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From the horse’s mouth: TTAND agents explain what Z.I.P. means to them

Thursday, August 22, 2019
From the horse’s mouth: TTAND agents explain what Z.I.P. means to them

L-R: Stacey Knight, Getaway with Compass, Calgary, AB; Travis Stewart, Stewart Travel Group, Stratford, PEI; and Cynthia Davidson, Beaches and Beyond (powered by TTAND), Burlington, ON

The Travel Agent Next Door is launching a zero interest financing program – in partnership with Flexiti – that allows clients to finance their vacations. Consumers pay a set financing fee that is much lower than the interest rate on credit cards – and on other financing plans.

We asked top selling agents with The Travel Agent Next Door what the program represents to them and how they feel about it. Here are the responses from three agents: Travis Stewart, Stewart Travel Group, Stratford, PEI; Cynthia Davidson, Beaches and Beyond (powered by TTAND), Burlington, ON; and Stacey Knight, Getaway with Compass, Calgary, AB.

What was your reaction when you first heard that TTAND was introducing a deferred payment program?

TRAVIS: I actually had a flashback to a time when Sears had the program and the struggles we had to compete with it and thought – wow, now we are on the other side.

CYNTHIA: To be completely honest, at first I was not sure this would be of much benefit! But, the more I thought about it, the more I started to realize that I do have some clients that would be super excited to take advantage of this program. I do feel it will help close more sales.

STACEY: I was excited to hear that we would be offering this to our clients. I have used this type of program with Home Depot. It’s another great option for our clients to use rather than a credit card that might have a high interest rate.

How can you use this as a sales tool with your clients?

TRAVIS: We are going to meet as a team and put a consistent message out through all our mediums on the amazing benefits of this program. We’ll show all the advantages and options that our clients will have and make the purchase of travel easier.

CYNTHIA: I will definitely offer this as a closing tactic, especially to those who feel the trip may be a little too expensive or really want that upgrade but just a little worried about spending the ‘extra’ for it. I now have a solution that will allow them to afford it – pay for it slowly, over time and without any interest

STACEY: Just start the conversation. Did you know we can also offer you a zero interest program? We will be including it in our signature lines on email. I will be offering it as an option to all of our clients

Is this something your clients have been asking for?

TRAVIS: Frequently clients have asked to make multiple payments on files which makes it more work for the agents. This should give a wonderful option for them.

CYNTHIA: Yes, on occasion I have been asked to provide some type of payment plan.

Why wouldn’t clients just use a credit card?

TRAVIS: Personally I have used programs like this, for i.e. purchasing a couch, and I think it makes the purchasing decision much easier.

CYNTHIA: As we all know, in order to avoid credit card interest, credit cards need to paid in full each month. Payments with the Z.I.P. program are super easy, the client won’t have to remember to ‘pay’ anything as it will be automatically debited from their bank account. It also creates an added level of protection – the client will not have to give their credit card details – and for the agent, there’s no chance of a fraudulent credit card.

STACEY: Because our program offers them a zero interest option.

What is your reaction to the program charging a flat fee rather than charging interest?

TRAVIS: Perfect. Clients know exactly the cost they will be charged – and it is minimal compared to the amount they are financing.

CYNTHIA: I think it’s amazing. I’ve done the math and the flat fee works out to be much less expensive than the programs out there that charge interest, even if the client qualifies for a low rate. The client knows the fee with the Z.I.P. program whereas on other financing plans, they will not know what rate of interest they will pay until after the application is approved.

STACEY: There is always a fee or interest charged on these types of programs.

Any other thoughts?
TRAVIS: I believe that this will be a ‘game changer’ for our agency that we will aggressively promote through our network and expect it will put us at a whole new level.

CYNTHIA: The responsibility of the agent regarding the monthly payments is negligible. All of this is handled through the company providing the credit. It’s a quick process – the agent sends the client a link for the application. The approval process will take just minutes and, once approved, the agent is then provided with a virtual credit card that can be used right away – it gets the booking done fast just like using a regular credit card. STACEY: Can’t wait for this to start! Let’s Z.I.P. away!

Jill Wykes

Jill Wykes is a travel industry veteran who has held a series of senior management portfolios in travel corporations. A former chairman of the Travel Industry Council of Ontario, she is now an independent communications consultant and writer since retiring in 2011.
Jill Wykes
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