Planting a Seed

Cultivate Your Clients & Reap the Rewards

The travel business is all about relationships. As a trusted travel advisor you have the wonderful opportunity to cultivate your connection with your clients year round, letting them know how much you appreciate their loyalty, listening to their ideas and aspirations, and offering guidance and advice to help them realize their travel dreams.

To turn to a gardening metaphor, you are planting a seed, adding just the right amount of sun and water, and nurturing the seedling while it grows into a sturdy perennial plant that will reward you with beautiful flowers year after year. Identifying a variety of ways to stay connected with your clients (the seeds) and investing time in making those connections (the sun and water and nurturing) yields a loyal client (the perennial flower) who will turn to you for your expertise and assistance when they are next ready to travel.

There are numerous ways to stay in touch with clients and it’s important to develop a workable plan that you can implement throughout the year so that you don’t lose any opportunities to connect, build and solidify your relationships. You’ll no doubt come up with your own list, but to get you started consider the following examples:

• During the holiday season, plan to send a Christmas, Hanukkah or New Year’s card, but go a step further and add a personal note with a heartfelt message to let your clients know that you are thinking about them and appreciate them.

• Newsletters and blogs are great ways to stay in touch and keep your clients updated on a variety of topics, such as new destinations you’d recommend, upcoming promotions, not-to-be-missed cultural experiences, and travel tips and trends. Plan to send these out on a regular basis — for instance, once a month or four times a year.

• Virtual tours are an excellent way for your clients to experience a country or an attraction before booking a trip. If you have a client who has mentioned a dream destination, email them a link to a virtual tour to keep them excited and to let them know you are thinking about them. Books, movies and recipe suggestions for the country they are interested in might also be welcome.

• Stay in touch with repeat clients by sending them a small gift. It could be something as simple as a pretty notepad imprinted with your name and contact information or more elaborate like a selection of cheeses from a country they’ve visited before or are hoping to visit in the future.

• A personal phone call is always welcome. You and your client can chat about their family, their future travel plans and any concerns they have, reassuring them that you are there for them. Reaching out in this personal way helps your client feel appreciated and heard. And understanding what’s on their mind will help you plan the best trip for them when they are ready to travel again.

Staying in touch with your clients year round lets them know that you care, that you value them and their business, and will be ready to assist them with all their travel needs. Returning again to the garden metaphor: if you cultivate the seeds of client relationships throughout the year, you will reap a crop of loyal and appreciative clients.