Jamie Biesiada
Jamie Biesiada

Jamie Biesiada is on leave. This insight originally appeared in the Home-based Agent eNewsletter April 22, 2019.

Want to cultivate a lifelong client? Plan their life of travel.

That's one bit of advice Marett Taylor, vice president of sales for Abercrombie & Kent (A&K), gave to agents during Signature Travel Network's recent Luxury Summit in Dallas.

"Historically, people were taking milestone trips as a couple [for] their anniversary, or maybe they were doing something on their own to celebrate a big birthday," Taylor said. "Now, they're taking the whole family."

Those children are going to make up what is, arguably, the most well-traveled generation the industry has ever seen, Taylor said.

"I think you can transfer from being just travel advisors to full, lifelong experience portfolio advisors," she said.

Taylor advised agents to discuss creating a travel plan for the next 20 years, maybe even looping in someone like a financial planner. Then, suggest the right trip for the right time in the clients' lives.

She used a couple as an example. For the honeymoon, Taylor suggested recommending a long-haul trip like Africa or Southeast Asia. In their "adventure years," before they have children, she suggested something more venturesome, like summiting Mount Kilimanjaro or swimming on the Great Barrier Reef.

Once children are in the picture, start building their experience portfolios with things like family trips to Japan or the Galapagos. When the children become teens, mix in some adventure to keep them interested, or perhaps send them to trace their family's roots abroad.

As the children enter their career years and they and their parents are juggling multiple schedules and the children's children, Taylor suggested products like A&K's Wings Over the World. The private air journeys visit multiple countries in a short amount of time. Then, she said, comes the original couple's retirement, when they can enjoy the luxury of time. That is when they should look to things like an Arctic adventure.

Some other tips from Taylor:

Qualify your clients well so you know what their motivation to travel is. That could help determine where you send them. Taylor used the example of a client looking to go on their first safari. If they want to sleep in a tent under the stars, she would recommend one part of Africa, but if they want to mix spa and wine experiences into the trip, she would probably recommend another.

"Their vision is really important when qualifying," she said.

Taylor also recommended including upgrade options within itineraries. Book the hotels and inclusions your clients want, but offer them potential upgrades, as well.

"It shows your creativity," she said, "and often, they'll want to buy them because you presented them."

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