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AMANDA MATTHEWS, managing director,
Designer Travel, Ramsbottom
“Be sure you work with suppliers you feel
comfortable with. It’s tempting to stick
offers in the window, but that’s not what
we’re about. I would rather run with
promotions such as ‘start your holiday in
style’ offering lounge access for clients at
the airport.”
NICK MCKAY, manager, Travel Designers,
“There is still a lot of disposable income out
there, we just have to put a positive slant on
things and suggest to them why a holiday
would be good for them and that they
shouldn’t feel guilty about it. I had to tell a
customer the other day that I couldn’t get
her last-minute seats in premium class to
Mauritius as they just weren’t available –
even on a booking worth £32,000.”
PAUL RICE, partner, Off Broadway Travel,
“It’s key to remember that small but
important things can make all the
difference. I will definitely be looking more
at profile building, sending welcome home
cards, remembering birthdays and generally
polishing the service we offer.”
GEOFF BLAGG, owner, Holt Travel, Holt,
It may sound a little like a James Bond spy magazines as possible. Nuggets of informa- Norfolk
mission, but good luxury agents get to know tion plant seeds and spark interest in clients “Raise ambitions – both of staff and of
every relevant detail and build a profile of – from knowing about a new rooftop bar in clients – about what they want from their
clients – what car they drive, the watch Singapore to new hotel openings. The more holiday. You can learn from editorial trends
they wear, their children’s favourite toys and you know, the better you sell,” she says. – but research it for yourself and don’t just
TV programmes. They know key dates of Going the extra mile is also key. But regurgitate without understanding the ideas
all family birthdays and anniversaries and putting requests in for your clients with you’re suggesting to clients. People will pay
pre-empt them – they know what kind of hotels and suppliers can potentially be a premium if they know they are being
food clients like to eat, the restaurants they fraught with difficulties, which is where looked after, but you musn’t fail them or
like and their favourite chefs. strong relationships have to come in. take them for granted.”
“This helps conversation, to tailor their “It’s up to you to forge that strong bond
holiday needs and provide sales opportuni- with hoteliers and operators to make sure
ties,” said Kathryn. “But keep these records the client is kept happy. Remember that you
– it’s no good members of staff just having are the custodian of the relationship, so you
this in their heads or on scribbled notes. If have to protect it,” says Thomas.
they’re not around or new staff join or staff Ben Elliot, founder of concierge service
leave, you don’t want to lose the knowledge Quintessentially – which also includes
on the client.” travel arranging – advises hiring “brilliant,
bright, enthusiastic people”, although he says
Market knowledge staff must be inspired to go the extra mile.
“Knowledge is king” is another of Kathryn’s If you’re looking to turn your customer
mantras. “Product awareness and refreshing into an ambassador for your service, Elliot
yourself to gain new insight is everything. I advises: “We always ask ourselves, ‘have we
read whatever I can get my hands on and done enough for that client’, to ensure the
as many travel publications and glossy request was met and exceeded.”
05.12.2008 45
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