Travel agents are in a unique place in the holiday market. There is a high demand for travel and a frenzy of last-minute opportunities. The holiday season is also the perfect time to touch base with your entire client list, whether they are traveling or not. Holidays are a busy time for most travel agents, coordinating multiple client trips and working to prepare your business for the new year.
Get ready for a busy holiday season with these tips:
1. Stay Healthy for the Holidays
First and foremost, commit to staying healthy. Your clients need your help over the holidays, but you also need to take time for family and business planning. So plan to be at the top of your game in terms of personal energy and focus.
Keep your diet clean and full of nutrients, get enough sleep, stay committed to your exercise routine, and try to limit your indulgence in holiday treats. This will put you in the best state of mind to multitask so you can both enjoy the holidays and keep up with your clients at the same time.
2. Build a 'Holiday Card List' of Clients and Contacts
The holiday season is a time of communication and touching base with old friends and contacts. The tradition of the holiday card list is simply a list of people who get seasons greetings. Your business should have a list of clients as well as a list of vendor contacts who all get a warm season's greetings from their favorite travel agency.
Send the same pleasant message to everyone or customize each one -- you know your clients best. Just send a positive message and open invitation to work together again to everyone in your contact list. These small gestures help you stand out and stay top-of-mind.
3. Send Warm Regards and Digital Gifts
You can also send holiday gifts to your clients and warm regards for their families. One of the best ways to make a positive impression during the holidays is to simply send a gift. Write a gracious holiday message thanking clients for working with you in the past and wishing them a happy holiday. Combine it with even a small digital gift and your warm message can become one of many gifts they remember during their holiday experience.
Digital gifts can be small and universal, like an Amazon gift card or a sponsored app download. Everyone enjoys receiving gifts on the holidays, and this simple act will build your client-agent relationship.
4. Promote Staycation Packages
For clients who are not traveling away from home this year, consider promoting staycation packages. A staycation is an exploration of a client's home city as if they were a tourist. Your clients will have a blast staying in local hotels and visiting the museums and attractions that locals often never go see.
For small households having a private holiday, offer romantic or luxurious short staycation experiences. This works particularly well when good deals appear because venues want to fill at the last minute. For whole gathered families, offer one-day guided family explorations of the host's city. Staycation packages can sell your services to clients even if they aren't leaving home but want some special holiday fun.
5. Offer Mid-Trip Services
When you send your season's greetings, you have no way of knowing where a client might be in their holiday. Clients who are currently traveling, or have already planned their family-related travel, might benefit from your services mid-trip. A mid-trip service might include planning one family day.
Or you might rebook a hotel and reserve one restaurant for your client away from home, even if they didn't initially plan with you. Mid-trip services are another way to optimize the holiday season.
6. Track Holiday Travel Savings Opportunities
Travel during the holidays is hectic partly because prices can change at the last minute. Prices can rocket or drop based on demand and last-minute openings. Stay attentive to how the prices are changing day-to-day, both for last-minute deals and how prices are fluctuating on the calendar ahead.
You may be able to save your clients a significant amount of money by recommending suddenly-discounted experiences and luxuries. You may catch a deal for plane tickets or upgrade your clients to a better hotel room. Or you may find great opportunities for family attractions or great deals for a reservation dinner.
7. Ask About Travel Plans in the New Year
With the new year, everyone's mind shifts to future plans. Travel agents should be making plans to improve business in the coming year. Your clients may be thinking about trips they plan to take later on. Send a cheerful and energetic message wishing Happy New Year. Then invite them to send a message if they have upcoming travel plans within the next year. It's a time for looking forward, and as a travel agent, it's also the perfect time for you to start building an itinerary and watching for great booking opportunities.
8. Remember to Enjoy Yourself
The holidays may be a busy time for a travel agency, but you're also a person with your own personal life and beloved holiday traditions. Remember to take time for yourself and your family. Set clear boundaries and build your schedule around both sets of obligations. From there, you can really relax during family time. Kick back, eat a few cookies, and enjoy your holiday. Make plenty of time for your family and be sure to take care of yourself individually as well. Not only will you enjoy this holiday more, but your own happiness will enhance the genuine warmth when you reach out to clients.
Travel agents are often busy during the holidays, but a little forethought goes a long way. You can enjoy your own holiday traditions and take care of clients. The three things to consider are taking care of your clients, preparing your business for next year, and your personal holiday time with family. Simply check off each stage of the holidays as you take care of promotions and proceed through the holidays toward the New Year. Contact us today to find out more about optimizing your travel agent business and how to be a great independent agent.