Do your tailormade holidays need to be tailor made?
In a former role at an award-winning luxury tailormade travel company, on my initial telephone call with clients, I would explain that their holiday would be “entirely tailor-made”, even though most of the time that wasn’t entirely true. What I mean is that whilst we customise a client’s holiday plan around them, from the right style of hotel to select restaurant bookings, most of the building blocks we use for the actual itinerary remain the same from client to client.
We use trusted hotels visited on familiarisation trips and favour those that receive glowing feedback from clients. We have a portfolio of must-do experiences per destination and we use the same health and safety checked transfer and car hire companies. We understand the importance of getting the pace of the holiday right. If you have all your content loaded into an IT platform, you have all those building blocks at the ready. Easily imported at a click of a button, with just a few tweaks you have an impressive looking tailor-made itinerary.
Having an IT platform to store your building blocks also allows you to think smarter about how you sell holidays to potential clients. Why not send sample itineraries for holidays that have worked well for clients in the past to inspire and impress, and you can also create pre-defined packages ready to go at a click of a button. When I had a quiet period or was launching a new destination, I’d create packages for my top selling destinations in my IT platform which I named my ‘signature itineraries’. These were my itineraries that generated the highest level of margin and offered the best experience for my clients.
Hotels and suppliers in my signature collection were my trusted partners who delivered the service I needed on the ground, gave me favourable commission, and most offered something extra in return for marketing their hotel as one of my favourites. It could be a room upgrade or a celebratory bottle of champagne for my clients on arrival. This isn’t to say that I couldn’t tweak the holidays to reverse the order, change the odd hotel choice and add some unique activities to ensure my clients holiday was just right for them, but essentially the building blocks remained the same. For a busy travel consultant, working in a platform is a real efficiency gain compared with manual alternatives. Quotes can go out faster, and look really slick.
While enquiry levels are typically low in our industry, there’s never been a better time to load your selection of hotels and activities to build your inventory, and perhaps consider crafting a few pre-defined packages with your trusted suppliers, that you can use to inspire your clients to start thinking about their next adventure.
The author has over a decade’s experience in the industry, specialising in luxury, tailormade experiential travel. Having worked across sales, product purchasing, and business development, she believes great systems and processes are the essential building blocks of a successful travel company whatever the size