Once you have a client, what do you do next? Your job is then to find out the client’s wants, needs, and expectations. This is called Qualifying the Client.
Qualifying the client means that you ask in-depth, information-seeking questions in order to give your clients a vacation that will be within the parameters of their budget but also meet or exceed their expectations. When you qualify the client, it isn’t a Q & A session but more of a fluid conversation. Be attentive to what they are saying as your whole conversation will lead you in the right direction as to what type of vacation they are looking for.
· Do you have particular dates in mind?
· How many people will be going?
· What are the ages of the children?
· Have you ever cruised before?
· Have you been to Vegas before?
Fact-based questions will help with the logistical side of your planning process.
Example: Susie has a family of 6, 2 parents and 4 kids ages 14, 12, 9, and 7. Knowing this information you know that Susie’s family is going to need either a 2 to 3 bedroom suite, connecting rooms, or to split up in to 2 separate rooms.
· When at the beach, do you typically swim and play in the ocean a lot or just get in for a bit to cool off?
· Do you have any “must haves” while on vacation?
· What type of activities does your family like to do while on vacation?
· Is a nightlife important to you?
· Do you like to have sit-down dinners on vacation where you dress up or do you prefer to be more casual?
Experience-based questions will help you decide on things like level of service, destination, and room category.
Example: David tells you that since they have small children, 24-hour room service is a must for his family. Knowing this information will help you to weed out entry-level resorts that do not offer room service.
· Tell me about your favorite vacation.
· What are some destinations that are on your Bucket List?
· What does your dream honeymoon look like?
Emotionally-based questions will help you to create that dream vacation. The information you receive from these questions will be the information that allows you to exceed expectations and to Raise the Bar for your clients.
Example: Sarah has always dreamed of going to Tahiti for her honeymoon and staying in an over-the-water bungalow. She has done some research, though, and knows that she cannot afford the $15,000 price tag. Sarah doesn’t know, though, that there are over-the-water bungalows in both Mexico & Jamaica and she can afford to go to either one. By listening to Sarah’s wants, needs, and desires you are now able to make her dream honeymoon come true.
When starting in the travel industry there are different schools of thought on if you should ask for a budget. Having a realistic budget in mind is going to save you a lot of time and energy when it comes to the quoting process. You may not have to come right out and ask, “What is your budget?”. Often times with experienced travelers, you are going to know the budget range in the information that they have given you during the Qualifying process.
Example: Josh wants to take his wife on a Mediterranean Cruise for their 25th wedding anniversary. They have done several river cruises and have traveled extensively. When they travel to the Caribbean they only stay in 5 star hotels with ocean front rooms and either butler or concierge service. Knowing this information, you automatically know that Josh is not a budget traveler. You will know to start looking at high-end, luxury cruises such as Regent, Silverseas, Oceania.
Many times when it comes to budget, people honestly don’t know how much a trip will cost. You will have people throw out a crazy number just because they truly don’t know.
Example: Sally wants to go to Mexico for 7 nights for $500 per person. This is just not feasible. It is your job to educate your client on the true cost. $500 is a lot of money but when you consider roundtrip air fare, transportation, all food, drinks, taxes, and entertainment for 7 nights . . .it really isn’t that much.
· How are you used to traveling?
· What are some of your past vacation likes and dislikes?
· Are you looking for a more intimate experience or would you prefer more action and nightlife?
· Is room service important to you?
· What are your favorite foods?
· Do you have any food allergies?
· What type of water activities do you like?
· Is beach service important to you?
· Would you consider yourself a beach person or pool person?
· Are you a scuba diver? Will you be diving on vacation?
1. Go to VAX>Education>Supplier Education. There is a “Preparing for a Travel Career” webinar with several dates available. If possible, try to watch this video.
2. Continue with Disney College of Knowledge.
3. If you have completed the Disney College of Knowledge, start on the AM Resorts Master Agent Certification. Contact Brian to get you started.
Brian Matthews 573.270.2999 Brian@RTBTravel.com