Travel was an essential part of my upbringing. From a very young age, I recall my father saying, “You can’t take it with you.” He was referring to money, of course, and the fact that we would be taking vacations with all he had to spare. That was followed by, “I’m not going to leave you with a lot, but I’m going to leave you with plenty of good memories.”
My Dad was great for passing on his advice, which was always ripe with wisdom and sprinkled with love and concern. He took care of his family and his extended family, too, even though it wasn’t always easy. Whether it was mailing hand-me-down clothes back to Ireland or sending checks, he made sure they had what they needed.
So, it was no surprise to any of us that, in 1983, when I was 10, he announced we would all be going to Ireland to meet our distant relatives. Now, when I say all, I mean nine of us. In addition to my parents, I have five siblings and, at the time, a grandmother on my Mom’s side. This trip was important to him, and for that reason alone, it was important to all of us.
When my father died at the young age of 59, in an effort to comfort me, someone told me, “It’s the quality, not the quantity of the years you shared that matter.” To be honest, at the time those words didn’t bring me much comfort. I was a recent graduate of college with no career path in sight, and all I wanted was to have my father back. But as often is the case, as time went on, clarity set in. I recognized that the quality of the time I spent with my father was more precious than any other tangible item he could have left behind. Yes, even money.
What people remember most
I recalled our trip to Ireland. Oh, the laughs we had and the places we went. My brother’s attempt at driving on the opposite side of the highway; my grandmother stashing away scones in her purse for when we all got hungry on the road; and the stink of the cows on the farm – all of which will forever be etched in my mind.
I remembered the family dinners with relatives we had never met but quickly connected with, and how we marveled over the family resemblances. Despite my young age, I did appreciate the incredible views of the Cliffs of Moher, the majestic feel of Ashford Castle, the craft of blowing glass at the Waterford factory, and the unique way one needed to kiss the Blarney Stone. It was a trip of a lifetime – but more than that, it was an experience of a lifetime.
We travel for the experiences
When you think about why we travel, there are so many reasons, but in the end, it all comes back to experiences. Emotions are the driving force behind our travel decisions. Whether it be to fulfill a challenge, cross a destination off a bucket list, achieve a lifelong goal, or keep a promise to a loved one, there are endless big and small reasons why we travel and how those experiences evoke emotion.
And far better than taking up clutter in our homes, experiences are those things we can keep in our heart – the memories that no matter how many times we clean out the attic, will never, ever leave us. Instead those travel memories become the fabric of who we are and how we see the world and interact with those around us.
Why do your clients travel? Have you asked them lately? Has communicating the reasons why you got into the business of travel in the first place taken a back seat to the routine sales process?
We know that at the time you became a travel advisor, it was because you equally understood that precious time spent with loved ones is invaluable time that cannot be replaced. We spoke to a few travel agents, who told us why their clients travel, and while none of the answers were surprising, they did remind us that keeping the perspective is key to travel fulfillment.
Tapping into emotions
For Vickie Everhart, the transition from graphic artist to travel advisor was about finally doing something that brought her joy. “We want to build relationships with our clients, to get to know their likes and desires. As we listen to their thoughts and dreams, it gives us an opportunity to tell the story, to paint the picture of the experience they could have, the dream they could fulfill. They entrust us with their dreams, and we need to provide the best experience possible for their investment.”
In his 42 years as a travel agent, Glenn Warren, owner of Glenn Warren Travel in Weymouth, Massachusetts, said for many of his clients, price is not a factor when it comes to fulfilling a dream, adding that at least half of them are motivated to travel because of emotional ties. “A lot of my clients come to me because they want to create memories with their families or search their roots. You can’t put a dollar sign on that.”
Tapping into the emotions of your clients isn’t a selling tactic. On the contrary, it’s a very genuine and successful approach to satisfying their inner-most reasons for traveling. Making that connection should be first and foremost if you are truly meeting all of their travel needs.
FROM THE SPONSOR:
Collette has spent the last 100 years bringing people all over the world, and along the way we’ve learned that travel isn’t just about the places we go – it’s about why you go. There has been a unifying thread connecting every trip we have led over the last century. And that thread is the endless unique reasons that inspire each one of us to travel.
Everyone has different reasons. They can be big, like a promise to a loved one or fulfilling a lifetime goal. But they can also be small, like hearing that the blue water in Capri sure is lovely this time of year. Though the reasons might be different, they are all simply something that is missing. That’s why completing a trip is, in a sense, completing ourselves.
It’s why we travel. Click here to learn more about Collette.