We tapped in to a lot of talent for our inaugural Trendsetter issue for Luxury Travel Advisor. We asked the owners and managers of the agencies that have appeared on our covers over the years to select a key player from their office or network who is doing amazing things. After reading through the 45 profiles, we picked up on some similar trends; here’s a cheat sheet to share with your teams.
1. Collaborators: Trendsetters see their agency managers and colleagues as partners whose talent they can draw from to succeed. They’re aware of this benefit and are sure to tap in to all the tools their home office infrastructure provides.
2. Client Concern: The most successful advisors truly care that they’ve made a difference in their customers’ lives by adding in special touches and surprises that made a trip memorable. This human touch seems to nourish their souls and drives them to craft even more meaningful details in the next itinerary.
3. Customer Comprehension: The happiest trendsetters love to talk to their clients to find out what makes them tick. This provides bonus feedback. Knowing someone’s sweet spots, as well as their pain points, makes plotting out an experience all the easier.
4. Painting Pictures: You hear about it again and again; mentally putting someone in a hotel suite by describing its charms firsthand is the golden ticket. Start sharpening your storytelling skills now.
5. Always Available: Some of our superstars cited their 24/7 access as the amenity that makes them invaluable to their clients.
6. Balancing Basics: Meanwhile, some noted that setting boundaries on when they’re available made them better travel advisors; they use technology to make their lives easier and no longer sit at their desks 12 hours a day.
7. Managing Emotions: Some savvy trendsetters said they realize that consumers are used to getting immediate answers from the Internet. But when they take the time to explain that they’re working with suppliers in foreign countries to set up custom experiences, the client “gets it” and is willing to patiently await a response.
8. Drawing on the Past: Nearly every trendsetter has experience from another field and doesn’t hesitate to use their expertise. Former attorneys use their precision in writing up contracts and itineraries, those who were in sales or who ran businesses apply their organizational skills to crafting winning business plans.
9. Ultimate Experts: Those who immerse themselves into a niche or destination are well prepped to sell that over-the-top vacation to an edgy client who wants to buy right away. In one case, trendsetter Michelle Miller sold an African safari for an entire family to a walk-in client who had retired from Silicon Valley two days prior.
10. Passion Pays Off: Loving a particular destination, a hotel brand, a niche, means you’ll delve into and learn more about it during your spare time and that will translate into incremental sales.