How Do You Say "Thank You"

How do you thank your clients for their lucrative business? One travel agent who sells world cruises on Radisson Seven Seas flies to Hong Kong when the ship hits port and takes her clients to dinner at the Peninsula Hotel. Another flies to Dubai and treats her VIP customers to a night or two at the Burj Al Arab when they are on shore. Others opt for more traditional “thank yous,” such as providing a car and driver for private tours of interesting destinations.

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Wouldn’t it be great to always be that lavish when expressing your gratitude? It would certainly cement the relationship in a most permanent way. But why not take a look at the smaller tokens of appreciation you give your clients when they travel? Does what you’re giving them have value? Is it relevant to their needs?

The Leading Hotels of the World recently polled its top travelers to find out what “value-added” amenities are appreciated most from hotels: 65% resoundingly said they would like a room upgrade. Late check-out came in a far second at 13%. Others expressed a desire for a complimentary room night, spa treatment or early check-in. Last on the list, at only 2%, was “champagne on arrival.”

That last item made me think. How often have you sent a bottle of champagne to a client as a welcome gift in their hotel room? Do you know if they drank it? Has such a gift gone the way of the complimentary fruit bowl hotels provide that go uneaten through an entire week’s visit?

It may not be easy to get your client a free night at a hotel, but if you know the right person at the property, a room upgrade or late check-out may be something you can arrange ahead of time. Imagine the delight your client will experience as they’re checking in from a hellish journey, only to be told their room is better than they thought it would be and that they have the luxury of staying longer, thanks to you. For the contacts you’ll need to implement such requests, read the following pages closely; they’re packed with names and other contact information that will be of vital importance to you.

By foregoing the champagne and asking for a better room instead, the client is saying they want to enhance their actual travel experience as much as possible. Travel advisors can certainly do that by creating well-thought-out itineraries for their clients. That could include booking a great table at a five-star restaurant, but it might also be about finding out what the hippest retail store is in the city they’re visiting. Maybe there is a new designer that takes appointments for custom-made clothing in that same town, or a salon that gives the best highlights where you can make an appointment.

Radisson Seven Seas is working to create exactly that type of experience with a new Travel Concierge Desk initiative that customizes land excursions for its affluent guests. For more on an inside look at what’s happening at RSSC.

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By the way, that same Leading Hotels survey revealed that guests prefer to get their dining recommendations from either the hotel concierge or from friends. Check out our Access and Advisor Insight sections in the following pages; they provide exactly the type of information your clients are seeking.

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