By Emily Peters
In Part 1 of our 2-part “How to Introduce Travel Agent Fees” series, we taught you how to determine your rates and to understand the pros and cons of certain fee structures. Today, we’ll show you how to take those beautiful fees and put them into practice.
Identify what needs to change – then change it.
When introducing a travel agent fee structure, your whole approach to qualifying, quoting and invoicing clients will be affected. Examine where you need to update your company information to reflect these changes. Some examples:
- Your agency website
- Terms and conditions
- Quote and invoice templates
- Contracts (for groups, corporate clients, etc.)
- Spreadsheets used for your financials – you may want to introduce a few new columns and simple formulas to keep track of your new fees
- Business plan – update your financial goal based on what you expect to earn with fees
- Budget – based on any extra income the fees bring in, see where you may be able to afford to spend more on marketing, conferences or other professional developments.
Ease your clients into the new fee structure.
We know – this is the scary part. But guess what? It’s not as difficult as you think. Remember that when you consistently deliver high-quality, tailored travel experiences, clients will repurchase because they can depend on your expertise.
For existing clients: Prepare them for the change by letting them know by phone, email and/or print mail when the new fees will go into effect. Give them at least several months’ notice. To sweeten the deal for them, consider waiving the fee for their first booking after the date, or let them in on a “grandfathered” structure where their fees will kick in at a later time. For either option, be sure to indicate on their invoices when they’ve received a waived or reduced fee to visually acclimate them to the new set up.
For new clients: Offer a complimentary 15–20 minute (choose the time that you’re comfortable with) trip-planning consultation to review their needs. Use that time to briefly qualify their needs, explain how they’ll benefit from your services and finally any fees involved. Summarize your suggestions on how to proceed in writing, and then find a time to connect within the next 48 hours. Always lead with benefits first: this helps clients understand what they’re paying for.
Keep track of the results.
Diligently track how the new fees impact your incremental income, your clients and your time. Did you lose any clients in the change? Did your close rate improve since you stopped working with “lookie-loos”? Have you made more time to work on other aspects of your business? Evaluate the effects of your decisions so you can repeat successes and make adjustments as you grow.
Don’t look back.
It’s only natural that some clients will not be interested in working with your new fee structure. To those clients, bid them a fond farewell. Like anyone providing a professional service, you deserve to be acknowledged and paid for your work – so don’t be afraid to introduce travel agent fees this year and keep pressing forward!
Are you ready to start your independent travel business with MTravel? We are here to help! Contact us here or call us at 800-870-5799. Be sure to check out our website at www.MTravel.com and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.