People love to plan their next trip and look forward to a vacation. Turning the desire to travel into the sale of a travel product takes expert knowledge and the skills of a salesperson. There are a number of techniques that you can use to sell travel.
Prospecting is about proactively going to the customer with a trip he will love, rather than waiting for him to come to you. Prospecting techniques can be used for both existing or past customers, as well as for new customers. You have an advantage when approaching a customer you have dealt with before because you have some market information about him. Look up the trip he booked with you previously to come up with some other trips that fit his profile. Tailor the trip suggestions according to whether this market information suggests he likes hot- or cold-weather holidays, for example, or mountain or beach vacations. New customer prospecting can be used in conjunction with public events. For example, get a stand at a wedding fair and bring along brochures of holidays that are perfect for weddings abroad or luxurious honeymoon getaways.
Use of Knowledge
Your potential clients need to feel that you are a travel expert. Read travel publications and newspapers to keep up with what people are talking about when it comes to travel, and go along to travel industry events. If you learn anything relevant, drop this into the conversation when you are speaking to a customer. It will give her more faith in your company and your expertise. It is also important to know your products inside out. Learn the details of the trips you offer, from whether or not they include airport transfers to what there is to do in the area surrounding the destination. Being confident about your travel products will help you make that sale.
Limit the Choices
Customers are less likely to buy your travel product if they feel overwhelmed by having too many choices. It is therefore really important to tailor your approach. If the customer tells you he wants to go on a trip to the Caribbean, do not suggest vacations to South America or Europe. Give him two or three examples of different types of trips he could take in the Caribbean. He will find it far more manageable to decide from a short list. If he likes some aspects of each option, you will have made some headway, and should be able to think of another vacation in the Caribbean that will give him everything. It is much harder for a customer not to buy if you have honed in on his perfect vacation.
Every salesperson must be able to effectively handle objections, because customers could give you many reasons not to buy. Typical objections a customer has when thinking about buying a vacation is that it is too expensive, that she has heard bad things about the service with a particular hotel or airline, or that the accommodations are not luxurious enough. It is important not to be put off by objections; instead, focus on answering the customer’s concerns. This is where your product and travel knowledge can really help. If a customer believes that the travel product is too expensive, remind her of everything that is included in the price, such as drinks and meals or leisure facilities. Your travel agency should have customer satisfaction data derived from surveys of previous clients -- use this data to answer a customer's objections. If the customer wants a more lavish hotel, show her what a good deal she is getting for the price of the accommodations you have found for her. Alternatively, if she can stretch her budget, give her a quote for another hotel that offers more at a slightly higher price.
- Biz Move: Sales Skills and Techniques – Improving Your Sales Skills
- “Sales and Marketing for the Travel Professional”; Dennis L. Foster; 1991
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images