What to Tell Your Client Now

Travel Agent
Photo by AIMSTOCK/Vetta/Getty Images

How often do you try to make your client feel like they’re one of a kind and deserving of the best? All the time, right? Here’s a wake-up call: you need to tell some of them that they’re not as special as they think they are.

These would be your procrastinators who want you to do your magic at the last minute, even though you’ve been trying to get them to commit for months.

You know who I’m talking about, right?

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Ruthanne Terrero

Sit these lovely folks down, give them something cold to drink, look them straight in the eye and tell them that there are other affluent people out there who like to travel, too. The only difference is these other affluent people are also really good at planning ahead. Explain to your procrastinators that these plan-ahead people are the ones getting the top hotel suites and penthouses on the luxury cruise lines, and they’re securing guaranteed departures with small groups to amazing places. And they don’t have any stress over where they’re going to spend their life-changing vacation, because they made up their mind ages ago to commit to this very important, very expensive experience.

You know the scenario all too well. Your client in question agonizes over making decisions. They debate whether they even want to go to the destination in question, and if they even want to travel in July. They mull the trip over and over again with their spouse and that process alone takes months. When they finally call you to book that trip to Iceland that departs in just three weeks, you have to give them a rude awakening: The inventory for that trip is long gone, just as you warned it would be.

You might consider likening the situation to that in the Realtor.com commercial where a couple shows up to buy the house of their dreams but the early bird couple who scouted it out ahead of time is already hosting their housewarming party in it. When it comes to fabulous, there are only so many things to go around.

Luxury Travel Advisor just hosted its first ULTRA Trendsetters conference, where advisor attendees told us that their biggest challenge this year is getting access to the top suites on ships and in hotels because their clients make their travel decisions too close in to their desired date of departure.

“There are only so many top suites in each destination. Some do not understand they are competing for space with people who have similar or higher resources at their disposal,” said one luxury travel advisor.

Another issue? Finding slots on intimate-sized trips to exotic locales. Yacht charters, villas, private plane charters and helicopter tours to remote areas are also rare commodities and, like that dream house, are not easily replaced by something similar.

This scarcity dynamic is amplified when you consider that top luxury travel advisors are accruing more referral business than ever before. Their client roster is bursting with like-minded, super-affluent consumers willing to pay a lot for extremely special experiences. These same folks are feeling confident because of the strong stock market and they have a pent-up demand to travel, which means the luxury travel advisor has their hands full when it comes to securing luxury accommodations in popular locales.

So what’s a travel advisor to do? Scope out alternate destinations, research land operators and suppliers who have access to amazing experiences and venues, but above all, speak to your clients about the importance of planning early, which often means a year out, or even earlier if the opportunity really is unique. It’s a big world, filled with many very special people and they need to know where they fit in.

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