Five Tips to Build Loyalty With Cruise Clients

by Daniel McCarthy
Five Tips to Build Loyalty With Cruise Clients

Austin joined attendees at the second annual Travel MarketPlace in Vancouver last week. 


Loyalty is an allegiance. The same way people have loyalty to sports teams, to restaurants, to pets, people will have loyalty to you as an advisor and the most successful advisors are the ones who can make the kind of relationships that will return clients over and over again, according to Seabourn’s executive vice president of global sales Chris Austin.

“Attracting a new client will cost you five times as much as keeping an existing one,” he told attendees. “Increasing client retention rates by five percent can increase profits by between 25 percent and 95 percent.”

Austin joined attendees at the second annual Travel MarketPlace in Vancouver last week to pass along some of his knowledge on what advisors can do to keep clients coming back over and over again. Here are some of Austin’s tips for driving that client loyalty:

1. Keep on surprising and always be willing to do more. 
“There’s lots of things you can do to surprise clients and maybe it’s as simple as if you’re home based you offer to take a catalogue to them or meet them for a coffee. Doing things for them that they didn’t expect you to do,” he said.

2. Connect with your clients’ passion points.
Particularly when trying to court luxury clients from other segments of the travel industry—most notably when converting luxury land lovers—connecting to what drives your clients’ other bookings will help.

“When you connect with the passion points of your client that obviously you can start a conversation much more meaningfully,” he said.

Whether they’re foodies or interested in wellness, knowing that will give agents a hint as to what their primary reason behind traveling is. Most of the time, that reason is the destination.

“It’s because they want to visit that destination. You must never leave that destination out. People who go to Hawaii choose to go to Hawaii they don’t choose that brand,” he said.

3. Tell stories.
Along the lines of what another Travel MarketPlace speaker told attendees, Austin stressed the importance of storytelling, calling it a “powerful” tool for advisors.

“Maybe have a few stories to tell, it’s not about being so rehearsed, it’s about if you have a great experience somewhere than feel comfortable about relaying the story,” he said.

4. Know your clients’ buying habits.
If you know who your most profitable clients are and which stage of the buying cycle they are at, you’ll be best positioned to serve them, Austin said. Finding out their trigger—whether its time of the year, a life event, or something else—will help you recognize when they’ll start wanting to gather info on a potential booking.

Ultimately, Austin said, the knowledge will also help when advisors have to choose who they are going to please during busy seasons.

5. Increase your attachment rate for booking additional trip components.
Adding a pre- or post- hotel on a sailing not only increases an advisor’s compensation, but it will also increase the experience for the client and help drive loyalty.

“It will drive loyalty beyond reason because it creates a better experience and peace of mind. Putting a pre or post hotel onto a cruise increases your compensation but it also increases the experience for the guests,” he said.

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Tip of the Day

I do think there are possibilities for traveler advisors to make money doing domestic trips. I charge a planning fee for my time and expertise, and then book commissionable hotels and activities that meet the client’s needs.

Terri Weeks

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