Just You launches travel trade solo experience

Just You launches travel trade solo experience

Friday, 21 October 2016 14:00

Just You h...

Spontaneous people are happier according to Snaptrip survey

Spontaneous people are happier according…

Friday, 21 October 2016 11:00

Spontaneous people are often believed to lead more exciting or glamorous lifestyles and a new study has confirmed that they are happier in all aspects of their lives.

Top Brighton attractions on Combi-Saver tickets for half term

Top Brighton attractions on Combi-Saver …

Friday, 21 October 2016 09:00

Visitors to Brighton this October half term can save up to 20% on its top three paid-for attractions with combination tickets now available for British Airways i360, SEA LIFE Brighton...

Free cabin upgrades with Cosmos Tours

Free cabin upgrades with Cosmos Tours

Thursday, 20 October 2016 14:00

There still’s time for agents to book a Croisieurope river cruise for their customers with a free cabin upgrade on a range of river cruises throughout Europe, when booked with...

Last minute autumn breaks available at Haven

Last minute autumn breaks available at H…

Thursday, 20 October 2016 11:00

Agents can still give their customers a last minute family break this autumn from £99 when booking a Haven holiday between now and November 5.

Skiers urged to head east for best piste costs reveals new report

Skiers urged to head east for best piste…

Thursday, 20 October 2016 08:00

Cash-conscious skiers can avoid the slippery slope of higher prices for their annual downhill trip by heading to ski resorts in Eastern Europe.

Design an anniversary poster for DFDS competition

Design an anniversary poster for DFDS co…

Wednesday, 19 October 2016 14:00

Ferry operator, DFDS, is putting out a call to professional and amateur artists to create a poster that will be used in their 150th anniversary celebrations this year.

Savings on worldwide adventures with Explore

Savings on worldwide adventures with Exp…

Wednesday, 19 October 2016 11:00

Explore has launched a new collection of worldwide adventures with a launch offer of up to 10% discount on all new trips booked by November 7.

New route to Seattle makes it one to watch for 2017

New route to Seattle makes it one to wat…

Wednesday, 19 October 2016 09:12

Seattle is expected to be one of the fastest growing US destinations for UK travellers next year with a Virgin Atlantic direct non-stop daily flight launching March 2017, new hotel...

Air Transat launches 2017 programme with increased connections across Canada

Air Transat launches 2017 programme with…

Tuesday, 18 October 2016 14:04

Air Transat has expanded its programme of flights from the UK to Canada with increased capacity and connections for travel in 2017.

Oceania Cruises reduces single supplement fares

Oceania Cruises reduces single supplemen…

Tuesday, 18 October 2016 14:02

Oceania Cruises has launched a reduced single supplement promotion for solo travellers, with guests offered single supplements fares from 25% on seven itineraries, booked before December 31.

Mall of America welcomes arrival of MythBusters

Mall of America welcomes arrival of Myth…

Tuesday, 18 October 2016 14:00

Running throughout autumn until January 15, 2017, visitors can ignite their curiosity and discover whether they can really huff and puff to blow a house down; if running in the...

Emirates to launch new daily service to Fort Lauderdale

Emirates to launch new daily service to …

Monday, 17 October 2016 11:00

Emirates has announced that it will launch a daily service between Dubai and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, on December 15, serving the South Florida area, including Fort Lauderdale, Miami and...

New tours in UK & Europe from Back-Roads Touring

New tours in UK & Europe from Back-R…

Monday, 17 October 2016 08:42

Small group tour specialist Back-Roads Touring has launched its summer 2017 brochure to reveal a unique line up of new itineraries in Switzerland, Scandinavia, the Baltics, France, Iberia and Russia.

Star studded cruise line up from CMV in 2017

Star studded cruise line up from CMV in …

Friday, 14 October 2016 10:16

Cruise & Maritime Voyages has announced five star-studded cruises for 2017 following the arrival of its new main brochure.

Non-stop flights to Manchester from SIA

Non-stop flights to Manchester from SIA

Friday, 14 October 2016 10:11

Singapore Airlines will fly non-stop between Singapore and Manchester from October 30 as part of its northern winter schedule.

By Richard English

I was quietly nursing a drink at a recent travel function when I was approached by a young lady, also bearing a drink, and wearing a determined expression on her face. I didn’t recognise her and was slightly taken aback when she said, “Ah. I know you! You’re Richard English” I had to admit that I was, indeed, he, and apologised for the fact that I didn’t recall where we had previously met.

Oh, we’ve never met”, she riposted, “but I recognised you from your picture in Travel Bulletin”. Which, if nothing else, must say something for the popularity of the paper, and maybe even for the quality of my picture.

And I wanted to tell you that your article last month was a load of rubbish”, she went on. “All about asking questions and finding out what people want. You want to try working in my office then you’ll see!” I levered my mouth shut to reply but she’d not finished.

I remembered what you wrote about those ‘open questions’ and I tell you – they don’t work!”

So what actually happened?” I finally managed to interject.

Well, we had one of the usual timewasters in – you know, didn’t know what he wanted. He came up to me and just said, ‘I’m thinking of a holiday’. So I remembered what you’d written and I used one of those six W’s and asked him where he wanted to go. And all he said was ‘well, I’m not sure’. So I asked him if he had any idea at all of where he wanted – was it in Europe or long-haul - and the idiot just said, ‘I really don’t know – that’s why I’m here’.”

So what did you do?”, I asked.

Well, what could I do? I told him to look at some brochures and come back when he knew where he wanted to go – and he took a few and left”.

Has he been back?” I enquired.

Of course not. Like I said, he was just a timewaster. Open questions? You’ve got to be joking!”

And she wandered off, doubtless in search of a refill.

So what went wrong this time?

The problem here is a simple one and stems from the difference between a customer’s priorities and a travel consultant’s priorities. In travel our work is all about destinations and ways of getting to destinations. So our immediate thought, when someone comes in to ask about travel, is destination-related. Where does that customer want to go? As soon as we have that information all those travel-related technical thoughts will start going through our minds: methods of travel, times of travel, services available – all that kind of thing. “Where” is generally the most important thing to travel people – and so it makes a lot of sense to us that our very first question should be “Where do you want to go?”.

But for customers “where?” is often the most difficult question since many of them, quite genuinely don’t know much about places and quite genuinely don’t know where they want to go. And why should they? It’s not their job to know; it’s yours.

Ask the easy ones first

As since many customers won’t immediately know the answer to the “where?” question – so why ask that one first? There are many other questions you can ask, and, as I wrote last time, if you are asking the questions then you are in control and can be developing a sales conversation – which should always be your first objective when you meet a potential customer.

When I was a travel agent my own preference was to ask first for the customer’s personal details, such as name, contact details and the numbers travelling. I have never yet had any customer in front of me who didn’t know the answer to those questions, very readily. And, let’s face it, you need to get them sooner of later so why not sooner? And, never forget, once you get a customer’s name then you can use that customer’s name and that helps to create rapport between you.

Then ask the more tricky ones

Once you have the customer’s personal details you can then ask a more tricky question – you could even try the “where?” question – although you might still get a “I’m not really sure” answer. But the difference is, by this stage, you have already established a degree of relationship with your customer and he or she isn’t likely to simply wander off, never to be seen again.

So, if you can’t get an answer to “where?” then try “when?”. Again, very few people have absolutely no idea of when they want to travel and that information will help to open up the conversation still more. And, again, you will need this information sooner of later.

And finally the trickiest ones of all

But you will, eventually, have to find out the answer to the “where?” question and this is when you need to uncover the customer’s “hidden needs”. You need to find out why that customer wants to travel and then you are on the way to finding out where. But of course, you can’t simply ask, “Why do you want to go on holiday?” – you need to be a bit more diplomatic than that and this is where you need to use the techniques of “probing to establish needs”. And that’s for next time.

For more information about this, or any other aspect of training, contact Richard English at Dormers, Church Road, Partridge Green, West Sussex, RH13 8JS. Telephone 01403 710371 or email retraining@pncl.co.uk

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