6. Follow Up After They Get Home
Once clients are back at home, it's time to send your follow-up email. Ask how everything went in a way that warmly invites travel stories and photos. After your initial friendly welcome home greeting and questions about how they enjoyed the trip, be sure to ask for feedback.
Ask your client how they enjoyed each element and if there was anything you could do better or got so perfect that you shouldn't change it for their next trip. Here, again, is where you implement that easy-going assumption that you'll be doing better next time because there will be a next time. Of course you want to make sure they are delighted with this trip, and that you understand every detail you could get even closer to perfect for any travel plans in the future.
Offer to talk on a call, video-conference, or meet in person for lunch if your client wants to discuss their travel without typing it all out as well. Many clients would love to tell you how it went, but aren't big email-writers so open that avenue for them with a friendly offer.
7. Invite Clients to Join Your Facebook Group
Clients love to share travel photos and feel like they are part of a community, especially if they are already starting to think of you as their forever agent. If you get positive feedback and engage in a little post-trip conversation, then invite your clients to join an exclusive Facebook group just for clients sharing travel photos and stories of their wonderful experiences. Which, of course, means having a facebook group for clients to join.
Most people love to share travel photos and enjoy feeling like part of a community. And if they join, there is a much higher chance that they plan to travel with you again.
8. Keep in Touch at Least Twice a Quarter
It's important to stay present in your client's life without being intrusive. So connecting about twice a quarter (eight times a year) is about the right pace for a travel agent looking to stay in touch. Unlike an e-commerce brand always looking for that next sale, you know approximately when your clients will travel next and that it (usually) won't be every weekend.
Send friendly, personalized messages. Catch their birthday if you can and friendly holiday greetings even (especially) when you know a client won't be traveling but might enjoy well wishes. These might just catch you a few small jobs like picking the perfect hotel for a small road trip to visit family for Thanksgiving.
9. Send Updates on Deals that Align with Client's Future Travel Plans
In addition to your twice-quarterly messages, keep your eyes open for deals and opportunities relating to your client's future travel plans that you know about. Assume you're already planning these trips and are letting your clients in on the tempting opportunities that are already brewing as their next vacation or travel trip approaches.
This serves three different purposes that can all encourage a client to become a regular for your travel agency:
- You Are Thinking of Them
First, it shows the client that you are thinking of them and are ready to serve in any capacity they might need. Clients can see that you really were listening when they mentioned that they take family trips every summer or a romantic weekend getaway each Valentine's with their special someone. It shows that you care and that you're looking out for them by casually bringing up things they might enjoy doing.
- Getting Excited About the Next Vacation
Second, it gets clients thinking excitedly about their trips to come. Many people blank out on their future travel when work, school, and life pick up the pace. But your brochures, photos, and deals can get clients thinking about that next vacation in a happy and motivated way. They'll start making plans and hopefully talking to you about those plans so you can start putting the trip together as a team.
- Getting In on Early Booking Discounts
Third, it gives your clients the opportunity to save a ton of money by booking as soon as opportunities become available. They will see that not only are you thinking of them, but you're looking out for their bottom line. Something that they wouldn't trust any travel agent to do for them. Let them know, for example, that summer passes to a theme park are available at discounted prices when they go on sale in the spring. Or that they can book a great room in the hotel where their business event will be located if you're clever and book months ahead of time.
10. Always Be Ready to Listen and Personalize Again
Finally, always be ready to work with your client again. This seems like a no-brainer, but really have your phones open and a receptive attitude. If you have succeeded in winning over a client, you are still planning on their time, whatever their crazy modern schedules permit.
Your client may have put off planning for months and be ready to hammer it all out when you've just about given up on hearing from them. Or they might, in the middle of autumn, suddenly be ready to talk about a trip next spring. Have your note-taking gear ready and your active listening ears on. Pull up your portfolio on the deals and notes you've been collecting and be ready to search like the wind to answer questions.
Clients who can be won as repeat customers for many trips in the future need to know that you're there for them on their time, whenever they are ready to plan and as their safety net away from home. And when the time comes, you're ready to wow them again with another superbly personalized travel experience.
Winning repeat business for your independent travel agency isn't guaranteed. Many people will have one special trip to plan and have no need to come back to you. But for those who travel regularly, you have a real chance to win their repeat business again and again by wowing them with your skills and care on the first trip and staying actively in-touch once they make it safely back home.
The key is to come at each new client's travel plans as if it is the first of many. Who knows, you might become the go-to agent for someone who travels for business every month. You might hear from a once-wowed client years after the first trip when they are finally ready to make another big sojourn and remembered how well you took care of them before. Whatever the situation, it's definitely worth the effort to win loyalty with your client on that very first trip.