Setting Yourself Apart from the Online Booking Engines

Sometimes, the simplest things make the biggest difference. Several years ago, a client of mine did my travel business a huge favor when she had the courage to give me a suggestion on how I could improve my service.

As a first time traveler to Africa, she had the normal anxiety many people get when the big trip draws near.  Of course we gave her a huge stack of travel documents to prepare her for her trip.  But she confessed that there was so much information, she was overwhelmed and never read it.  The beautiful packet of material just sat on a table for weeks until the day before she departed…and then she finally looked through it.  She felt, what would have been better for her, was to receive this information in smaller doses, over time.

She had something there.  Deep down, I felt this was a million dollar idea, so I took it and ran with it. Together, with my business partner, we dissected the information in our travel documents (of which we were very proud), and diced it up into bite size chunks – i.e., 1 pagers.  We ended up with 8, 1-pagers, that each answered 1 of the 8 most common questions travelers have when traveling to Africa.

For example, there was one that answered the question about what immunizations are required and how to protect against malaria.  There was another with packing guidelines and suggestions.  Still another about tipping.  Once we had 8, 1-pagers answering the most common questions, we set up an email schedule for each booked client that began 8 weeks before their travel.  As such, each client would receive a friendly, short, (read, not overwhelming) email every week from our team, beginning 2 months before travel.

This is a system that stuck! The reason why is that it’s a win/win.  The client feels cared for, that their concerns have been considered, and my people felt we properly prepared the client for travel.

Here is what I love about this strategy:

1.  We didn’t reinvent the wheel!
We created the 1-pagers from material we were already sending to them.  They just received it in a few different forms.

2.  We set it up on a system, so that the moment the client booked, the emails got set up in an auto-responder service, like iContact.
Thus, not a lot of extra work involved.

3.  The clients loved it.
It made them feel like we were holding their hand the entire way.  It reinforced a trust that we didn’t just care about the booking.  Our level of service continued even after we got the business.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT:

Ask yourself, where can you establish systems that over deliver on service?  Take the cue from this example that we didn’t create new information.  We simply used existing materials and changed their shape and delivery method.  Perhaps you have standard travel documents you send your clients and could do something similar.  Find 1 way you can set up a system that helps you over deliver your service, makes your client feel cherished and helps you get more referrals.