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By: Sandy Saburn, CTIE[/caption]
When it comes to cruises, many travel agents find demonstrating their value to be difficult with “more complicated” trips - especially FITs. I want to challenge this belief. Cruising is so much more complicated right now than in times past. Many experts think well into next year it will remain just as complicated as it is right now. That is where travel agents provide incredible value.
It really is all about value. Do you provide value to cruise clients? How do you do that? Do clients understand that? This continues to be a hurdle for many advisors. They just are not sure how to demonstrate their value to cruise clients. Many advisors are stuck in a trap of their own making because they downplay what they do. I cannot tell you how often I hear agents say, “It’s just what I do” as if it is no big deal. It really is a big deal! The online booking sites don’t do that! If the client books direct, they do not get that level of service. Only you do what you do in the way you do it. Be proud of that!
Sadly, there are going to be people who do not “get” your value and honestly do not care how much time and how many headaches you save them. I had dinner with one such man one-night onboard ship. Let us call him Charlie. He lives in a Florida and is a retiree who only cares about the cheapest price. He does not care what line or what ship, or even where the ship is going. He just wants to GO.
This guy is not your client or any other agents’ client, for that matter.
The good news is that for every “Charlie” there are many more prospective clients who do want your assistance. Many of them just do not know how to find you. Some have worked with travel agents in the past with less-than-stellar results. So, they just don’t understand how today’s travel agent works and the value they offer.
These clients know that cruising is more complicated now than it has ever been in the past. Not only because of the many and changing requirements, but also because of the explosion of cruise lines, ships, and itineraries.
I encourage you to think about what you offer cruise clients. Make a list of all the things you do for clients from the very beginning of the relationship through their return home after travel. Use this list to develop the benefits clients gets from working with you. This is gold in your marketing and when you have that oh-so-important first meeting with clients.
If clients understand your value, they are far more likely to work with you - and pay your fee. Write a blog article about this and share it on your website or social media. There are probably some cool takeaways in there you could use as a series for your social media.
Before you can do any of those things, you need to get clear on what you have to offer. Really clear. You owe it to yourself and your business to understand this value and share it loud and proud!