Advocate For Yourself The A.B.E Way

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[Spoiler Alert]  Most people still don’t know the value of a travel advisor!

Today’s topic: Do your customers Really understand what YOU – a modern day travel advisor – actually does and provides? 

It’s time to fasten your seatbelts. We are ready for lift-off. 

A Story

Not long ago I had the chance to connect with several friends – all working in the travel space. One colleague told this story about a person who called their agency looking for advice. 

The customer was planning an extensive trip to Europe – multiple cities and multiple countries. Lots of tours and excursions. The whole nine yards. 

The problem was – they were getting frustrated with all the time and energy it was taking to pull the travel plans together. 

Of course…

The advisor listened sympathetically and provided recommendations to help the process along. 

Several days later, the advisor called the person back to learn more about the trip and the planning. 

Guess what…

The person thanked him for all the suggestions, then told them they went ahead and booked the trip using many of the recommendations. 

Wait, it gets better. 

When the advisor asked why they had done that – they replied, “Oh I didn’t know you book travel.”

This sounds crazy, right?  They called a travel agency for goodness’ sake.   Even if this is a one -off, things like this happen with much more frequency in the complicated world of booking travel.

BUT makes a great set up for todays topic …

My friends, my travel professional compadres, agents and advisors throughout all North America, please take this to heart. 

Most people still misunderstand what you do 😉 

Let’s pause on that for a minute and have it sink in, cause this has been going on for a long while, no?. 

Most people DO NOT KNOW what you do. 

Not only that. 

They don’t know: 

  • They assume added costs and don’t understand how you get paid… that being mostly by the suppliers.
  • Or what services beyond destination and accommodation recommendations you provide to save them time, money and a better experience.   Whether recommendations, upgrades, insurances, etc etc. 

The hard part for advisors is getting that first booking experience with a new client, after that ‘the lights go on’ and people get it. 

So, the sooner you can get ahead of this fact – the sooner you will accelerate your business. 

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Here are some things to think about going forward. 

A.B.E.

A.B.E stands for Always Be Educating.  

Sound somewhat familiar.?  Now, whereas the Glengarry Glen Ross selling demanded Always Be Closing… this is the more consultative marketing angle which for travel advisors particularly should yield good fruit… just from heightened awareness alone.

Assume the prospect interacting with you or your marketing has little idea of what you fully offer or the true value you provide.   

Your job is to help educate them about all that you do. And the things you don’t do. 

Here are some things to consider. 

  1. Your website: It’s the most important sales and marketing channel you have. So,when people hit your site – what’s your message? Is it easy to understand? I mean really easy to understand. Remember you have about three seconds to communicate that message. Don’t go for cute or funny…just the facts!

  2. FAQs – Collect a list of common questions and provide your answers. Make this section easy to get to. Don’t bury it on your site. 

  3. Create content that educates: Use your FAQs to create content for your emails, newsletters, blogs, and social channels, wherever you are connecting with customers and prospects.

  4. Ask past customers: If you want to know the questions to answer ask past customers. Find out what they knew or didn’t know about working with a travel advisor. Did they have some ideas that were right or wrong? Capture all their answers that can turn into fire content for you. 

  5. Use social proof to tell your story: Capture the feedback from your customers (see above) and use this feedback in all of your marketing. Web, social, email, etc…

Also, use articles like this one from Outside magazine. This piece is loaded with great quotes and information about agents. Use it and get it in the hands of your prospects AND customers!

That’s a wrap. Remember A.B.E and you are going to be alright!

Thanks for the read, and if you liked this, please share before moving on!

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