Despite the rise of popular travel apps, travel agencies in southern Africa have experienced a growth boom during the last few years. We talked to travel agents to find why our industry seems to be moving forward at such a tremendous pace and how you can become a part of that growth by creating a uniquely tailored experience for your clients.
People no longer tend to use agents for short trips they can organise themselves through online booking and apps, but they are willing to use them for their unique knowledge to create a personalised holiday experience. This, however, is no small task. Based on our talks with regional travel agents, we’ve compiled the five most important elements travel agents should bring to the table to ensure an unforgettable experience for their clients:
Let your expertise contribute to the authenticity of the experience
Give your client an authentic and unique experience they would never have been able to plan on the internet. Make sure that the locations and activities you already use stay fresh. In the end it’s about your eye for detail and your ability to keep your finger on the pulse of a destination that’ll make the difference.
Make them feel connected and important
Try organising VIP access to an event or restaurant, or behind-the-scenes access. If they are passionate about a certain musician who happens to be performing in close proximity to where they are planning their holiday, try to surprise them with backstage passes. By making them feel important you can change their holiday from being memorable (already thanks to you) to being the best holiday they have ever been on.
Use your EQ
You need to understand your customer and his/her wants, likes and dislikes. Make sure you get to know them as well as possible. Whether this means having a lengthy meeting or compiling a questionnaire for them to fill out, you need to make sure that you get enough “nearly relevant” information to surprise them. If they happen to play an instrument that gets made in a factory close to where their planned holiday destination is, organise a tour of the factory. If they like cooking and experimenting with recipes, organise an expert in local cuisine to come cook with them where they are staying. In the end you need to be able to read your customer and find happy surprises which can make their trips special.
Ensure an effortless experience by anticipating what could go wrong
You want your client to have a stress-free experience above all else. Just go that extra mile and be prepared for anything that can go wrong, especially when they are in transit. By monitoring the flight details of your client, you might be able to anticipate a flight delay and find an alternative. Additionally, have your clients download CheckMyTrip onto their smart devices, so they can retrieve and manage trip details in one place at any time, including their flight status, directions, weather, and currency exchange rates.
You need to be flexible from the very first moment you meet your client until the day they land back in their home city. However, your ability to seamlessly improvise while they are already on their holiday will enhance their experience as well as make it clear that you are personally involved in the creation and management of their happy experience.
The travel industry is constantly changing, but it’s now possible to tailor a truly exciting experience by simply personalising your approach to your client’s needs. This is what will have them come back time and time again, relying on you to deliver an irreplaceable, personal experience.
Did we miss any elements that you think would help create a more personalised travel experience? Let us know!