Gift cards, gift certificates, upgrades, travel accessories, and travel experiences—all solid choices for travel advisors to gift clients. The gesture is good-natured and kind and encourages loyalty, repeat business, and referrals.
Here are some ideas for gifts that keep on giving.
“With a competitive market, it is important to have multiple touches with the customer and provide exceptional customer service so I gift as much as I can,” says Dawn Androwsky, luxury land and cruise consultant with Cruise Planners—GlobalTravitude. “I like to provide gifts to my clients that they will utilize during their travel,” she says.
Androwsky’s favorite client gifts have included RFID card shells (security for credit cards while they travel), passport/vaccine card holders (to secure important documentation at the ready), travel umbrellas (small, compact easy to use), and small backpacks (easy to keep organized while traveling and also on shore excursions.) The backpacks reflect Cruise Planners' colors and designs, providing the added value of advertising for our business, says Androsky.
James Thai, managing director, Exotic Voyages likes to give practical, beneficial gifts for his clients, like a travel-sized battery charger. “It's handy and can provide them with a few hours of battery to help them while they travel,” he says. Gift certificates are another of his preferred gifts to give. “Gift certificates are always a good idea,” says James, especially for things like tours and spa treatments.
And Scott Dubois, founder and travel designer, Fauna Travel an independent affiliate of Departure Lounge in Austin, Texas, also goes the practical route, often gifting travel essentials—along with a little extra something like a book, he says. “My standard gift to high-quality clients is an Apple Air Tag in a branded case, which I'm sure others may do,” says Dubois.
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
Jonathan de Araujo, the owner of The Vacationeer, a travel agency specializing in theme park and cruise travel, says he prefers to gift an onboard credit of up to $1,000 to Disney Cruise guests. “We've found it's great for repeat business,” says de Araujo. “It allows them to choose what to spend it on, like WiFi, drinks, or specialty dining. It's hard to find a good one-size fits all gift so the onboard credit seems to please all tastes.”
Androsky of Cruise Planners also often provides clients with onboard credit to be used for things like shore excursions and dining. “The amount varies depending upon the value of the booking and the clients status (new customer, repeat customer),” she says.
Lee Friedman, founder of Caribbean family travel company Mango Tree Travel sticks to her agency’s Caribbean islands theme, typically giving beach-and-sun-inspired gifts. “I give my clients my favorite tropical, waterproof pouch that can be used to keep small toys contained on trips, or to hold a phone/wallet during evenings out at a resort,” she says. “I also throw in a Mango Tree-branded inflatable beach ball and a sunscreen face stick for the kids—a little something mom can enjoy, a little something for the kids, and something practical.”
“When it comes to gifts for clients, really anything that shows appreciation goes a long way,” says Ashley Les, luxury travel advisor and founder of Postcards From, an independent affiliate of Protravel International, Global Travel Collection
“My favorite in-room amenity for clients is a photo—it could be of their pet, of the day of their wedding, their children if they’re traveling without them, or a family photo from earlier in the trip to have on their last night or next hotel,” says Les.
Les says she also enjoys working with the hotel to surprise clients with customized cookies that are decorated with a special photo or message on them and left in their room as a surprise gift. “It's definitely Instagram-worthy!”