One of the most critical steps in working with your clients in planning that perfect destination getaway is properly qualifying them before you make a recommendation. Qualifying your client can also establish your reputation and credentials as a travel professional. Why is this so important? Imagine going to your family physician, and they try to give you advice and write a prescription when they really didn’t take the time to understand all of your symptoms. Wouldn’t you walk away wondering if you need a second opinion? Of course you would. At the very least you would wonder how much that doctor even cares.
Before you can make recommendations, it really is important as a travel professional, to understand the experience your clients would like to capture from their vacation. Of course there are the common questions any travel agent would ask. Where do you want to go? What type of vacation experience are you seeking? What are the dates you want to travel? What is your budget?
Obviously you need the answers to these types of questions BEFORE you make a booking. But have you ever thought about asking qualifying questions that you don’t really need to know the answers to? These types of questions will not only show you care about your clients’ travel experience, but will establish yourself as a professional, and will probably secure the booking for you and eliminate your competition.
This is where thinking “out of the box” helps establish you not only as a travel agent, but as a travel expert. You want to show your clients that you are someone that cares about helping them achieve the maximum value. Which isn’t necessarily just a vacation, but a travel experience…an adventure…a memory that will last a lifetime.
These types of questions will help you make a recommendation, but they will also tell your clients that you care enough to capture the essence of what they would like for their travel experience. Perhaps it is a time for de-stressing, spending time with family, revitalizing a stale marriage, or seeking adventure and fulfillment.
Remember that vacations aren’t just where and when you want to travel. Vacations are about adding to your repertoire of life experiences.
So what kind of qualifying questions should a Travel Expert ask? Here are some of the questions I recommend to get your client talking about their vacation desires.
What are some of your past vacation likes and dislikes?
Would you consider yourself a beach person or a pool person?
Which is more important: staying at a nicer resort with a downgraded room, or, staying at a mid-range resort with an upgraded room?
Do you like the idea of being able to eat and drink as much as you want for one price? What are your favorite foods?
Do you enjoy eating island cuisine (or trying local cultural foods?)
Are you looking for a more intimate experience or would you prefer more action and nightlife?
Is room service important to you?
Is beach service important to you?
What kind of attire would you like to wear for evening wear?
Would it be important to you to stay at a resort that has activities and nightlife after 11PM?
What type of water activities do you like?
Are long walks on the beach important to you?
What do you like about your chosen destination?
Are you certified to scuba dive? Would you like to get certified while on vacation?
What types of family vacation activities are important to you?
What is your goal for this vacation?
Also remember it is not enough to just ask the right questions. Don’t forget how important it is to listen to their responses, as well. You will find when you take the time to get to know your prospects; you will leave them with feelings of excitement and anticipation about their upcoming vacation. And chances are you have also now secured them as your next client.