ve made a career move and went from teaching at a primary school to working as a hostel receptionist and travel agent at a small backpackers hostel in Sydney.
Informing guests about their travel options is one of the aspects I love most about my job, to help people experience a holiday they will love.
In this blog series, I’ll share some of my top tips and useful travel agents skills to give you better knowledge and more fun working in the travel industry, strategies to boost up your travel sales and getting more satisfied customers and useful guides and other tools to help you get the best out of yourself as a travel agent.
This week, I’ll be writing about why it is important to get to know the customer for a better chance of selling a travel product. The more you can find out about the wishes of the people in front of you, the easier it will be to find a product that they will be satisfied about.
Take your time getting to know the customer!
Selling a travel product that fits the customer
If you don’t know who the person or (group of) people in front of you exactly are, it will be really hard to find a product they’re absolutely going to love. You want to start chatting to them and find out as much as possible:
- What type of traveller are they? (Are they solo travellers looking to meet people, are they a couple looking for privacy, are they a group looking to hang out together, etc.)
- What type of transport do they have in mind? (Group tour, tour with an experienced guide, buying or renting a car, hop-on-hop-off-bus, etc.)
- What type of experience are they after? (Are they lovers of nature, adventure sports, beaches, bars & parties, looking to learn something, cultural interests, etc.)
- What budget do they have?
- Do they have any discount/travellers/student/teacher cards?
- How much time do they have? (This will determine whether you’re looking for day trips, combinations of activities, complete tours or train/bus passes.)
- What is their level of fitness? (Don’t let age fool you, I’ve had a 70-years old Scottish man looking for the best place to do a skydive)
Try to ask as many open questions as possible. These are questions that cannot simply be answered by a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. Let as much come from the customer self as possible. Don’t put words in their mouths. Ask them to tell about a previous holiday experience they enjoyed, instead of asking them if they like beach holidays.
Ask the customer what type of experience they are after
Take your time to get quicker results selling travel products
As you can see, there is a lot to be gained when you spend a little time chatting to your customers and getting to know them a little better. It’s no problem to write some of their wishes down on paper, especially if you promise them to look some things up for them and contact them later with some ideas.
Once you know your customer, it’s time to start giving them some ideas of what they can do with their plans, money and time and to start planning their trip and sell them a travel product. I will cover that part of closing the deal another week on The Travel Tester and I will also talk a bit more about selling travel to couples and groups, so make sure to check back here!
Feel free to ask me any questions about selling travel, I will try to answer them if I can and maybe use your question to write an entire post about. Let’s help other travel agents develop their skills as well. Thank you for your feedback!
Travel Agents: How do you approach your customers the first time? And customers: How would you like to be approached, any experiences with great travel agents?
This post is also available in: Dutch