THE HOW-TO MAGAZINE FOR ICs, OSRs & HOME-BASED TRAVEL AGENTS
The ART of
AN SMP TRAINING PUBLICATION
TABLE OF CONTENTS – IC JANUARY 2014
EDITORIAL: THE YEAR OF LUXURY SALES
ARE YOU ON THE LIST?
GOING FOR DELUXE
THE LUXURY TRAVELLER
DIY LUXURY FITS
6TH SENSE SELLING
JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI
LUXURY SALES PLANNING PAGE
THE BEST TRAVEL VIDEOS
THE NEW RETAIL AGENCY
TOOLS: EMAIL SERVICES
TOOLS: EMAIL SPAM TEST
TOOLS: CRAZY EGG
TOOLS: CRUISE PREP KIT
TOOLS: SYSTEM RESTORE
TOOLS: INTERNET ARCHIVE
RESOURCES: LUXURY TRAVEL ADVISOR MAGAZINE
SELLING TRAVEL WITH STEVE
THE TRAVEL INSTITUTE
LET’S TALK ABOUT TRAINING!
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10/29/13 2:18 PM
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
list for SMP.
Steve Crowhurst, CTC
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OPENING MID-JANUARY 2014
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
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
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.
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
Your Agency Name
Your Agency Window
Your Dress Code
Your Email Signature
Your Email Style
Your Featured Brands
Your Follow Up
Your Marketing Style
Your Response Times
Your Service Model
Your Social Presence
Your Telephone Voice
Asking your clients about their deluxe travel
preferences might help you create your deluxe
marketing plan and all-round upscale selling
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
6 Sense Selling
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.
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
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
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
I have visited my niche destination more than 5 times
Sales from Prospecting to Closing to Follow Up to Referrals
Social Media Marketing
Marketing layout, placement and alignment
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…
I can present to 20 or 200 people
I have an excellent list of luxury travel contacts
I am very confident amongst wealthy people
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
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?
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
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…
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.
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
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.
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
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.
“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
TO DO PERSONALLY
TO DO PROFESSIONALLY
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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!
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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,
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Enroll today to receive your complimentary, one-year membership in Well-Being Travel.
LET’S TALK ABOUT
Steve Crowhurst, CTC
Speaker & Trainer to the Global Travel & Tourism Industry