I’m sure we’ve all been here, at some point or another (I know I have): You check into your hotel room and, there, waiting for you on the coffee table or desk is a welcome bottle of champagne — or maybe some fruit and nuts, or chocolates; it could be anything. Except you don’t drink, or maybe you have a nut allergy or are lactose intolerant. It seems like a nice gesture — but is it, actually?

I recently had a conversation with April Schmitt, founder and CEO of Travel by Divine and Divine Destination Weddings & Honeymoons, who was sharing some tips on creating the perfect romantic vacation, one of them being “remind the couple you care.” This can be something as simple as the welcome card you ask the hotel to leave in their room or an amenity you ask for; it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, but it must show thoughtfulness.

Matt Turner at ECO Lifestyle & Lodge in Barbados
Matt Turner at ECO Lifestyle & Lodge in Barbados, where he
attended the Caribbean Travel Marketplace.
(Photo by Matt Turner)

When writing a welcome card for a client, make it personal by including information about what they have planned for the trip and be sure to mention their reason for traveling. For instance: “Welcome to your dream honeymoon! Tomorrow’s a big day: You’re going to enjoy a private tour at Vatican. And I can’t wait to hear about your dinner at La Pergola — the food and views are amazing.”

And if you’re going to ask the hotel to supply an amenity — whether it’s a bottle of champagne, some chocolates or anything else — be sure that it’s something the client would want (so make sure you screen your clients for things like food preferences, allergies and what they drink). It doesn’t necessarily have to be a food item. Maybe your clients are big readers, so you’ve asked the hotel to supply them with a book that was written in or about the destination. Or, perhaps, you’ve had a framed photo of their dog set on the nightstand because you know they’re going to miss him while they’re away. Perhaps your clients are “foodies,” but instead of a bowl of fruit, you’ve asked the concierge to pick up some popular local snacks. None of these are big to-dos, but that’s the point: Use your relationship with the client and your creativity to offer them something truly special. It will make a world of difference.

My favorite tip from Schmitt, however, was that she leaves a thank-you note for clients on their final night of a trip. “Thank them for their business … thank them for allowing you to be a part of this very special trip for them, and that goes a long way,” she said. “People may not remember the welcome card, but they will remember the last one.”

Again, it’s such a simple gesture but I’m sure it makes a world of difference to your clients, knowing their travel advisor was there with them, every step of the way. No matter how much money a client can spend, their vacations are important to them, and they just want to make sure that you, their travel advisor, have their best interest in mind. These thoughtful gestures will show your clients how much you care about their travel experiences — and them — and will go a long way in building a lasting relationship.

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