Timing Is Everything For Closing A Sale

by Richard D’Ambrosio
Timing Is Everything For Closing A Sale

 


When the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) revealed its latest consumer travel survey this spring, president and CEO Zane Kerby urged agents to understand that they can influence traveler purchases and increase sales by learning how to time sales efforts along what many retail industries call the consumer’s “path to purchase.”

Instead of seeing travel information available on the internet as a threat, Kerby advised, agents need to recognize how they can help consumers pick through the plethora of options. And who better to do that than a proactive, knowledgeable travel agent.

“Agents need to find a way to insert themselves into that research process,” Kerby said. “So if I owned a travel agency, I’d say you have to snuggle up to your customers. Get a good CRM [customer relationship management system]. It’s really, really important.”

Technology affords agents the ability to determine where consumers are on the path to purchase, though that technology isn’t always available to unaffiliated, independent agents.

Host agencies like Avoya Travel have been investing in software that helps track traveler internet search habits, and they are trying to marry that data with customer profiles to help agents target customers with more information.

“Consumers love planning their own vacations,” said Avoya Travel executive vice president Jeff Anderson, echoing sentiments Kerby shared at a press conference in early May unveiling the ASTA survey findings.

“We don’t want to take that away from them. We want to come along side it. The question really comes down to, ‘What vacation do you really want to take?’ When your client is dreaming, ‘I think I want to go somewhere warm,’ we should jump into that occasion and say, ‘I think you’re going to love Cabo instead of Cancun, Hawaii versus Jamaica.’ Help them make that decision in the dream state.”

Embracing this change will allow agents to accelerate the evolution from travel reservations specialist, to a true seller of travel.

“This is part of the joy of technology. A lot of people have a fear, that technology will get in the way of making a sale. What we need to do is make technology less invasive. First, let’s get everything, from the customer profile, to their travel search history, to all of the supplier options, in one place, where an agent can access it and use it. Once we have that, there are really cool things you can do.”

Avoya Travel vice president of sales development Ashley Hunter remarked about how for consumers looking for special deals, the path to purchase can be delayed if travelers feel confused about which promotions apply to which cruise lines, which sailings or cabin class, etc.

When you overlay exclusive offerings from networks like Avoya, the path can be longer, and the travel agent needs to know how to consult with their client effectively, Hunter said, to get them to purchase.

“Clients need agents to decipher all of the options. With this new tool, the agent and the client are closer to purchase. They aren’t starting the conversation at the beginning of client’s intent to travel.”

  0
  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
Tomorrow: A Sales Lesson for Travel Agents From Annie
Tomorrow: A Sales Lesson for Travel Agents From Annie

While there are more techniques and styles than could be ever committed to memory, there is one theme that is consistent.

Suppliers Earn High Marks From Travel Agents Post Hurricanes Harvey and Irma
Suppliers Earn High Marks From Travel Agents Post Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

So far, hotels, tour companies and airlines are getting kudos from agents as they rebuild client itineraries and try to obtain refunds.

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.

CoNexion 2017 Takes Aim at Growing Travel Agent Businesses
CoNexion 2017 Takes Aim at Growing Travel Agent Businesses

From breaking into the luxury cruise market to marketing business, there were tips for virtually every kind of agent, big or small, home-based or brick-and-mortar.

Travel Agents Can Now Book Guided Tours Through VAX VacationAccess
Travel Agents Can Now Book Guided Tours Through VAX VacationAccess

Cruising really took off when travel agents could book itineraries electronically, say partners Trisept and Adventurelink. Now guided tours have the same option.

Headquarter Happenings: Virtuoso’s Growth Reflects Travel Agents’ Robust Health
Headquarter Happenings: Virtuoso’s Growth Reflects Travel Agents’ Robust Health

At this year’s annual gathering of the luxury agency network, Virtuoso CEO Matthew Upchurch told agents “you’re the hottest new thing that never went away.”

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