‘$1 trillion dollars and a 100 million jobs lost in travel and tourism due to Covid’ was one of 2020’s saddest headlines. For non-travel industry people, it’s hard to understand how much we love working in the travel industry. It’s not the best paid industry, some travellers can be challenging and demanding at times, especially during Covid (it was literally a labour of love, with many operating at huge losses, companies folding and the loss of many jobs). Every one of us in the travel industry was adversely affected; indeed the saying heard within all our social media group discussions was ‘we’re all in the same storm, but not in the same boat.’ As the sun comes over the horizon, it’s clear the travel industry is now more competitive than ever, and just as challenging, so are you thriving or surviving?
While there are hundreds of different roles in the travel industry, the pressure is now on travel marketers to acquire website visits and enquiries, for product teams to negotiate amazing rates and travel consultants to convert the business into sales. If marketing and product departments do their jobs well, it’s a lot of pressure for travel salespeople to be under. The last year has seen them placating, calming and soothing angry customers with very few sales skills being used as enquiries and bookings dried up, and now they need to be better than they ever were to convert an enquiry to a sale.
The good news is travellers will be more reliant on the highly knowledgeable travel consultant, and less confident to do it themselves online. They’ll want security, which comes from trust. Those travel consultants that provide a value-added service will be the ones to thrive and survive.
Travel consultants who are great at consultative selling and who use what is known as ‘value-based sales’ will be the ones who thrive. They deliver a sales process that’s perceived as being ‘expert’ and they’re rarely asked or expected to price match/beat or be the cheapest. Their advice and service is of ‘high value’ and the customer therefore ‘wouldn’t dream of booking anywhere else’; the customer becomes a ‘raving fan’, booking all their travel with the consultative travel consultant. Those that are robotic, churning and burning enquiries will barely survive this new dawn.
Some people will remember the global financial crash of 2008, subsequent years of economic downturn, and how that impacted the travel industry. I led a team of 50 luxury safari travel consultants through this and even though it was tough, our year-on-year sales didn’t decline. Why? I had a team of expert travel advisors, who truly profiled the customer, getting to know all their needs, and ultimately selling the holiday that best matched. They didn’t churn and burn, or act like robots.
We know some travel consultants cut corners and adapt a transactional approach, limiting their success at converting enquiries into bookings. Imagine any other professional cutting corners (doctor, electrician, plumber); what would be the outcome? Simply asking when, where, how long and how much is no different to an online booking site. If a competitor of yours does it better than you, and has a consultative sales process, they’ll get the booking.
If you want to thrive and feel like you need a brush up on your skills, have a look at our ‘How To Sell Travel And Achieve Sales Success’ course. Packed with bitesize, interactive lessons you can learn anywhere, and on any device, we guarantee a return on your learning investment from just one family booking, and if you apply the process you’ll achieve much more revenue, referrals and repeat business.
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