Selling Luxury Travel: Look Beyond The Super Rich

by Robin Amster
Selling Luxury Travel: Look Beyond The Super Rich

Travel agents who sell luxury need to look beyond the “uber-wealthy” and cultivate “upmarket” travelers, according to Larry Pimentel, president and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises.

Luxury agents often focus too narrowly on the super rich who are a relatively small share of the market, Pimentel told travel advisors attending Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas earlier this month.

But upscale customers who may not be able to afford the super deluxe are open to up-selling, he said. “They are a huge market and an enormous opportunity for you.”

Pimentel had the following tips for agents who want to expand their luxury travel sales.

Tip #1. Know today’s market.
There’s been a “sea change” in the target market for luxury, according to Pimentel.  The super-rich, like the Rockefellers of the past, have given way to the middle class and now to the “monied masses” and the concept of mass luxury.

These are people who will “reach up” to luxury travel, Pimentel said. They shouldn’t be ignored.

“Too often at Virtuoso, advisors speak about the uber-wealthy, but they’re a small market,” he said.

Tip #2. Don’t pigeonhole clients.
Agents need to keep in mind that all clients are not the same, Pimentel said.

“The concept of travel is not homogenized, and luxury is not the same for everyone,” he said. “What may be one person’s luxury is another’s necessity.”
 
Pimentel also advised agents to discard pre-conceived notions about luxury clients. They don’t, for instance, just live in big cities; they can be found in small towns too.

Tip #3. Sell the experience.
Agents’ definition of luxury should encompass not just the “flash” but the experience, he said.

“You need to dress the client in the experience,” he said, adding that the Internet has given clients a great way to imagine the kind of luxury experiences they seek.

Tip #4. Talk plainly.
The affluent are not into “hyped conversations,” Pimentel said. “Hype leads to tuned-out.”

Better to focus on the art of plain talk.

“Verbalize honestly and succinctly about what is offered,” he said. “Never, ever talk down to someone. Don’t try to be too clever, don’t bore them, listen.

“And assume they [potential clients] are talking to you because they want to book,” he said.

Tip #5. Focus on value, not price.
Clients expect a luxury advisor to be “a value interpreter,” and that means looking beyond price, Pimental said. “Price doesn’t determine quality and it also doesn’t determine value.

“If you sell on price alone, you lose,” he said. “Consumers can always find a lower price.”

Tip #6. Connect with your clients.
“People actually like buying. Help them have fun; help them dream.” Those are great ways to connect with clients, Pimental said.

Planning an event that brings together potential clients is also a good way to connect. An example: On a trip to Canada Pimentel contacted a client there and asked if she’d want to bring some of her friends together with him on a particular evening. She was happy to host a cocktail party with several prospects.

Selling is about referrals, he added. Ask for them.

  1
  0
Tip of the Day
Daily Top List

Best Cities For Digital Nomads

1. Chiang Mai, Thailand

2. Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

3. Miami, United States

4. Florianópolis, Brazil

5. Budapest, Hungary

Source: BBC

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Delta Air Lines Adopts Flier-Friendly Upgrade Policy
Delta Air Lines Adopts Flier-Friendly Upgrade Policy

Delta is making it easier than ever for fliers to upgrade to premium cabins.

Laptop Ban Will Not Affect Flights From U.S. Airports
Laptop Ban Will Not Affect Flights From U.S. Airports

Homeland Security says it may extend the ban to incoming, but not departing, flights. 

 

Airline Woes Mean Lower Yields For Travel Agents
Airline Woes Mean Lower Yields For Travel Agents

In an overview of major trends shaping the travel industry in 2017, Travel Leaders exec Michael Boult puts the embattled state of the airlines front and center.

Manchester Arena Attack: What We Know So Far
Manchester Arena Attack: What We Know So Far

The news comes just as London recovers from a terrorist attack on March 22 that killed six people and injured 50 near the Houses of Parliament.

Airlines’ Bare-Bones ‘Basic Economy’ Fares Could Mean New Headaches For Travel Agents
Airlines’ Bare-Bones ‘Basic Economy’ Fares Could Mean New Headaches For Travel Agents

Agents could be put in the uncomfortable position of having to explain a product that’s at odds with what most consumers expect from a traditional airline.  

Universal’s Aventura Hotel, Opening Summer Of 2018, Offers Dining Credits To Agency Clients
Universal’s Aventura Hotel, Opening Summer Of 2018, Offers Dining Credits To Agency Clients

Universal Orlando's latest on-site hotel is now open for booking.

News Briefs
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: Melia Pro