How many times have you heard the expression, “the fortune is in the follow up?” But yet, so few of us actually take full action on this philosophy and instead fail at the follow up game. Today, I break down the follow up game for your travel services in the hopes that you set up systems to ensure you follow up correctly and stop leaving lots of $$$ on the table.
What kind of money are you leaving on the table? First, you are leaving good bookings on the table because you didn’t follow up enough with inquiries. Second, you are leaving lucrative repeat business on the table because you didn’t keep in touch with your clients. Third, you are leaving great referrals on the table because you didn’t impress your clients enough to remember to refer you. That’s a fortune right there.
When it comes to following up for a travel consultant, there are 3 main times to follow up:
- After an inquiry;
- After a booking (deposit taken);
- After travel
Here I will detail how you can follow up during each phase of your services.
1. After an inquiry
It may seem very obvious, but you must follow up with your clients after they inquire. Its perfectly natural to get back to a prospect as soon as they inquire. But how about once you send them some quotes? Create a system for yourself to inquire after they receive your quote. I recommend you communicate via phone and email. You don’t have to feel like a pest. Come from the place of doing your client a service/favor. If you have to, make up a white lie that you are holding space and your hold expires the next day.
2. After a booking
Many travel agents erroneously feel their job is done once the deposit is taken and booking is made. A true travel consultant is just getting started at this point. Follow up with your client to manage their expectations for their travel, assist them in being fully prepared, make arrangements for additional items to their itinerary and get special treatments and upgrades if you can. To see an example of a great follow up system I used, once the deposit was taken, CLICK HERE to read another blog article.
3. After Travel
This one is key to over-delivering and surprising your clients and getting great referrals. You MUST keep in touch with your clients consistently once they have traveled. Even if it’s 2 years before they travel again, you must keep in touch with them because you never know who they may refer you to. Here are some tips for following up after travel:
- After travel can mean from the day after they depart for vacation. Create a system for yourself to call your client on the first day of their vacation as a “check in” and make sure everything is OK. You can also arrange to have something special in their room upon arrival.
- Follow up with your clients within a week after they return. This could include a welcome home gift or just a phone call. I know an agent that organizes the airport transfer home and takes it one step further by ordering a pizza to be delivered just after they get home. As a mother of 3 kids, I know it would be love at first sight if a pizza was magically delivered to my house after traveling all day. So imagine how your clients would feel about you!
- Create a 12-month “stay-in-touch” campaign for your most lucrative clients to make sure you stay on their radar screen. Don’t rely on the marketing systems provided by your consortia. These are supplier based and do nothing to convey your value. The process can be so simple with the incredible tools we have, but so few people do it. Here’s a process I recommend: Look through your client files and extract the clients that were most profitable and were good to work with. Put them on a list. Use a service like Send Out Cards and import their contact details into the program. Create 12 “touches” for each month of the year. It could be a card, postcard, box of chocolates, or a book. Vary it each month. Schedule it within your program and set it to go. The process can take you less than 2 hours and you will have taken care of a very important part of your marketing.
Assess your follow up procedures. Be honest with yourself and give yourself a grade. In the areas where you fall short, spend some time to implement your own systems to get your follow up systems up to par.