It’s no surprise that the demand for luxury has grown recently.
A combination of unspent vacation dollars and what some call ‘revenge travel’ mean that clients are ready, willing and able to travel more luxuriously.
You can shift your business, slowly but surely, professionally crafting high-end, luxury experiences and grow your luxury clientele. Following are a few of my thoughts on becoming a luxury travel consultant.
First and foremost, you are not a travel agent so stop calling yourself that. You are a travel designer, travel consultant, luxury travel advisor – pick a title that suits you and your business.
While you’re figuring that out, invest in your own professional development. Learn from your peers, read luxury travel publications, and make connections with luxury suppliers – hotels, cruise lines, DMCs, and tour operators.
When you travel, visit luxury properties: there isn’t a GM who doesn’t want to show off their hotel. Immerse yourself in the luxury travel space and be sure to showcase your experiences on your website, blog, in conversation, on social media, etc.
Revamp your discovery call. Even if luxury is personal, remember to never make assumptions about your client’s bank balance, or spend from your own pocket. Ask about their most recent trips: where they went, what they did, what they loved (and hated). It’s OK to ask for their budget but even without asking, you should be able to get an idea of what their personal taste in star ratings is during the call.
With luxury travel comes a whole new level of service. Level up your presentations and provide detail. Make sure your itineraries are beautiful – use a program like Umapped, Travefy, or Axus. Show the added value by doing product comparisons of service levels and offerings. Sometimes the cost may not be that much higher after all the ‘extras’. And don’t glorify things. The more honest you are, the more trust you’ll create with clients and referrals.
And with this new level of service, comes higher fees (‘planning fee’, ‘consultation fee’, ‘design fee’): rename them and increase them! The luxury client is far less likely to balk at this and probably expects it.
If your current clientele doesn’t fall into the luxury category, consider ‘teasing’ them with a special incentive a partner is offering (‘4 nights for 3’) to give them a taste of luxury. For those that won’t (or can’t) budge their budget, consider passing them to a colleague. Remember, it’s ok to let go of clients that don’t fit your business model any longer.
Finally, respect your client’s time. You may be expected to be available, well, always. Yes, this clientele can be more time-consuming, another aspect of this niche to understand and expect. But with one luxury client, you can earn as much revenue as you do with 10 others.