IC Travel Agent January 2014


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The How-To Magazine for ICs, OSRs & Home-Based Travel Agents

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IC Travel Agent January 2014

  2. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS – IC JANUARY 2014 4 EDITORIAL: THE YEAR OF LUXURY SALES 5 ARE YOU ON THE LIST? 6 GOING FOR DELUXE 8 THE LUXURY TRAVELLER 10 DIY LUXURY FITS 12 LUXURY CONNECTIONS 13 LUXURY AFFILIATES 14 6TH SENSE SELLING 16 LUXURY WORDS 17 JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI 18 LUXURY SALES PLANNING PAGE 19 THE BEST TRAVEL VIDEOS 20 THE NEW RETAIL AGENCY 22 TOOLS: EMAIL SERVICES 23 TOOLS: EMAIL SPAM TEST 24 TOOLS: CRAZY EGG 25 TOOLS: CRUISE PREP KIT 26 TOOLS: SYSTEM RESTORE 27 TOOLS: INTERNET ARCHIVE 28 RESOURCES: LUXURY TRAVEL ADVISOR MAGAZINE 31 SELLING TRAVEL WITH STEVE 32 THE TRAVEL INSTITUTE 33 LET’S TALK ABOUT TRAINING! Advertising in IC-TravelAgent reaches the serious business-minded travel agent. Promote your products and services via video, audio or generic text and images. IC TravelAgent is marketed direct to over 4,000 travel agents plus thousands more via social media channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, SlideShare, trade contacts, partners and educational institutions. Your ad includes a BONUS How-to-Sell article. Full page rates range from $300 to $425 based on number of insertions. If it’s not yet 5pm where you live, you still have time to make one more call, close one more sale or send one more promotion! Selling travel from home does not have to be a puzzle when you read IC! Find the host agency that best suits your needs. Share your money making ideas in IC and help your IC colleagues. CONTACT Steve Crowhurst steve@ic-travelagent.com 250-738-0064 www.ic-travelagent.com Publisher: SMP Training Co. www.smptraining.com Contributors Steve Crowhurst IC TRAVEL AGENT is owned and published by Steve Crowhurst, SMP Training Co. All Rights Reserved. Protected by International Copyright Law. IC TRAVEL AGENT can be shared, forwarded, cut and pasted but not sold, resold or in anyway monetized. Using any images or content from IC TRAVEL AGENT must be sourced as follows: “Copyright SMP Training Co. www.smptraining.com” SMP Training Co. 568 Country Club Drive, Qualicum Beach, BC, Canada, V9K-1G1 Note: Steve Crowhurst is not responsible for outcomes based on how you interpret or use the ideas in IC TRAVEL AGENT. T: 250-738-0064.
  3. 3. TRUE SUPPORT FOR TRUE PROFESSIONALS At Nexion Canada, we know that you are passionate about your travel business. So we provide you with the professional support and industry relationships you need to be more profitable and efficient, giving you the freedom to run your travel business the best way: your way. A full-service host agency combining decades of experience, Nexion Canada provides independent, Canadian-based travel professionals of all experience levels with: • • • • • • • • • Your choice of up to 80% of commissions Top commissions with leading air, cruise and land suppliers Technology tools to better manage your business Access to our exclusive point-and-click booking engine or through the Amadeus, Sabre or Galileo GDS systems Training, coaching and networking opportunities Innovative marketing programs to grow your business Exclusive cruise block space and supplier offers Lead generation for qualified agents Vacation.com membership included at no additional charge! It’s time to join a family of professionals that truly supports your independent business dreams. It’s time to join Nexion Canada. Contact us today to learn more about our growing family of travel professionals. Visit www.Join.NexionCanada.com Email sales@nexioncanada.com Call 866-399-9989 MENTION THAT YOU SAW US IN IC AGENT MAGAZINE AND RECEIVE YOUR FIRST MONTH FREE! 10131503-Nexion_Ad.indd 1 10/29/13 2:18 PM
  4. 4. Steve Crowhurst, CTC, Publisher HAPPY NEW YEAR… The Year of Luxury Sales The Year of Luxury Sales. Focused on selling deluxe. What a joy it is to make one or two sales and then take the year off! Now that’s living in the right lane. The challenge is, while you wait for your ship to come in, and that would be one of those honking great floating cities, the sleek around-the-worlder has slipped its moorings and left port. The message being if you try too hard to land the big one, you’ll miss the smaller sales and quite possibly starve in the process. Selling luxury is all about style, content, manner, etiquette in sales and marketing, pricing, value, features (wealthy clients already know the benefits) and looking like you can take a cheque for more than $5,000. The comment, “looking like” refers to everything about your presence in the market place. You need to exude luxury selling confidence. Look deluxe. Now’s the time to give your website a deluxe makeover. Your social media promotions too. Where you place your ads might need a revamp. If you like to dress in a refined manner, now’s the time. Put that pearl necklace on for your studio image shots. Same thing for any photographs taken of you onboard a cruise, gazing out from a hotel balcony and doing what it is you want to promote to an upscale clientele. Lose the pearls for the safari shot and go with mud on the face. Not all luxury travel is purchased by the rich and wealthy. Your ‘average’ client has saved for years to spend $20,000 on a dream trip. Some have benefited from the trickle down inheritance that aging parents are leaving behind them. There’s money in the market and there are more than the rich who need your deluxe selling skills. So it’s down to revamping your presence in the local marketplace and also your international online presence too. Are you ready? Let’s go sell deluxe. Here’s to your continued success! Click me and Opt-in to the NEW mailing list for SMP. Best regards. Steve Crowhurst, CTC steve@ic-travelagent.com www.ic-travelagent.com Page 4
  5. 5. Are You On The List? Our mailing list is now open and ready to take your name and email address. If you’re on the list you’ll be notified in advance of store opening specials. www.thetravelagentsstore.com OPENING MID-JANUARY 2014 Page 5
  6. 6. Going For Deluxe Sounds wonderful does it not? Deluxe. Luxury. Upscale. Top notch. Bespoke. This just has to be the niche segment to service. And with that thought in mind, many a travel agent has waited to land the big one and gone out of business doing so. Going for luxury requires more than a tour with a huge price tag. Here’s HOW you can enter this incredible segment of selling travel. Website: this too must look luxury. You can explore other websites for ‘the look’ the colour combinations, the graphics, the words and phrases too. Luxury Is In The Eye Of The Beholder Today luxury does not always mean what the word might entail. Someone’s cheap is another traveller’s deluxe and vice versa. It’s a good thing to check with your clients to ascertain just what luxury means to them. If you don’t do this survey you might be selling yourself short – or, you might be way above what the client can actually afford. The “Are You Looking Deluxe” Checklist Take a look at this checklist and make notes as to where you believe your deluxe image might need some improvement. If you are not attracting too many luxury sales then there would be some tightening up to be done. You might need a business makeover. What’s Your View of Luxury? Here’s where the rubber meets the road and it’s very important you explore your level of luxury. Some travel agents are very wealthy and can actually afford to experience what they sell to their clients. We’re talking staying and paying for the penthouse suite and even with an agent discount the rate is still $900 a night! Ouch. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. For the not so wealthy travel agent, you must do everything in your power to look like and act like you could travel at that level IF you chose to. The key component here is to ‘look like’ and that means everything you do, say, write and market has that luxury tinge, flair, feeling about it. If you are operating from a home-office you can understand why it is important to make sure no home-related noises are in the background when speaking to a potential luxury client. Your Luxury Image Anyone can look luxury. All it takes is that black dress and a string of pearls for the ladies and a tux for the guys. Own or rented, doesn’t matter. Dress up and go for the professional head shots. Look like a million bucks and you’ll attract the same. Your Agency Name Your Agency Window Your Content Your Dress Code Your Email Signature Your Email Style Your Featured Brands Your Fees Your Follow Up Your Frontline Your Knowledge Your Logo Your Marketing Style Your Newsletter Your Promotions Your Response Times Your Service Model Your Social Presence Your Telephone Voice Your Video Your Website Your Words Asking your clients about their deluxe travel preferences might help you create your deluxe marketing plan and all-round upscale selling program. Page 6
  7. 7. In the following video (6 minutes) the topic is not travel but trends on engaging luxury clients. One of the key phrases was “soul less” purchases online compared to a luxury customer who could name the person they deal with and have a meaningful relationship with. This customer spent the most money. Luxury Travel Websites Here’s a selection of luxury websites where you will find not only travel related information but also what other brands in other industries are doing to boost awareness and sales. Some comments may not make sense right away or relate to travel as the speaker represents the Luxury Institute - the key connect however is luxury. Sourcing Luxury Suppliers It’s almost safe to say that there are luxury suppliers in every segment of the trade. You will most certainly know about luxury cruises that range in pricing from “cheap” at $50,000 to affordable at $150,000 and expensive coming in around $500,000. The Luxury Channel offers so much insight if you are prepared to dig deep. The text is a little tough to read, however stay with it and check the travel pages. Also check out the Programmes. There are always interviews and commentary from leaders of luxury products and always a gem to learn and apply to selling travel. There are also luxury escorted tour companies and luxury safari companies and then there’s your very own luxury FIT product that you could create by yourself and go ‘old-style’ by adding the commission you want versus the supplier’s 10 per cent. When you add commission, your pre-tax profit margin that is, you add hundreds of dollars not a percentage of anything. Could you become your own luxury FIT supplier? Of course you can and you should as that’s where you are in total control of the product, the promotion, the pricing and: the suppliers and tourism associations will be working for you. Read on – there’s more about FIT coming up. The Luxury Institute works with luxury brands and often delivers reports, surveys and white papers. Once again – the overall theme is luxury and you’ll need to apply what you read to your own business. Page 7
  8. 8. The Luxury Traveller From a survey come these keywords that you may want to embed into your emails and newsletter and blogs and social media. Let’s review: we have the words: escape, experience, new and different. How’s that so far? Check your promotions to find out if any of these words were used. Turn that into a CTA call-to-action line and it could read like this: “When you feel the need to escape, experience something new… call us, we make the difference.” Luxury is now mainstream, addressing the desire to live a luxurious lifestyle without having to be in the highest income brackets. Another keyword comes to mind and you’ll find it used in many supplier promotions: Affordable and Affordable Luxury. Here’s a very well worded statement found on a website to which I’ve lost the URL, however they had it written right: Luxury travel is expensive. We work with you to assure you of getting the best value for your Page 8
  9. 9. vacation investment. We recognize that luxury means very different things to different people. A trip anywhere is in itself a luxury. Luxury travel comes in all shapes and sizes, for all tastes and at a very wide range of prices and some are surprisingly affordable at off peak times. Therefore, we also assist visitors on modest budgets to plan their dream trips maximizing the value of their vacation investment. We'd be delighted to help you make your dream trip a reality. want to purchase “smart” luxury that demonstrates importance while not leaving themselves open to criticism. Smart Luxury is a phrase you can use too when marketing to this group. Marketing messages that communicate acceptable exclusivity resonate with this group. 3. LUXURY is INDULGENCE This group is the smallest of the three and tends to include younger consumers and slightly more males than the other two groups. Their purpose for luxury goods is to lavish themselves in selfindulgence. They are willing to pay a premium for goods that express their individuality and make others take notice and are not overly concerned with product longevity or possible criticism. They enjoy luxury for the way it makes them feel personally and therefore have a more emotional approach to purchases. A report from SRI Consulting Business Intelligence (issued some years ago but still relevant today) found there to be three main luxury groups: 1. Those who felt LUXURY to be FUNCTIONAL. 2. Those believing LUXURY is a REWARD. The 3rd group’s definition of LUXURY was all about INDULGENCE. ATTRACTION MARKETING You will attract your luxury clients through your promotional activity and by targeting where upscale clients go for their news. You might also reach them at their club or association. Publish your press releases and social media promotions and make sure every form of marketing carries an upscale travel message. The results will depend on how well you use words and phrases that mean something to the upscale traveller and attracts them to go to the next step which is to contact you. 1. LUXURY to be FUNCTIONAL Consumers in this segment, the largest of the three, tend to be older and wealthier and are willing to spend more money to buy things that will last and have enduring value. They tend to buy luxury products for their superior functionality and quality. They buy a wide array of luxury goods, from artwork to vacations, and they conduct extensive pre-purchase research, making logical decisions rather than emotional or impulsive. Marketing messages that highlight product quality and information-intensive are powerful with this group. Regarding product quality: can you articulate the quality of the products you intend to sell, and do you have access to this information so that you can package it and promote it and forward it to your clients? The Luxury Institute Your next step is to survey your clients and how they feel about luxury travel, what luxury means to them, the type of trip they feel would be a luxury trip for them and then sift and sort your data and respond with the appropriate type of promotion to the segments you filter from your responses. Treat everyone as a potential luxury customer and that natural confidence will pay off.  2. LUXURY to be a REWARD These consumers tend to be younger than the first group but older than the third. They use luxury goods as a status symbol to say “I’ve made it!” They are motivated by their desire to be successful and demonstrate this to others. Luxury brands that have widespread recognition are popular, however they don’t wish to appear lavish or hedonistic in their appearance. They Page 9
  10. 10. DIY Luxury FITs As an independent contractor, home-based agent, OSR or virtual, mobile travel agent you have the right and be your own supplier of your own luxury products. You can and you should always work with your preferred suppliers however in this case you will request your suppliers to create the program you want to own and sell. You can also deal direct with the destination tourism board and local suppliers to create the program you want to market. Setting up your own products is termed going ‘on risk’ and it’s the speculative method of selling travel. It can be a dangerous road if you are not aware of the potholes along the way. The better way to selling DIY Luxury FITs is to promote your Luxury FIT services versus the products. Learning from those that went before and bringing that knowledge to the present day, you should have at least travelled to the destination you plan to sell more than once. FIT= Customized Flexible Travel Plans The term FIT has always be translated as Foreign Independent Travel. That’s now old-style and great for travel schools and travel veterans to use when chatting about the good old days. Use this acronym with fellow travel trade colleagues but lose it when discussing travel with your clients. Let’s fast forward to the moment you have travelled extensively or enough to support your claims that you know all about a certain destination or type of travel. Now it’s time to promote your services. Today you’ll be marketing your ability to arrange customized travel arrangements that are flexible too. You might use Affordable and Customized as your tag line. Attraction Marketing The majority of your business will come to you, versus you knocking on doors with the hope that one may open. Attraction Marketing borders on the passive, however to get a result you’ll need to repeat and repeat until that tipping point is reached when someone thinking of having a trip created for them, automatically thinks of you. They have seen your name and credentials so often they are brainwashed. Consider the same mental jump from hamburger to McDonalds, or books to Amazon. The target audience, the deluxe, luxe, luxury, upscale traveller is most certainly looking for the higher-end trip components however more than that they are looking for someone they can identify as the person who understands their needs, has the connections to pull the right strings and the overall experience to package and produce a customized flexible travel plan. Your Path To Becoming That Agent The result of Attraction Marketing is what we call inbound contact. Your prospective client calls you. Sounds good? Excellent. All you have to do now is put yourself out there in the marketplace where the deluxe and upscale travellers go about their business. Naturally when you wear this hat, the hat of the true travel arranger, you are rubbing shoulders with those very creative travel agents of the late 1800s. The men and women who literally went travelling to discover the world, establish their contacts, select palatial hotel rooms, the ocean view steamer cabins and the railway staterooms and then return with the knowledge to create an FIT for their esteemed clients. In those days travel was only sold as an FIT. Some travel agents have done well with simple classifieds. Others have taken to expensive ads in luxury magazines and others have gone social. Page 10
  11. 11. The Initial Consultation Fee Believe it or not there are some travel agents who make it onto the Conde Naste Top 50 travel agents list who charge from $125 to $600 for the initial consultation. At those higher rates you can bet your boots the clientele can afford it, they want the best and they’ll pay for it. You can also bet that the travel agent being consulted is extremely knowledgeable about their chosen niche market. As and when you read about these top fifty travel agents and start to circle key words in their bios, you’ll discover that they have developed an inside track when it comes to contacts. They can arrange for their clients to get in, to see, to meet, to do and to experience what most other tourists can’t. The Travelogue This word, travelogue, was created and made famous by the one and only Burton Holmes. Here’s the fellow that travelled the world during the late 1800’s, was one of the first to film what he saw, and also took a box camera with him to shoot glass plates that were hand coloured in Japan. With that material now called content, he put on fantastic travel events, travelogues, that the black-tie group paid to attend. Imagine, he could fill Carnegie Hall talking about travel. Burton Holmes was not a travel agent, he was making his money sharing his knowledge of the world he had just travelled. You on the other hand have it all wrapped up. You can travel at a moment’s notice to anywhere that recognizes your passport and using just your smartphone can record what you see and bring it home or conduct your own travelogue online using the various live streaming options. The Ongoing Hourly / Project Fee You have two options here. One is an hourly charge and the other is a one-time fee for all of the work you are going to do. In my own consulting work, I always preferred the project fee. It saves counting hours. Leaving you to just get down to work and finish the job as you promised. The hourly rate can become challenging when you present twenty hours and the client asks you to explain each hour. So, a project fee might come in at $495 for instance. For this price you’ll research, book, arrange, make good on certain promises, add in a couple of surprises and don’t forget you’ll also earn commission where your arrangements are not net net to you requiring a mark-up. Taking YOU to the Streets We’ve fast forwarded again. You’ve travelled. You’ve made contacts and connections. You’ve set yourself up to look great online and in person. All your collateral material is polished and meets today’s graphic standards. You are online, on social, on blog… you are almost good to go sell your Customized Travel Planning services. The next step is to decide your fees. Customized Travel Planning Fees As you well know there is a common phrase that goes something like, “You get what you pay for.” And that applies to advice too. More than a few of your competitors will be shy about charging fees for advice, for service, for arrangements and it is however, how business is conducted. The only thing to focus on is that you dispense the best-of-best advice. No matter which pricing model you choose you must be very confident in the amount of time it will take you to do everything you are committing to. You could develop a criteria or schedule that charges a % of the overall invoice. So if your client’s arrangements came to $35,000 you might charge a 10% fee of $3,500. You’ll need to articulate and also have it in writing somewhere as to what your 10% fee includes. Now… any thoughts about what your initial consultation fee, hourly or project fee, percentage might be?  The fees you’ll need to think about are:   The initial consultation The ongoing hourly or project fee Page 11
  12. 12. Luxury Connections When you become a seller of high end brands and high priced travel arrangements and you can hold your own amongst your client’s luxury providers such as their jeweller, clothier, auto dealer – then you’ll be moving amongst the elite brand executives of the travel trade. This means you will no longer be dealing with the local BDM. Your contact will be the Senior Vice President of Sales for the working end of the day and you’ll be sharing cocktails with the CEO or President after the work is done. It’s these high level contacts you need to develop as you start to sell luxury brands. Working The Room Choosing Your Luxury Suppliers You’ll find that the majority of people who hold the top executive positions, male or female, to be ‘good guys’. They generally know their stuff, are there to make things happen and do not tolerate fakes and fools lightly. They’ve seen it and heard it all before. They like to mix with people who do what they say they are going to do. The first question to answer is whether or not there is a luxury brand that serves the niche you sell. Most package holiday suppliers offer a mass-market product not a luxury level product. You could however ask your package holiday supplier to book the penthouse suite through their connections. That’s one way to access a mass-market luxury level option. Your way to their boardroom is always through sales. That’s it pure and simple - unless you have one of those “we’re so much alike” epiphanies – “Hey we have the same boat, oh I love that same hotel, my favourite sport, you shop there too?” You know how this works. It’s one of those people like people like themselves social situations. Same dog, same coat, same colour, same… it means we’re in synch. If there is no immediate connection like this, then it’s always down to sales. The best way to go is for you to book direct with the luxury hotels and resorts to arrange what would become your ‘luxury FIT package”. When it comes to safaris and treks, escorted tours and rail journeys for instance then you will find more than a few luxury brands to work with. The same approach applies – you book direct with the luxury brand in order to build your trade cred’. You need to become known to the executive team. If there is a local GSA that represents luxury brands you may wish to book through them, and especially if they can offer a higher commission. The only challenge here is the middle-man effect. You need to move the attention from the GSA to you. The best way to make the impression you need to make is to simply go about your business and wrack up those sales. Then make the approach. If you knock on the door with a story about what you are going to do, then you have no strength to negotiate with. You would be one more home-based agent advising a multi-million dollar enterprise that you plan to boost their sales by an extra $100,000. Start now to source the luxury brands you would like to work with. Make contact. Discuss your ideas. Ask for nothing but training. Sell that onemillion and at that moment if the senior exec’s are not knocking on your door, knock on theirs and do lunch. So, which brand will you contact first?  Set your sights on your sales, focus on one or two specific luxury brands and then once you’ve sold a million plus, you have the credentials you need. Page 12
  13. 13. Luxury Affiliates You can’t be all things to all people and you can’t sell all things travel either. One of the ways to overcome not trying to sell everything to everyone is to take a look at the various Affiliate programs that exist in the travel trade. You’ll discover that hotels, cruise lines, car rentals and pretty much every segment of the trade offer an Affiliate program. By signing up, you promote the travel company’s products via hyperlinked images or text and your commission is earned when a client clicks on that link and makes a purchase from the supplier. And yes, this is why a shoe store or pizzeria can make money promoting flights to Italy. Back to the page… Here’s one such Affiliate link and the company is Luxury Link. A snippet of their information is found below, click the blue link to read the rest. Affiliate Program Turn Your Love of Travel into Extra Revenue Founded in 1997, Luxury Link is the world’s leading luxury travel website. With an outstanding handselected collection of the world’s finest 4 and 5star hotels, resorts, villas, cruises, lodges, castles and cruise lines in over 60 countries, Luxury Link Join Our Affiliate Program Today! Join Luxury Link’s affiliate program and start earning commissions every time your site visitors book a travel package. Become a member today and enjoy the following program features and benefits:  Great discounts of up to 65% off retail prices on inspires passionate travelers to discover the more than a 1,000 extraordinary hotels, resorts, destinations they’ve always dreamed of, at the cruises and villas in the most exclusive highest standards of luxury and at exceptional destinations. Generous 4 – 6% Commissions values — with savings of up to 65% off.  What are you selling and what would you like to sell but not put too much effort into it, other than market it? Affiliate programs can offer you additional luxury travel products and also luxury lines that include luggage, watches, and clothing for instance. So while you are selling the trip, your emails and website are promoting the additional products. Some of the affiliate programs may conflict with your host agency / supplier arrangements so be sure to check with your host HQ. Added Services Can Pay Off: Affiliate programs help you round out your luxury travel niche. You may do well and you may not. The return on subscribing to an affiliate program, which is usually free, will be as result of your continual promotion, pushing out the links through your generic and social media promotions.  Page 13
  14. 14. 6 Sense Selling th The 6th Sense has been written about from a spiritual approach, demonic, philosophical, intuitive and intuitive and many more. Here, it means that all of your normal senses are heightened to such an extent that when combined with your natural talent and dedication to selling travel, what you do reaches the next level, the highest level of action, implementation, follow through and follow up. You may have experienced this feeling in another part of your life. A sports activity for instance when mind, body and spirit were fully connected. It is the same when you sell travel and everything you do is correct, perfect. It just seems to happen. Once this happens to you, you should be able to invoke the mental state anytime you wish. The 6th Sense and Having a Great Day This level, this feeling is real. I have experienced it during a selling situation and during a sporting activity. When it happens to you, you cannot explain it. You’ll not know how it happened. More often than not it seemed to you, that you were mentally in a bit of a fog. Flow The state of flow means to be doing what you do without any forethought. You just do it. Your mind, body, spirit have been conditioned over time to become one and react at a point where you lose yourself in what you are doing. You may be researching a destination and in doing so you are lost, someone calls you, yet you do not hear them. Suddenly when you check your watch, the hours have flown by. You were immersed. You were in the flow. After the fact you realize that whatever it was you were doing, you had done it to perfection. This mind, body, spirit trio plus your words, your body language, your presentation skills – everything came together at the right time. Getting to the 6th Sense Selling Level It’s too easy to say ALL you have to do is practice, however that’s pretty much it once you know what it is you need to practice and you have the knowledge or a coach to support you. When this moment happens, you must, after the fact, try to recall the mental state and emotional state and if you can, then you can usually replicate the moment anytime you want. It’s a type of self-visualization technique (a method of positive imaging that lets you experience a successful outcome to any situation ahead of time) where you see, sense and feel yourself completing the same actions as before. Sukiyabashi Jiro is the 85 year old proprietor one of the most successful sushi restaurants in the world. His formula for success is a great lesson for all. In his own words: “Once you decide on your occupation, you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That's the secret of success and is the key to being regarded honorably.” The foggy mindset does not mean you are ‘not there’ more so it means you are 100% there and your entire being is in synch. Having a great day, a fantastic day is what it’s all about. When you work for yourself most of the time you work alone. You may have a support group and they themselves might be struggling versus leading, or coaching or being able to show you a new way forward. One of the ways forward to your 6th Sense Selling Technique is to practice everything you do, and want to do, time and time again. There is no other path. Assuming you have all the product and destination and geographic knowledge you need, now you can practice selling it. To do that you’ll be required to write out your scripts and repeat them time and time again until you get them right. You will need someone to work with who will challenge you and throw you a couple of curve balls. Your coach could be a senior Page 14
  15. 15. citizen one minute and a grumpy business person the next and a younger traveller the next. natural state if you haven’t already and going with it and for the simple reason that this you is the real you. Others will pick up on it and approach you. The fake you, if there is one, will push people away. Positioning and Body Language As our focus is on selling deluxe, luxury travel to clients who are reasonably well off and also to someone who has saved their entire lifetime to go on this trip. 6th Sense Marketing Here too, it takes practice and it takes training in various software programs, design and layout, words, fonts, colour schemes and more. You may well be fantastic at selling travel, but if your marketing is off-base then getting people to inquire will prove to be tougher than expected. The way you sit, stand, move, speak, present will change according to how your client reacts and how they sit, stand and speak and the words they use. Synching with your client would normally come naturally and without hesitation if you are well practiced. Otherwise, you will stumble and fumble and appear to be a novice in such wealthy company. Learn about white-space, discover black and white versus colour, know the colour trends, study the colours of nature and of course, today you must study social media and how it fits into your specific sales plan. Being confident amongst wealthy people when you are not wealthy comes from knowing yourself, your talents and being well practised in manoeuvering within these circles and situations. Here’s the 6th Sense Checklist: Circle the box that describes your level of knowledge. Anything okay and below needs further study. It is not a joke then to practice moving about a room, an office, getting up and sitting down, picking up a cup of coffee and placing it back down. For I have witnessed chairs being flipped backwards caused by a purse strap catching a chair leg. Also a suit jacket pocket being ripped as the salesperson stood up, not realizing his pocket had caught on the armrest. I have witnessed a briefcase unlocking itself as it was picked up, scattering documents across an office floor with the sales person on their hands and knees chasing after the pages. The all-important close, finish and exit was a masterpiece of unintended slapstick comedy. Product knowledge of what I sell Zero Enough Okay Good Excellent I have visited my niche destination more than 5 times Nope Plan to Got 3 Got 5 Over 10 Sales from Prospecting to Closing to Follow Up to Referrals Nothing Enough Okay Good Excellent Social Media Marketing Nothing Enough Good Excellent Graphic Software Nothing Enough Okay Good Excellent Marketing layout, placement and alignment Nothing Enough Okay Good Excellent Email Marketing Nothing Enough To practice your arrival and your departure and everything in-between, is how you reach the state of flow. Its practice makes perfect. The more role plays you do the better you will be. Just like being a film star. Take 129… Okay Good Excellent I will I do Okay I can present to 20 or 200 people Won’t I might I could I have an excellent list of luxury travel contacts Nothing Enough Okay Good I am very confident amongst wealthy people No way I shake I’m fakin’ I’m okay Body Language Can Be Read Your body language tells the story. No need to say anything. Your eyes and facial expressions also tell a story. When your eyes, facial expressions and body language do not match, then your aura within the room will emit the wrong vibrations. It’s a matter of finding your Excellent Comfortable To help you sell more deluxe travel - what would be your Top 3 things to upgrade by practicing them over and over until you get them right?  Page 15
  16. 16. Luxury Words Each segment of travel, and each niche too, has its own set of words and phrases that the traveller uses, the supplier uses and therefore it only makes sense for you to use the same words and phrases. They are top of mind in the minds of your luxury clients and they are somewhat programed to respond to certain words. Even the one word of luxury, will cause them to turn and look, read further, read longer. The words and phrases you need can be found in your preferred supplier’s brochures, videos and websites. The same thing applies to the media produced by non-travel luxury brands. The Big Pull Following the pull / buy principle would mean that you present gorgeous imagery and perhaps an image of your luxury representative / client embedded on the image. No words that sell, only words that tell. When you study how non-travel luxury brands market their watches, fashions, cars and technology you will gain further insight as to what will create a connection between the luxury traveller and yourself – a seller of luxury travel. Harish Bijoor of Harish Bijoor Consults speaks the language of luxury and what he suggests fits very nicely into marketing luxury travel. Hand selected luxury hotels… He has coined the term: "nichevertise vs massvertise" and according to him: “…the luxury brands are not for mass consumption and shouldn't be mass advertised.” Now you need a list of luxury words:     "Luxury brands like to be bought, not sold," he says. "Sell is a top-down strategy which involves an element of 'shout' - you asking consumers to consider you. Buy, instead, is a pull-oriented strategy. Luxury brands love pull not push." The largest selection of… A place with such extraordinary… Incredible luxury vacation experiences… Relax in your private paradise… Try these:  Lavishness  Luxuriousness  Opulence  Sensual  Sensuous The suggestion that luxury brands can best be marketed, pulled verses sold, is to have someone who moves in the right social circles represent your luxury travel products.      Sumptuosity Sumptuousness Voluptuary Luxuriant Simplicity From this point on remember to push not sell your luxury travel products. Study other luxury brands and then put on your Sunday best and head to the photographers. Look like a million bucks in your own ads and attract the right client for you.  Do you have any clients who would like to be the face of your luxury travel products? They should look somewhat fabulous, and have the right personality to match the look. Page 16
  17. 17. Jiro Dreams of Sushi Sometimes, unexpectedly a metaphor for selling travel as a highly skilled practitioner of the art comes around and here it is: Jiro Dreams of Sushi. I could change the title of this page to Jiro Dreams of (Selling) Travel and wonder: if Jiro had been a travel agent, and applied his formula for success, what he would have accomplished. Here’s the video trailer. Click the image to watch it. In the article 6th Sense Selling, the words practice and natural talent, dedication, mind-body-spirit are mentioned as a route to becoming a true artisan of selling travel. To practice and study and to repeat scripts and various actions are part of the strategy for 6th Sense Selling success. realize their dream to sell travel as Jiro makes his sushi. If Jiro owned a travel agency, it would be clear from the story about his life that any apprentice agent would be hard pressed to impress. However, if that apprentice watched, listened and practiced, they would eventually become a great artisan at selling travel. As I watched the full 90 minute program about Jiro and his dedication to his work, I could relate every word to a career in selling travel. I receive more than a few emails from struggling ICs and I can feel their frustration. For many there is little to no training at the level that would elevate their craft to a point where they can start to understand the selling of travel as Jiro creates sushi. As more and more people become IC’s, OSRs and sell travel from home, the trade is filling its ranks with newcomers to the trade. They come from a variety of backgrounds and join for any number of reasons. Just like you. Your next move: locate the full length version of this video. It has played on TV under the Independent Lens label. There is also a DVD available on Amazon. I suggest you gather around the TV with fellow ICs and discuss how you might interpret what you see and hear and invest the knowledge into your IC career.  The drop-out rate for home-based agents is very high. Failure to understand the enormity of the effort, skill, talent and knowledge that goes into selling travel at the highest level is generally the downfall for most home-based agents that give up. Only the dedicated stay on and work their way through to the time and place where they More about Jiro here. 80 Minute Video here. Page 17
  18. 18. “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” Henry David Thoreau What are your next steps to get you started on your UPSCALE journey? What do you have to do personally and professionally to start on this journey? What are the start dates and deadlines? Who is involved? Training? Planning? LEVEL OF LUXURY / CLIENT PRODUCTS 1. 1. 2. 2. 3. 3. TO DO PERSONALLY TO DO PROFESSIONALLY 1. 1. 2. 2. 3. 3. 4. 4. 5. 5. OTHER: Page 18
  19. 19. The Best Travel Videos Here’s the top three travel videos out of the top ten you can find here. The #1 video: Travel Alberta Canada (1,884,616 views) The #3 position was held by Tourism Australia (1,395,680 views) – however the video was locked and shown as Private (note to self, IT and Tech department – always check if your YouTube video is playing.) So #3 on this page is actually #4 a video from New Zealand. The #2 video: Visit Finland (1,558,665 views) You can learn from reading and watching the top ten of anything and more so if what you are reading or watching is geared to travel. As we’re focused on luxury for this issue of IC, why not hunt down the videos of luxury travel companies and once again, watch for the words and phrases, the content and although you should be able to use the supplier’s videos – try to produce your own. The #4 video: Tourism New Zealand (1,346,289 views) All you need is your video camera, smartphone or point and shoot that shoots HD. You can edit it right on YouTube too. Here’s the Editor. Page 19
  20. 20. The New Retail Agency Even though you are running a home-based business you are in fact on the cutting edge of the NEW retail agency model and with that comes the documented plans for operating a retail store - only your store is on-line versus main-street. Your website is your store front. You are the All-In-One sales, support, service, IT and marketing team and instead of your client coming to you – you go to them. The New Retail Agency is taking shape. Here’s the rest of the plan: To get the best from yourself you’ll need to come to grips with the running of your store and think about your business as a retail location with an online presence. To do this, your website should look like a million bucks with images, words and phrases, font style and colours that say “Book your deluxe travel with ME!” The Retail Window The window for a home-based agent like yourself is your website. This digital view on the world is your window through which you can and should market yourself and your services. Building Your New Retail Agency Your At-Home-Retail-Agency concept requires you to have a clear and stated vision of what your concept is based on and a concept your intended customer can relate to quickly. For many home-based agents the website has become a major challenge in so many ways. You may be using a website template and by way of the host agency you belong to, you might have one of those booking engines slap dab in the middle that produces little to no business for you. What is your focus? Will it be a unique travel type, or destination? Price related – high or low? Will it be a different level of service than what is offered by your competition? What is your financial goal? No travel agency goal can be anything other than financial. That’s goal #1. Get that decided first. How much money do you want to generate this year? Focus on take-home commission. You can round up to the sales total once you know how much commission you want and need. If you wish to generate $50,000 in pre-tax take home then your sales should be close to $500,000 or more depending on your average commission earned and your commission split. Now everything else in your plan focuses on HOW you will generate that $500K in sales. If this was an actual retail location you would have made the change already – removing anything that’s not pulling the outside traffic to your door, phone or email. Same applies to your website. Your “At Home” Retailing Plan Just like running an actual retail store you need a retail sales and marketing plan. Hopefully your host agency has provided you with that and you fill in the blanks based on the type of travel you intend to sell. Prospecting for New Customers One of the hardest activities for a retail travel agency whether on main-street or run from a home-based office, is the continual search for new customers. Our theme for this issue of IC is luxury travel, deluxe travel, higher-priced-than-normal travel. If you wish to sell into this market segment then your retail marketing plan must adopt the very theme and through the channels available to you show that you can and do represent deluxe. Your prospecting goals must be realistic based on your time, energy and finances. Page 20
  21. 21. Change the Window/Website Often A fatal flaw when marketing travel is simply this – the agency window / website are left ‘as is’ for months. Sometimes for years. Ouch! And you know what happens of course – your clients and prospects become oblivious to your window / website. They pass it by & bye and don’t buy! They click ahead because they’ve seen it all before. Nothing new to say “Hey! Look here!” Are You There Yet? How’s the thought processes for your New Retail (At-Home) Travel Agency going? Does it make sense? Can you see yourself marketing your services like a main-street agency does? Do you make the connection between window and website? Social Media is Your Agency Team As a home-based owner-worker for over 20 years I know the team-of-one concept. It’s a tough road to haul unless you have a plan and plan to use the latest techno-help available. Take a stroll around your shopping district and especially the department stores. They change their windows often and that devote an entire team of window dressers to the task. Learn from what they do. Take what they do and apply it to your website. Still thinking your website is your window make the changes that PULL traffic. Social media can be your agency team if you let it. Some agents I know can’t abide social media however, here we must break that mold and tap into the business concepts that social media offers. Social media can be all things marketing, promotional, sales, service, follow up and more. You can even post an image of your new website look and hyperlink it to your website for easy click’n’go view by your clients. Promote the Change Once your website has been updated and looking WOW! – now you plan to promote it and drive your existing clients and their friends (referrals and prospective customers) to view it. This push/pull to view your website echoes what the department stores do to attract you and me to their windows. You can add a Share It button. You can ask your clients to share the image. You can pay $30 to boost your Facebook post and reach an additional 3,000 people. From viewing the window, it’s a quick click to the online catalog and then to shop online and fill the cart before checking out. Play that back for your retail, at-home agency. Your website is now sparkling. Looking grand. There is a reason to call you, to view a video, to arrange an in-home presentation, to attend a consumer travel function. As most online booking engines do not work for home-based agents as they do for OTAs, what you’ll be doing here is attracting your clients to book an appointment with you. You want them to arrange a face-to-face session where you can sell and close the sale. Skype Is Your New Retail Agency Desk If you have not yet factored Skype into your New Retail (At-Home) Agency plan now is the time. Skype is FREE and it allows you to chat online face-to-face with existing clients and their referrals. Sign up for Skype now if you have not yet done so. You’ll need an excellent webcam and the recommendation is the Logitech 920. One tip: keep the lenses of your webcam covered – nothing to do with a spy agency checking up on you – simply that you might not be fully dressed when someone Skype’s you! Could be embarrassing or the start of a wonderful friendship! Is this face-to-face session, worthy of being the focus of your at-home, retail agency marketing plan? I think so. Ponder this some more. What does your current marketing plan do? What is it meant to accomplish and is it measured? Okay. You’re up to bat. Start planning your home-based business as you would a mainstreet retail outlet. Start with that website. Get it done ASAP. If you need help you can email me for a Skype chat.  Page 21
  22. 22. Tools: Email Services As you may have gathered by now, I tend to spend a good deal of time checking out various tools that can be adapted to selling travel. I have been using a certain email service that although worked reasonably well, there always seemed to be a challenge when using the editor. So looking around - I came to MailChimp and this is perfect for the one-person office and for ICs with under 2,000 clients on their list. The basic account is free and you can send up to 12,000 emails per month. Here’s the pricing plan: For those who intend to send more than six emails per month to the 2,000 on your list, you can take a look at the other plans such as the $10 plan that might suit a one-person business better. The subscriber total for this plan is 500, however you can send an unlimited number of emails. This works well for you if you have segmented your list and intend to focus on a variety of niche markets within your segments. The Monkey Rewards program allows you to earn credits for when you need to do more. All you have to do is use the embed code supplied by MailChimp into your emails and your website – when someone clicks through to join MailChimp, you earn credits and so does the person who signed up. So it’s a win-win. Give it try. Click on the MailChimp image which is set up to earn you credits if you open a basic account. So far I have used only a couple of the MailChimp templates, however reviewing the full offering, they are way ahead of their competition with a selection that covers Facebook, Twitter and more PLUS the editor is very easy to use. That’s it. So now you can monkey about with your emails!  Page 22
  23. 23. Tools: Email Spam Test Ever wonder why you never hear back from your clients? Even those good clients who sometimes book very high value trips with you. It might be your subject line or a couple of key words within the body of your email. The words “free” and “book now” can always set off a spam capture program and throw your innocent email into the client’s spam folder or it might be sent directly to the spam controllers of the world! That is not good news. Here then is a great tool you can use to test your email as to how high on the spam chart it rates, or not. Click the image to find this layout and test your email. Your head office, your host agency, franchise and or your email provider should also have tools like this. Make sure you test at least ten of your emails to determine which ones are classed as spam.  Page 23
  24. 24. Tools: CrazyEgg Here’s a tool that should keep you checking your website to see who’s been, clicked and left or went further, deeper into your site. Not only can you view a heat map of your website, you can also find out whether or not your buttons are in the right place, if your CTAs are working and if anyone is scrolling down through those pages of information. The basic plan comes in at $8 per month. When you are selling to a luxury audience you cannot afford to let any prospect just click and run. You must determine who they are, what they want and feature the features that will keep them on your website and better still click straight to your email, booking engine, or better yet, call you directly. As an independent, home-based travel agent you put a lot of energy into developing your local presence and it would be a shame to do all that work without knowing whether or not anyone actually visits your website. Sure you can check your website analytics but they will not tell you much more than which page was visited, how long for and which browser they came in on. Perhaps a three month review would be all you need? Selling luxury requires more than your average tools so check out CrazyEgg or similar companies local to you.  Page 24
  25. 25. Tools: Cruise Prep Kit Hard to say if your clients have read this eBook offered free from Cruise Injury – a legal practice specializing in court cases between passengers and cruise lines. What a niche to develop given the recent cruise situations over the last few years and with more cruise events to happen. It would not go amiss for you to download and read this eBook. The image is linked to the website. Your clients would be very thankful if you mentioned this eBook to them, or even sent them the link, and / or the PDF document. This document would be part of your Safe Travel and Travel Insurance advice if you have moved ahead with promoting yourself as a travel insurance – safe travel specialist.  Explore the Cruise Injury website before you mention it to your clients. Page 25
  26. 26. Tools: System Restore I had occasion to use this tool again recently and it reminded me to make sure I added this page to this issue of IC Travel Agent. You never know who might be suffering out there as a homealone-based travel agent and as some stress surveys report, the greatest stress in business today is the ‘brown out’. That means your computer has a glitch and you cannot work around it. From stalling to slowing to pop ups to no more email coming down the chute to images not showing correctly. Here’s the answer. First things first. Whenever you get a glitch on your computer, Google it. If there is an error code – Google it. Nine times out of ten you’ll find the answer. Being careful not to get sucked into a FREE cure-all download that will correct your computer. Once you download such a program you are then asked to purchase the software. If you refuse, the download is retracted and you’ll see computer files whizzing off the screen. It’s a scary moment and the typical response is to try and remove the now offending download yourself – same thing happens re files flying off the screen. End point - you buy the software. Stop there. I’ve mentioned this before in other issues of IC and Selling Travel eMagazine. So, as I had a glitch recently and time I remained calm. Went to Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, System Restore … and usually, once you select a date you know your PC was working 100%, and click Next, your PC will return to a working state. The glitch may have been caused by a new update to your PC. A virus might have come in via an image download. Hard to say how the glitch came about and infected your PC, but you can try to resurrect your ailing PC using the System Restore program. Not sure – call your techie and have them show you how to use the System Restore function. Make sure you always scan for affected programs Page 26
  27. 27. Tools: Internet Archive Now here’s a find. A rare find. And when you click to Internet Archive you’ll find some rare footage, plus movies and audio and in fact so much is there and more or less free to use. Plan for a few hours of scrolling, watching and listening. As most of the content archived here is in the Public Domain, you can use it to enhance your videos, blogs and more. Be sure to read the information on Public Domain and as this collection is USA based and under USA law, if you live in the USA then you should be fine with the definitions provided. The site does advise you to check if, whatever it is you find, whether or not the copyright is owned and protected in your country. As you will be aware that everything online can be tracked from being online to being downloaded to your computer to being uploaded onto your website. You do not need any surprise billings coming your way – so check out the rules. Marketing With Archived Content Most of the content you’ll access here is American – being a lover of all the old Road movies by Crosby and Hope it hit me that using a clip from such a movie as their Road to Bali to enhance your Luxury Bali program would add some humour and attraction to your promotion. The old and I mean old cartoons and animations are absolutely wonderful. If you work in the niche of family travel some of the video clips and images might also work for you. Mixing old with new can be very attractive. Take a look and see what you can use. Here’s a quick snap from a Dick and Larry cartoon called Jolly Fish. It’s old! Very old. But also cute. Kids would love it. This is where old media goes social. Capture a screen print or snag 10 seconds of video and embed it into your social promos. Page 27
  28. 28. Resources If you haven’t found Luxury Travel Advisor’s magazine as yet, here it is. One more stop for you to make is right here… an article on and about SmartFlyer. When you read about how these large agencies sell luxury and work their deluxe magic, be sure to think “Me too!” versus “I could never do that!” The SmartFlyer article talks about Facebook and how the CEO uses it his way to promote himself and his company. He / they are living up to their corporate name and use social media the smart way. There’s nothing happening here that you cannot emulate. Page 28
  29. 29. We’ve been printing luxury graphics and promotional tools for travel agents for a very long time. We understand the business of marketing travel… here’s a few tips: Luxury promotional tools have a “feel” to them, the colours have depth. Black is good. Let us custom design your next set of promotional tools. You’ll feel great. Your customer will feel even better and they will spread the word for you too. And you know what that means? That’s right: referrals. Let’s talk soon. sales@bigbarkgraphics.com www.bigbarkgraphics.com Page 29
  30. 30. Page 30
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  32. 32. The Travel Institute’s Well-Being Travel Course Enroll in The Travel Institute's Well-Being Travel Specialist course and receive a complimentary, one-year membership in Well-Being Travel. The online course is designed to show you how to boost sales by selling health, wellness and medical travel. By enrolling in this course, you'll:       Gain an understanding of the health and wellness travel market. Discover the different types of spas and wellness products. Learn key health and wellness terminology. Discover what procedures are most common with patient travelers. Understand related insurance issues. Learn how to find and market to health and wellness and medical travel clients. The course includes interactive exercises, images, audio and graphics. A final test is available allowing you to earn the Well-Being Travel Specialist designation. CTAs, CTCs and CTIEs who complete this course will also earn 10 CEUs. Thanks to our course sponsors: Well-Being Travel, Companion Global Healthcare, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Healing Hotels of the World, Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and Greater Fort Lauderdale. Enroll today to receive your complimentary, one-year membership in Well-Being Travel. Page 32
  33. 33. LET’S TALK ABOUT TRAINING! Steve Crowhurst, CTC Speaker & Trainer to the Global Travel & Tourism Industry Page 33
  34. 34. Be Sure to Share www.ic-travelagent.com