Let’s take a look at the day-to-day life of a travel agent, and see what happens during a basic client consultation.
Invite your ideal prospective client to a free consultation with you, and facilitate this in a smart, effective and efficient manner. You will know within minutes if the prospect is a good fit for your services, and if they are, you will have the skills to convert them into a paying client using a fun feel-good method. Your new client will leave the free consultation call excited to work with you! And in many cases they will be thinking about who they can refer to you BEFORE you even start working for them.
Understanding your clients needs
When you start your call or person-to-person chat, you’ll have a friendly discussion with your client to understand their perfect trip.
This is all necessary as their answers will feed into your research and planning. You will focus on everything that aligns with their interests, budget, etc.
To get started, You’ll ask questions like these and the questions below: Where do they want to go? How long is their stay? Any exciting activities they’re looking forward to? This forms the foundation for your research.
During a basic client consultation, a travel agent would aim to gather as much information as possible to understand the client’s needs and preferences. Here are key questions a travel agent might ask:
Understanding Travel Preferences and Needs
- What is the purpose of your trip? (e.g., leisure, business, family visit, honeymoon, adventure, etc.)
- Do you have specific destinations in mind, or are you open to suggestions?
- What are your travel dates? Are these dates flexible?
Budget and Accommodation Preferences
- What is your budget for this trip?
- What type of accommodations do you prefer? (e.g., hotels, resorts, hostels, rentals, etc.)
- Do you have any specific requirements or preferences for your accommodation? (e.g., location, amenities, star rating)
Travel Experience and Interests
- What have been some of your favorite past travel experiences?
- Are there any activities or experiences you’re particularly interested in for this trip? (e.g., cultural experiences, outdoor activities, relaxation, culinary experiences)
- Do you have any specific needs or requirements that we should consider? (e.g., dietary restrictions, mobility issues, family-friendly activities)
Transportation and Logistics
- What are your preferences regarding transportation? (e.g., flying, cruising, train travel)
- Would you like assistance with car rentals or local transportation at your destination?
Additional Services and Expectations
- Are you interested in travel insurance?
- Do you need any special assistance or have any specific requests we should be aware of? (e.g., assistance at airports, adjoining hotel rooms)
- How do you prefer to stay in touch while traveling? (e.g., email, phone, messaging apps)
- How involved would you like to be in the planning process?
- What is the best way and time to contact you for follow-up information and trip updates?
These questions help the travel agent to tailor the travel plans to the client’s specific desires and requirements, ensuring a more personalized and satisfying travel experience.
In a basic client consultation, a travel agent should ask a variety of questions to fully understand the client’s needs, preferences, and expectations for their trip. These questions can be categorized into different areas:
- Where are you planning on traveling? When?
- What kind of research have you done?
- How old will the passengers be (for senior discounts)?
- Does anyone have military service (for military discounts)?
- What is your goal for this vacation?
Questions about Past Travel Likes and Dislikes
- How are you used to traveling?
- What are some of your past vacation likes and dislikes?
- What is the best travel experience you’ve ever had? Why?
- Tell me about your last three vacations. How did you get there and where did you stay?
- How do you want this vacation to be different from others you have been on?
- What do you like about your chosen destination?
- What types of family vacation activities are important to you?
- What have you been dreaming of doing on this vacation?
- Are you looking for a more intimate experience or would you prefer more action and nightlife?
- Would it be important to you to stay at a resort that has activities and nightlife after 11PM?
- What kind of attire would you like to wear for evening wear?
- Is room service important to you?
- What are your favorite foods?
- Do you enjoy eating island cuisine (or trying local cultural foods)?
- Do you like the idea of being able to eat and drink as much as you want for one price?
- When you’re at home, what restaurants do you frequent when dining out?
- Do you or someone in your party have food allergies or special diets?
Water Activities (if applicable)
- What type of water activities do you like?
- Would you consider yourself a beach person or a pool person?
- Is beach service important to you?
- Are long walks on the beach important to you?
- Are you certified to scuba dive? Would you like to get certified while on vacation?
- Are you interested in travel insurance?
- Would you like me to arrange transfers for you and your guests to and from the airport?
- Can I put together a list of excursions for you to review? I’d love to help arrange one for your trip.
Additionally, there can be other critical questions to ask during the qualification call, such as:
- What inspired them to reach out?
- Have they had a bad experience with other agencies? If so, how can you make this a better experience for them?
- What is their biggest priority for this trip? (i.e. wine tasting, family time, etc.)
- What’s their usual process for planning a vacation? How has it worked for them in the past?
- If they decide to DIY their vacation, how will they do that? Will it give them peace of mind?
- What keeps them awake at night when they plan a trip?
- Who are the decision-makers in their group?
Travel Market Report also provides a list of 25 questions that can be used to help qualify clients:
- What type of travel are you looking to do?
- What are you hoping to do and see on this trip?
- What do you consider a reasonable budget for this vacation?
- What would make this trip feel like it’s a successful trip?
- What DON’T you want to do?
- What are the deal breakers for your trip?
- What type of travel style do you prefer (active, easy pace, etc)?
- What will make you say “that was an amazing trip” on the flight home?
- Are you celebrating any milestone?
- Where have you traveled before?
- What was your favorite vacation?
- What was your worst trip and why?
- Share a memorable experience that you have had with your travel companions and why was it memorable?
- What destination excites you the most and why?
- What is on your travel wish list?
- Where is your dream destination?
- What brings you the most joy when you think of going on a vacation?
- Why do you like to travel?
- Rank in order of preference when booking travel: a) Overall budget b) Extras & perks available c) Luxury experiences d) Accommodation quality
- Tell me a bit about your family: how old are your kids, what do you and your spouse like to do for fun?
- Tell me about your hobbies and favorite activities.
- What do you like to do for fun?
- Do you like a party atmosphere or more quiet and laid back?
- How much do you love to eat and do you love to try new dishes?
- Is favorite kind of restaurant a hole in the wall with great local food, are you on the hunt for Michelin-star cuisine, or are you just as happy ordering takeout or room service at the end of the day?
These questions cover a broad range of topics and can help travel agents better understand their clients’ preferences, ensuring that the planned trip meets or exceeds their expectations.