How to Be High-Touch in a High-Tech World
Technology has transformed the travel industry but no matter how high-tech it becomes, the basics of selling vacations still remain. Travel advisors need to be high-touch, personal and knowledgeable with their clients. They need to be the experts.
Maintaining the high-touch aspects of selling of travel in a high-tech way is a delicate balance and something that Cruise Planners excels at.
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Cruise Planners suggests that its agents engage with clients when they have something of value to offer such as a specific trip or a promotion. The host agency also recommends reminding clients when it’s been a year since their last booking and that maybe they should consider traveling again.
Advisors should send something that will make the client feel understood and that is a valuable use of their time—and now Cruise Planners agents can do this in a high-tech, easy way.
One of the ways that Cruise Planners makes this easy for its advisors is by using triggered emails and hot lists, automated communications that keep the agent’s name in front of their client so that they can devote more time to more personalized communication.
CP Maxx is an innovative proprietary technology offered to Cruise Planners advisors that is designed to handle bookings, accounting and reporting, and Hot Lists is a new tool that is offered within it. It automatically generates lists of hot sales opportunities for clients in an agent’s database based on certain criteria such as milestone birthdays and anniversaries, those who haven’t booked in the last 12 months and those clients who have an open onboard future cruise deposit.
The tool gives advisors the option of personalizing an eCard for the client or an eCard can be automatically sent to the list of Hot Lists clients each month.
Another way advisors can keep in touch with clients is through triggered emails that are automatically sent to clients throughout the life of a booking. There are up to nine emails for cruise bookings and up to seven emails for tour bookings and they are sent on the agent’s behalf.
This helps agents develop a dialogue with clients throughout the life of the booking, without much effort from the advisor, leaving them time to continue making sales and growing their business.
Continually reaching out to clients means they are reminded to book shore excursions, purchase travel insurance and ensure that passports are up-to-date. The tool also reminds clients about the benefits of rebooking during their vacation, generating even more commission dollars.
Triggered emails include thank yous for all bookings, upcoming payment reminders, “last chance” emails for travel insurance and more.
Other high-touch communication offerings from Cruise Planners include an eCard builder in CP Maxx, a chat feature that allows advisors to chat automatically with clients using their website and weekly eNewsletters from CruisePlanners.
Of course, travel agents are always encouraged to use traditional forms of communication—phone calls, personal emails, paper cards—to recognize and get in touch with clients. Some agents have even created their own travel clubs in their community to further develop face-to-face communications with clients and create an ongoing dialogue.
For advice, Cruise Planners advisors have a business development coach who works with them to develop an execute their sales and marketing plan as well as helping them implement best practices for running their business.
In addition to advice on how to proactively reach out and follow up with clients, these coaches assist with the high-tech aspects, including pulling reports on clients in the database that would be best to contact for promotions and special offers.