It's been a great few days at The Travel Agent Next Door’s national meeting and Palace Resorts FAM, a mix of informational sessions and product-related activities designed to provide TTAND's network of home-based agents with a sense of community among their peers.
So, on my final day with the group, and with the afternoon's activities postponed due to rain, I sat down in the Moon Palace Nizuc lobby with a couple of TTAND’s agents for a rousing game of travel agent ‘Would You Rather’ (WYR).
WYR... have a client who has already planned their own itinerary, or a client who has no clue what they want?
“I’m a FIT queen. I’d have a field day with planning the whole thing out, and I’d put a lot of passion into it.”
“I would probably take the itinerary that’s been planned, but I’d make sure they know why they’ve chosen their destination, and that what they’ve planned is truly what they want.”
“I like a client that knows what they want. You’ve got a chance to make $1,600 commission for five minutes of work, as opposed to spending four days researching a trip for a client only to make $6 commission. Who wouldn’t want a client who knows what they want?”
WYR... book a group cruise for 50 people, or a Europe coach tour of the same number?
“Coach tour, because there’s less components. With coach tours, you’re making really good money, and most times, your clients have already done the research on the type of tour, so they already know what they want.”
“I want to book the cruise, because I can add to it. I can find out what their needs are, what they enjoy, and customize it for them.”
“I would do the coach tour, because it’s much simpler, and financially, it’s worth it more for me. There’s less NCF, and you have more opportunities to upsell. Although, I suppose you could do that on a cruise too...”
WYR... plan an ultra high-end luxury elopement, or customize a big group wedding, but with a minimal budget?
“I really love big weddings, so I go with the group. Even with the budget, if you know how to market yourself properly, and present the destination properly, you can end up making more than you thought.”
“I want both! But if I have to choose, I’ll go with the elopement, because I’ll make more money on an hourly basis with the luxury product.”
“Group, because there’s a return. With an elopement, you’re only working with one couple. With a group wedding, you’re showing maybe a hundred people what you can do, and you could see a return there.”
WYR... have a needy client that’s always micromanaging you, or a client who rarely answers the phone, but is more easygoing when you do speak?
“I’m in that exact situation right now. I’ve got a regular whom I can’t get ahold of, and I’ve had two group holds already expire. It feels like I’m busting my butt for nothing. I also have a referral client who is always on my case. I’d rather have her though, because my payments are always on time, the information she sends is accurate, and I know that once I’ve fulfilled her needs, she’ll tell her friends that she couldn’t break me, which means more business for me.”
“I’ll take the client who’s difficult to reach. Having a client who is calling you all the time feels like you’re being pecked to death by a duck.”
“Micromanager. If you really have the passion for what you do, you’ll be able to fill any need.”
WYR... attend a FAM with all classroom sessions but few site inspections, or a FAM where you’re getting lots of product exposure, but without any development workshops?
“I want workshops. I love to learn.” (This was unanimous.)
WYR... have the same family of four booking a mid-level product every year, or a client who wants a high-end booking, but is not likely to book with you again?
“I had a client that flew to the Dominican every single year for 33 years. Each time he came in, I’d say ‘I’d really like to try to send you somewhere else,’ but he would refuse and kept going to the same place until the day he died. I don’t mind a one-off booking if it’s going to be interesting.”
“I’ll take the one-time client, because even if I never saw them again, I think I’d have more fun with the booking, and I believe that making work enjoyable is what keeps you going.”
“I would take the family who returns to the same place every year, because obviously they love that trip, they look forward to it, and I love making people happy.”
WYR... work with a regular client who is never quite satisfied, or a customer who books with you sporadically, but loves everything that you do for them?
“I don’t work with princesses. If they’re going to complain about my work and have me fixing problems after the trip is already over, that means I’m working for free - which I don’t do.”
“If they’re coming back, that means you’re doing something right. So I’ll take the complainer.”
“I have enough clients, so I’ll take the sporadic client over a complainer, because I don’t really care if he comes back or not.”
“I’d take the regular, because even though they say they’re unhappy, they’re coming back, which means business. You can’t take it personally.”
WYR... plan a backpacking trip for a 20-something with no travel experience, or the same trip for a retiree who have done all-inclusive travel, but never FIT?
“I’d rather have the retiree. I’m a mother, and I get nervous with young kids who want to book something. If they don’t know what they’re doing, and they’re naive, I feel it’s my responsibility if something happens to them. If I’ve got seasoned travellers who want to experience something more outside the box, more power to them; it’s a fun challenge for me without worrying about where my clients are and if they’re OK.”
“20-somethings. If I plan it for them, those kids are going to have the time of their life and they’re going to come back to me for the next 20 years, and they’ll tell their friends and family.”
“I’d take the inexperienced kids. I want to be the person who gets to motivate and guide them during their very first adventure.”
Do you agree with the answers above? Share your opinions in the comments section below, on our Facebook page, or by e-mailing email@example.com.