By Emily Peters
MTravel Hosting Services
As solo-preneurs, we’ve all been there: competing against the Goliath of our chosen field. When you’re an independent travel company, it can be hard to stay relevant among the giants in the travel industry. So what kind of value-adds can you offer as a travel agency to keep clients coming back for more?
You are valuable in and of your own expertise
Your time and expertise are valuable—which is why you should definitely consider introducing fees as part of how you do business. Yet it’s crucial to highlight your unique benefits to help illuminate that value to your travelers.
To begin, the best way to add value to your client’s trip is to qualify them properly. This will help eliminate tire-kickers and personality types that don’t mesh well with your niche and management style. Once your client has passed the initial qualifying rounds, consider some of these value-add tips for your travel agency to help seal the deal:
Free trip consultation
A great way to establish your role as a travel expert and close more sales is to offer a free trip consultation. Use this as a referral bonus for your existing clients to pass along your information or as a value-add when you exhibit at shows, market your agency through social media or even on the back of your business cards to incentivize a call.
Free visa applications
Recommended only for those travel professionals who are especially visa-savvy, offering to manage the visa application process can be a HUGE plus for your clients. Particularly if you’re familiar with a part of the world with involved visa rules (Africa, for example), this value-add can go a long way towards helping a client trust you with their next trip.
This is a hot-button issue with many travel professionals. Since most airlines stopped paying commission twenty-plus years ago, many travel agents have dropped this service altogether or have coupled it with a fee to stay profitable. Booking air isn’t right for every agent, but there’s no denying it’s a helpful value-add—especially for clients with multi-leg trips or complex international itineraries.
A simple but effective value-add, offering to monitor packages involves watching rates for drops that you can re-book or claim for your client. It can prevent your client from price-shopping and makes you look like a champ. Just remember: if you offer to price watch, you must actually follow through.
The tip of the iceberg
These value-adds for your travel agency are just the tip of the iceberg. Partnering with a reputable host agency like MTravel can open up a whole new level of added value for your clients—from 24/7 emergency service to agent back-up to special upgrades and amenities through our consortia partners. So before you reach for your own pocketbook, try incorporating a few of these value-adds when qualifying your next client and see where it leads. Good selling!
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.