Your job as a travel agency sales consultant is to help your customers to choose their next holiday. This is a skilled job, and in order to do it well, you need to follow an established routine called the sales process. The sales process consists of six steps: 1) raising awareness; 2) establishing rapport; 3) investigating needs; 4) presenting products; 5) closing the sale; 6) after-sales service.
Stage 1. To begin any sales process, it is important to raise your customer’s awareness of the products your agency offers. Adverts in the agency window, for example, attract people’s attention, and may bring them into the shop.
Stage 2. This is possibly the most important stage in sales. Many people are nervous about buying because they think that sales consultants only want to get their money. From the very first moment with a new client, you need to convince them that you are really interested in helping them find the right holiday. Of course, sometimes people go into a travel agency just to browse through the brochures. In this case, do not stand next to them and ask questions. Let them know you are there, but leave them alone. Give them time.
Stage 3. When a customer asks for help or information, we move on to the next stage – investigating the customer’s needs. This is also an important part of the sales process; it is only when you have a clear idea about where a client wants to go, when they want to travel, who with, and so on, that you can select the best products for them.
Stage 4. When you have selected the most suitable products, you need to present them in the terms of:
Features – these are what a holiday has, such as the hotel facilities. Transfers from the airport, excursions, etc.
Advantages – these are what makes the holiday better than other similar holidays. The fact that the price of a holiday includes all the excursions, or all your bar costs, for example, would be an advantage.
Benefits – why a particular feature is good for the customer you are talking to at the moment.
At this part in the process many customers will want time to think. The best thing to do is to get their contact details and invite them to take the brochures home and browse through them. If you have done a good job of presenting the product, they will probably be back a few days later.
Stage 5. When the customer returns to your agency …
TRAVEL AGENTS’ SELLING TECHNIQUES
Customer is an individual with a unique set of characteristics who buys or uses tourism products and services. Customers have very different needs and it is a travel agent’s job to find out what these are.
Travel agentsare professionals who provide value by helping save time and money. They act as travel consultants, offering personal service for their clients. Clients who turn to a travel agent want the advice and expertise of a professional who
- analyses current promotions;
- explains the small print, such as cancellation charges and restrictions;
- makes recommendations on travel options;
- gets problems solved.
All sales are made through the sales conversation. The sales conversation is different from an ordinary conversation because it has an objective which is to sell the product. There are four stages or elements in a sales conversation, which are rapport, questioning, presentation and commitment.
Rapport is the relationship which is built up between the sales assistant and the client.
We question the client in order to find the type of holiday he or she requires. There are two types of questions which are open and closed questions. An open question begins with a W word. With these kinds of questions you can learn what the material and human needs of your client are. You will discover the material needs by asking questions such as “Who will be traveling? When do you want to travel?” human needs are catered for with what questions such as “What are your interests?”
When you have discovered your client’s needs you must then establish his or her priorities; these fall into four main bands. The first is people and deals with their special needs, the second is the place or destination. Thirdly there’s the question of price and fourthly is the period or dates when they can travel.
Before beginning the presentation stage always check the information and summarize the facts. Then present the holiday you wish to sell.
Match the client’s needs with the holiday on offer, and concentrate on the features, the facilities which the client requires. In order to make the product sound attractive and appealing, ideally suited for their needs, be selective.
Then once the client shows signs of commitment, of desiring to buy, you should stop selling and close the sale.
For many people tourism means leisure. However, a significant part of tourism revenues come from the world of business. Business tourism is defined as ‘the provision of facilities and services to the millions of delegates who annually attend meetings, congresses, exhibitions, business events, incentive travel, and corporate hospitality’.
The main components of business tourism are:
Incentive travel (leisure trips given to business people as a reward for high productivity)
Exhibitions and trade fairs (exhibitions open only to professionals from a sector of industry).
Another important component of business tourism is individual business travel, which involves individual business travelers giving presentations and consultations, or attending one-to-one meetings.
Business tourism is not the same as leisure tourism. With business, the main reason for traveling is to attend events that are related to business interests. Secondly, business tourism is not tied to a specific climate or season.
Other important differences are:
the lack of flexibility the business traveler has when choosing dates
the greater spending power of business travelers
the preference for quality, city-centre accommodation, often with international hotel chains
the need for specific business and telecommunications facilities.
Many major cities now have purpose-built conference and exhibition centers with facilities such as conference halls, high-speed internet access, videoconferencing, and so on.
There are several key benefits to business tourism, the first of which is economic. A second benefit of business travel is that it can increase the level of leisure activity at a destination. Finally. business tourism provides employment. Often this work is temporary – helping at conferences, trade fairs, or hospitality events – but it can be permanent.