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When Clients Want the World for a Tiny Budget

When Clients Want the World for a Tiny Budget

Do your clients have unrealistic expectations?

“We want nonstop flights both ways, MUST arrive before dark… a unique, upscale hotel within walking distance to all of the popular landmarks… a private guided tour of Buckingham and tea with the queen… and if you could keep the budget minimal that would be great.”

What do your clients think you are? A magician? Okay, you do kind of have some magic powers when it comes to booking travel. But seriously, sometimes you get some pretty laughable requests. If you find yourself frequently having to navigate unrealistic requests from your customers, it may be time to take a look at a fresh marketing strategy or quoting process.

Here are a few ways to prevent unrealistic expectations before they are built.

1. Be up front and transparent

If we’re being honest, many unrealistic expectations originate with the marketing. If you make promises you can’t deliver during the marketing process, you may generate a ton of new leads, but ultimately waste valuable time. Generating new leads that go nowhere is a mistake you can’t afford to make. In fact, it costs five times as much to gain a new client as it does to keep an existing one. Build a foundation of trust by setting realistic expectations from the start. This will not only leave you room to surprise and delight your travelers later but will keep them happily returning to you year after year.

2. Communicate your value

Yes, travel agents can and do save their clients money! But if this is your only angle in your marketing strategy, you will wind up struggling to make a case for your value as a travel expert and advocate. Your expertise in travel is already obvious to your current clients, but how do you express your value to new or hesitant clients?

  • Direct the conversation

Travel agents have made a huge comeback in the past decade. But the concept of a travel agent in the age of digital bookings remains somewhat shrouded with mystery. Don’t be caught off guard by questions like, “Why should I use you?” or “How do you make money?” Instead of seeing skeptical questions as a threat, see them as an opportunity to bust common myths about travel agents. Know your talking points well enough to recite them in your sleep.

  • Use testimonials

Find a way to incorporate testimonials from happy clients into your marketing. These can be short compliments or quick stories about your service. Make sure to ask your clients for permission to use their words before putting them up on your website or social media.

  • Be confident

It is one of the most important traits in sales, but too often agents downplay their value because they don’t want to come across as arrogant or pushy. There’s a huge difference between confidence and arrogance. A confident salesperson comes across as professional and reliable. An arrogant salesperson comes across as condescending and rude. The difference is in whether you truly believe in your products and service versus trying to sell someone on a scam. If what you offer is amazing, don’t be afraid to show some well-earned pride!

3. Target the right market

Does it sometimes feel like your new clients disappear as soon as they get your quote? This is frustrating, to say the least. While there are many factors at play, it could be that you are simply targeting the wrong kind of client. Are your marketing efforts reaching budget travelers when what you offer is luxury? Do you specialize in solo adventure trips, but find yourself overloaded with inquiries for family vacations? This is why it’s important to find a niche and streamline your efforts towards reaching it. Who is your target client? What is their budget? Which social platforms do they use? What kind of advertising strikes a chord?

Honesty, confidence, and focus

The reality of the sales world is that you will always have some clients who approach you with unrealistic expectations. That’s just the nature of an industry focused on people. But any steps you can take to address these before they happen will help eliminate frustration and confusion on both sides. Keeping your communication process honest, confident, and focused will help build a foundation of trust that will keep your clients loyal to your company!

If you’re looking to narrow down your niche, check out our article How to Choose the Perfect Travel Niche for some brainstorming ideas and top markets to consider!

Shawna Levet

Shawna is passionate about helping travel agents grow their business and expand their knowledge as travel experts. She has been in the travel industry since 2011, helping agents and travelers alike find the best negotiated airfare and travel coverage to meet their needs.

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