By Emily Peters
Contributing Writer
Montrose Travel

In high school, standing out was the last thing we wanted to do. As independent travel professionals, standing out is a lot like professional development: it’s not optional.

Competing against OTAs (Online Travel Companies) is a constant reality, as even the most successful travel professionals contend with clients intent on stacking their deals against the web. But no matter how great a deal the Internet provides, it’lll always fall short when it comes to authentic customer service. Stop competing—stand apart with these ten ways to make your travel clients feel extra special.

  • Set up Google alerts. One of the best ways to make your clients feel special is by sending them updates on travel opportunities and destinations that are specific to them. When you learn about client preferences, create Google alerts so you stay on top of experiences you share with them. It just might lead to your next commission check.
  • Send handwritten cards. This is an oldie but a goodie—yet so few travel professionals make this a standard practice! Know the special dates in the lives of your clients and send a handwritten note to let the know you’re thinking about them. It also wouldn’t hurt to throw in a suggestion of how they can celebrate the occasion—a weekend getaway or short cruise, perhaps?
  • Clue them in on changes you made based on their feedback. It’s wise to collect client feedback on your services, and even wiser to let them know how you’ve changed. If a client has recommended an improvement to your business that you’ve put into action, tell them—it’ll let them know that you take their opinions seriously.
  • Keep a profile on their key points. Every touchpoint with your client is a chance to make them feel special. Remember the names of their kids, breed of their pet, favorite restaurants by tracking it in your CRM (Customer Relationship Management tool—MTravel offers one for free!). Weave this knowledge into each interaction to show you value them for more than just their business.
  • Tag them on social media. If your clients follow you, why not dedicate a post to one of them? Share a favorite French recipe to inspire your Francophiles to journey to Paris, or tag a Disney fanatic in a pic of you exploring their latest port of call. Give them a chance to interact with you online and show you’re thinking of travel experiences they’ll love.
  • Give them your cell number. The internet will never be able to do this. If you’re serious about customer service, allow your clients to contact you personally during emergencies—you’ve got their back, and this demonstrate that fact.
  • Send them a little gift on their birthday. A ten dollar gift card to their favorite coffee shop, bakery, or movie theater is a small gesture that can make a big impact. Start with your larger clients and, as you can afford it, expand to others in your client list.
  • Make them comfortable. For clients you host in your home office, go the extra mile—a spotless office, a well-organized portfolio containing just their travel details, ample water, coffee, tea, snacks. Treat them like royalty when they’re with you and never rush an appointment!
  • Be responsive. Don’t wait longer than 24 hours to write or call back. Even if you don’t have the answer to their questions, let them know you’re working on it and will be in touch ASAP.
  • Thank them. Every day, whether we’re paying our car note, picking up groceries or pumping gas, we give others our hard-earned cash. Yet how many companies go out of their way to thank you for your business?
    Stand out—thank your clients both in word and deed. Send them a welcome home note that thanks them for choosing you. Value their decision and let them know you’re looking forward to the next time you can serve them. A little honey goes a long way.

What other ways do you make your travel clients feel special? We’d love to hear from you! Contact us here or call us at 800-870-5799 and be sure to check out our website at www.MTravel.com and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.