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
Remember that we are in an amazing business and you help people fulfill their dreams. Sometimes we just need to look around again to remind ourselves that we are in the mansions of industries with really fun and exciting products to sell.
 
Scott Koepf, TMR Columnist 
Daily Top List

Top Three Travel Destinations For Fall

1. Havana, Cuba

2. Lisbon, Portugal

3. Madrid, Spain

Source: Elite Daily

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Low-Cost Airline XL Airways Will Now Offer Flights from New York to Tel Aviv
Low-Cost Airline XL Airways Will Now Offer Flights from New York to Tel Aviv

Fares include one checked bag, one hot meal on each flight, and wireless entertainment.

Booking Flights Direct Doesn’t Delight Passengers, Study Finds
Booking Flights Direct Doesn’t Delight Passengers, Study Finds

New study finds that booking direct flights through airline websites made passengers less than happy.

Peter Greenberg: Hotels Imitating Airlines Is “the Road to Disaster”
Peter Greenberg: Hotels Imitating Airlines Is “the Road to Disaster”

With four airlines now owning a majority of the market, hotels seem to be heading in the same direction, Greenberg, the travel editor at CBS News, told a meeting of the New York chapter of Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International.

After Damage Done by Irma, US State Department Issues Cuba Travel Advisory
After Damage Done by Irma, US State Department Issues Cuba Travel Advisory

Though major roads are now open in Havana, conditions on the island still merit caution following damage from Hurricane Irma.

U.S. Airlines Brace for Impact from Continued Hurricane Disruptions
U.S. Airlines Brace for Impact from Continued Hurricane Disruptions

Harvey, Irma, and more storms have forced airlines to lower expectations for 2017 as some consider passing on losses to consumers.

More Than 20 Injured in Possible London Tube Terrorism Attack
More Than 20 Injured in Possible London Tube Terrorism Attack

Fire erupts during morning commute from what police think was a homemade bomb.

News Briefs
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: Imagine Bliss