Your travel agency needs great connections

Local connectionsWhen you book a holiday for your customers, do you know what you’re letting them in for? Is it a tried and trusted location that you know is amazing?Or, is it somewhere that just offered a good deal?

I know that you care about your customers and whether they have a good time while they’re away, so I’m betting you went for the first one.  My best holiday experiences have come from booking through agents who’ve either visited my destination themselves, or where the company they work for makes sure that employees are kept up to date.

Here’s why great local connections could be the key to the success of your business.

Reputation isn’t everything

Have you ever been to a hotel or resort with an amazing reputation and come away disappointed? The room looked shabby and the staff were surly.  You’d heard wonderful things about the beautiful décor and fabulous service.  The question is, who did you hear it from?  Someone who went recently or twenty years ago?

Even the most highly rated places can have an off day, or just take their eye off the ball.  They might even be trading on their reputation even when the attention to detail that earned it has lapsed.

That’s where your local knowledge comes in.  If you visit regularly or have connections nearby that can keep you up to date, you can make recommendations based on who’s giving great service now.  That way you can avoid a customer complaint or, even worse, a viral Facebook post telling the world about the awful hotel you sent them to because you only cared about taking their money.

Your connections are your guide

I know that plenty of you go on regular research trips to learn more about different destinations. You can experience the place for yourself and find out more about what’s new.  Unfortunately, you can’t be everywhere at once and that’s where your local connections really come into their own.  You’re probably already in touch with the people who send out the official information, but have you made friends with the concierge who knows all the local gossip?  You could be the person to tell your customers about the latest attraction before the news has spread.

Your connections can tell you which restaurant to book, what the hottest show ticket is or where the best beaches are.  They can keep up simply because they’re on the spot.  All of that makes for a great holiday for your customers.

Winning repeat business

Ultimately, showing your customers that you care about them will make them want to come back for more.  If you share local information and advice that enhances your customers’ holiday, that adds value.  It helps them to realise that there’s a world of difference between you and an online booking where you couldn’t speak to a human being if you tried.

Your local connections help you to send your customers to the right place.  It also gives you the chance to give them a holiday experience they’ll never forget.

How do you use your local connections to help your customers?  Leave a comment and let me know!

Further reading

If you were in any doubt about the power of Facebook in the face of a bad holiday read this.

How online reputation affects hotel performance

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