Travel is BACK in a big way! We’ve heard from our advisors that they are busier than ever which is a great problem to have, however, it can be an adjustment going from zero to 60 in the blink of an eye.
It’s important to have a plan for your business to ensure you are making the most of the demand and setting yourself up for future success with repeat bookings and referrals from the clients you are working with now.
Here’s how to ensure your ‘boom’ doesn’t turn into a ‘bust’:
1. Have a clear customer SLA (service level agreement) that gives your clients a clear expectation of what to expect from their interactions with you right from the start.
2. Not sure what to include in your SLA? Many advisors include turnaround times for responses to emails, phone calls and quotes. You can also outline your travel management fees, as well as your consultation and booking process.
3. Start calendar blocking! When you are this busy, the day can get away from you before you know it. Reserve time each day to research quotes, respond to emails, return client phone calls, meet with clients, and deal with those unexpected things that pop up in every travel advisor’s day. Don’t forget to block out time for the most important thing … your lunch!!
4. Create a client information sheet that you can send to your client before their initial consultation appointment. Other than obtaining basic information like name, phone, and email, use it as an opportunity to get more details on the type of vacation they are looking to book. How many passengers? Beach or pool? Any children travelling? Approximate budget? Tentative dates? Any destinations that are an absolute no for them? This type of information provides a good framework so when you have your consultation meeting, you will already have an idea of potential destinations / properties. Use the opportunity to educate your clients on what may have changed since they last travelled (hardly anything right?!)
5. Don’t take on more than you can handle. As tempting as it is to say yes to every inquiry coming across your desk after the past two years, be aware. Taking on too many clients could result in longer response times for your clients, missed deadlines, or clients feeling unimportant. Don’t be afraid to let potential clients know just how busy and in demand you are! “I am happy to look into that for you, but please note with my current workload it would be approximately X days until I can book a consultation appointment with you.”
6. Utilize automated replies on your email or social messaging apps by setting an auto reply for your current response time for inquiries. “Thank you for your email. Please note with current inquiry levels I will respond to within X days”. This way when your client contacts you they will receive an immediate response advising them what your current turnaround time is. This makes them feel acknowledged and give them a timeframe of when to expect a response.
7. Create a referral group with other Independent Advisors you work alongside. If your inquiry level gets too high, have two to three names you can refer clients to. It could be advisors that deal with types of travel outside your expertise or colleagues that you know have a similar SLA to yours. The client will appreciate the honesty and being referred to someone who has the time to give their inquiry the proper level of care and attention.
This is the moment we have been eagerly anticipating and everyone is excited to travel again. Taking a few moments to implement these steps into your business can help to minimize any potential service issues down the road and set the path for prosperity and success!