I’ll bet you’ve had the same dentist for a while. After each visit, do you immediately think: I must look for a new dentist.
Probably not. And if dentists can build loyalty performing a service very few people have at the top of their ‘fun’ list, we should be able to retain our customers as well.
Part of the problem is that clients and travel are like kids in a candy shop. Distracted, excited, hyper, too many colourful, sugary choices. No wonder they get waylaid by the competition!
The goal is to make your client feel like they are your client and never want to stray. How do you build that loyalty?
- Keep up the communication. Don’t make it too aggressive and sales-y. Make it more of a “I thought you’d find this interesting” tone. Chances are your head office has all sorts of marketing materials that you can customize in content.
- You’ve got their birthday on file. Why not send birthday cards? How thoughtful is that!
- Don’t send them stuff they don’t want! Clients who are devoted scuba divers don’t want to know about hiking glaciers in Switzerland. And with the excess of unwelcomed emails these days you might even alienate those divers.
- Keeping with the scuba theme, maybe you see an article on new scuba equipment. Why not send it along to those clients to show you remember that they love to dive? Oh, and that you are their travel agent.
- Sharing your own travels, in newsletters and on Facebook and Instagram is a great way to keep them ‘in the loop’ with your own experiences and expertise.
- They say it costs a lot more to get a new client than retain an existing one (I’ve seen as high as seven times). How about saving a lot of that money by investing a little time in client retention? Now that’s a win-win!
Lynda Sinclair, CTM, is the Senior Vice-President – Leisure at Vision Travel Solutions, which has an ever-expanding and vibrant program for independent agents. With over 30 years in the Canadian retail travel industry, Lynda says she “lives and breathes what goes on at the front line.” She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.