“When a client asks me how long I’ve been planning travel and about their destination of interest, it shows they want to be informed travelers. They aren’t looking for just price, but also for value,” says travel advisor Adrienne Sasson.
That first conversation between a travel advisor and a customer sets the mood, builds rapport, and establishes a foundation for a lifetime relationship. So, don’t be shy. Speak up and ask what’s on your mind — and answer honestly when your travel advisor asks about your travel dreams.
Here are a few questions to get the conversation started.
For the traveler to ask:
How does a travel agent work? What can you tell me about the process you use, and the value you bring?
What will the process of booking with you look like?
How many years have you been in business?
Have you visited the parts of the world and the resorts I am looking at?
How is your service different from that of other agents?
Do you have any special niches or certifications? What professional groups do you belong to?
Can you provide references to whom I can speak?
Do you charge a fee for your services?
How will I be able to get ahold of you if I need you? Will you be available by cell phone for calling and/or texting if I need a quick answer? On WhatsApp or FB Messenger?
How do you decide which destinations are a good fit for me?
Can you build in some downtime so we can explore on our own and just wander about?
Can you create an authentic experience that involves doing something with the locals or some social activism?
For the agent to ask:
What would you like to know about my experience and my business practices? (“This usually throws customers for a minute, but we end up having good conversations about where I’ve traveled, how I started in the business, if I’ve been to the places they want to travel to,” says Helen Prochilo.)
Why are you traveling? Is this a special vacation of some kind?
What type of experience are you looking for? (“The more I know about you, the better,” says Teri Hurley. “My job is to match you to the best possible resort, cruise, etc., and that can only be done if we work hand in hand.”)
Who has the pleasure of traveling with you? (“This question gets the conversation started and also ends up answering why you are traveling,” says Marie Rosenbaum.)
How will this trip enrich you? What do you hope to gain from your travels?
When will you make the final decision and who will be involved?
Where have you traveled in the past? What type of accommodations did you stay in? What was your favorite trip or hotel and your least favorite? (Teri Hurley has a “Travel Wishes” form “designed not only to pinpoint their travel vision, but to determine their travel persona.”)
What’s the maximum amount of money you are willing to spend on your trip?
Have you gotten other price quotes on the trip you want?
What criteria are you going to use to make a decision?
If we can find what you are looking for within your price range, are you prepared to purchase it?