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How to Work
Your Online Travel Leads
Michael Cottam
President, Visual Itineraries
9 April 2015
2
Agenda
 A little bit about Michael
 What makes an internet lead different
 Top mistakes when working internet leads
...
3
About Michael
4
About Michael
 Co-founded TheBigDay honeymoon registry
 Started in 2001; sold in 2008
 Dispatching leads to 130+ trav...
5
Internet Leads are Different
 They’re not monogamous
 They’re talking to other travel agents too
 They’re also shoppi...
6
How They Shop
 It’s like they’re walking through
stores at the mall, flipping over
price tags on whatever catches
their...
7
How They Learn
 They found YOU on the internet
 Because they like to search, learn, explore
online
 Pictures & videos...
8
Top mistakes
 Getting quotes for clients who aren’t ready
 Failing to establish your credibility
 Failing to establis...
9
Best Practices:
Make it Personal!
10
Best Practices - Personal
 Get personal
 Your photo: on your website, in your emails
 Let them hear your voice: get ...
11
Best Practices - Pricing
 Educate them on how pricing works:
 They don’t know about price matching
 They think booki...
12
Best Practices - Credibility
 Establish your credibility
 They haven’t read your
bio—they were looking at
the awesome...
13
Best Practices – Your Value
 Educate them on your value:
 Your contacts at the destination
 Handling re-bookings/cha...
14
Best Practices – The Process
 Be clear on the process:
 We’re going to establish a rough budget
 I’m going to learn ...
15
Best Practices:
Show me! Show me! Show me!
16
Best Practices – Visual Tools
 Use visual tools to show the client choices
 Photos, videos, virtual tours, maps, etc....
17
Best Practices – Your Tools
 Use online tools to get specials/rough
pricing quickly, early in the sales process
 Use ...
18
Best Practices – Your Tools
 Use CRM tools or a system to organize your
work with each client
 ClientBase, Outlook fo...
19
Summary
 Build the relationship: make it personal
 Educate the client early
 Don’t quote till it’s really time
 Lev...
20
Questions?
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How to work online travel leads

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Slides from a webinar I did for Destination Wedding and Honeymoon Specialists Association (DWHSA) members, April 9th, 2015. The video recording of the webinar is here http://dwhsa.com/upcoming-webinars/dwhsa-webinars-how-to-work-with-online-leads-visual-itineraries/(but you need to be a DWHSA member to access it).

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How to work online travel leads

  1. 1. How to Work Your Online Travel Leads Michael Cottam President, Visual Itineraries 9 April 2015
  2. 2. 2 Agenda  A little bit about Michael  What makes an internet lead different  Top mistakes when working internet leads  Best practices for working internet leads
  3. 3. 3 About Michael
  4. 4. 4 About Michael  Co-founded TheBigDay honeymoon registry  Started in 2001; sold in 2008  Dispatching leads to 130+ travel agents  Measured EVERYTHING against close rates  Founded Visual Itineraries  Started in 2010  Almost 400 agents using these tools  Truckloads of lessons learned!
  5. 5. 5 Internet Leads are Different  They’re not monogamous  They’re talking to other travel agents too  They’re also shopping direct, and via OTAs  They have no loyalty to you (at least at first)  It’s like online dating for them  They won’t initially see your value  Unless you educate them:  It’s all about price  Booking through an agent costs more
  6. 6. 6 How They Shop  It’s like they’re walking through stores at the mall, flipping over price tags on whatever catches their eye  Generally when they ask “how much”:  They don’t REALLY want a quote/itinerary  They’re trying to figure out what’s there that they like and is in their price range  What’s a good close rate on “new to you” leads?
  7. 7. 7 How They Learn  They found YOU on the internet  Because they like to search, learn, explore online  Pictures & videos matter  Reviews matter  Most people seem to understand the quality issues with TripAdvisor, Google reviews, etc.  FYI: www.oyster.com
  8. 8. 8 Top mistakes  Getting quotes for clients who aren’t ready  Failing to establish your credibility  Failing to establish your value vs. OTAs  Not recognizing where they are in the process  They often will ask about specific resorts before they’ve decided on the destination  Spending too much time assembling “brochures”  Trying to show them resorts without sending them to the resorts’ websites  Not giving enough info on the resorts  So clients go to Google, find the resort, book direct or with an OTA
  9. 9. 9 Best Practices: Make it Personal!
  10. 10. 10 Best Practices - Personal  Get personal  Your photo: on your website, in your emails  Let them hear your voice: get them on the phone  Even better: use Skype  Ask, ask, and ask again  Seeing you & hearing you makes you human!
  11. 11. 11 Best Practices - Pricing  Educate them on how pricing works:  They don’t know about price matching  They think booking direct must be cheaper  They don’t understand taxes, airport fees, etc. (what’s included/what’s not)
  12. 12. 12 Best Practices - Credibility  Establish your credibility  They haven’t read your bio—they were looking at the awesome overwater bungalow  Be brief, but impress them!  Destination training & certifications  FAM trips/site inspections
  13. 13. 13 Best Practices – Your Value  Educate them on your value:  Your contacts at the destination  Handling re-bookings/changes/etc.  “I wish all the hotels looked as good as they do in their pictures”  When problems happen, which clients get bumped?  Get an expert & personal assistant at little or no extra cost  Tell stories of how you’ve helped clients in a bind
  14. 14. 14 Best Practices – The Process  Be clear on the process:  We’re going to establish a rough budget  I’m going to learn your style, likes & dislikes, what’s most important to you  I’ll show you many places I recommend  Give you an idea of nightly rates/airfare ranges  Let you whittle it down to a few that feel just right  Once you have it narrowed down:  Now, I’ll look for specials, best pricing, etc. from all my various suppliers
  15. 15. 15 Best Practices: Show me! Show me! Show me!
  16. 16. 16 Best Practices – Visual Tools  Use visual tools to show the client choices  Photos, videos, virtual tours, maps, etc.  They’ll usually do a little bit of reading, but a whole lot of looking  Try not to send them to the resorts’ websites  But expect that they will go there themselves anyway  Give plenty of choices at first (5 or even 10!)  If you use VI, put all the resorts in 1 itinerary so they can look at them side-by-side
  17. 17. 17 Best Practices – Your Tools  Use online tools to get specials/rough pricing quickly, early in the sales process  Use online pricing from your favorite supplier to get an idea  If you use VI, use the travel specials search tool:
  18. 18. 18 Best Practices – Your Tools  Use CRM tools or a system to organize your work with each client  ClientBase, Outlook folders, calendar reminders  Don’t wait for them to get back to you  Follow up more than you think you should  If you use VI, use the reminders tool
  19. 19. 19 Summary  Build the relationship: make it personal  Educate the client early  Don’t quote till it’s really time  Leverage tools:  Be more professional  Keep the client excited about their options  Spend less time pushing paper/emails, and you can work more leads at once
  20. 20. 20 Questions?

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