With economic uncertainty still dominating the headlines, it can be easy to think it is all doom and gloom out there. However, there are markets that are fighting back and the escorted coach tour industry is certainly one of them.
Built on years of customer service and the ability to offer a level of convenience untouched by many other forms of travel, there's plenty of potential there. Many customers may be unaware of the comfort of coach travel - such as the extra leg room and porterage included as part of our luxury Silver Service offering - or the early booking offers and the wide variety of tours available; we are proud to offer a choice of more than 180 tours to destinations such as Croatia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, North Africa and the rest of mainland Europe. It may not always be the most obvious choice to some of your customers, but savvy agents can make bookers realise that holidays by coach have a lot to offer.
And, because of the nature of its appeal, it important that escorted coach tours retain their integrity and quality. We're continuing to invest in our services and provide added value to our agents and customers to do just that. As easy as it is to scream 'sale' or cut back on service levels, we have instead committed to getting to know our customers, gaining their trust and reminding them of all the great benefits we offer and this has proven to be just as effective.
One of our biggest investments has been in grass roots marketing and we've sent team after team into the field to make sure we're talking directly to our customers and using their feedback to tailor our services.
We've also spent a lot of time with our network of agents, as we appreciate how important they are in our partnership and that they need to feel fully equipped to not only sell our holidays but inspire people to travel with us. By taking the time to visit our agents, and work with them on a face-to-face basis, we can really bring our tours to life and I think everyone involved has benefited from this approach.
Staying positive and connected with our agents and customers is certainly helping us push forward in the right direction. We look forward to continuing to spread our optimism to many more agents over the months in return for positive sales.
Here are my Top 10 'Coaching for Results' tips
1) It may sounds obvious, but get to know the brochure/products. If you know your stuff, the customer feels well informed, and more confident about you. Also, being able to reference what's included in these tours - in terms of all the excursions and catering or the quality accommodation - will only reaffirm what great value for money they are to your client.
2) Don't let personal prejudice get in the way. Even if you don't like their choices, customers always respond to positive people.
3) Don't make assumptions: not everyone wants to, or can afford, to fly or drive. Make customers aware of all the choices.
4) Point of sale promotion is as important for coach as for summer sun, so why not include it in your windows.
5) Coach holiday customers often book several holidays at once. If you are aware, the earning potential is huge.
6) You'll probably find it's not necessary to discount coach holidays. However, to help nail those sales, use our 'Early Booking Offers' and 'Free Disney Hotel Upgrades.'
7) Short breaks by coach compare very favourably with other forms of transport, the hassle free nature, convenience of local collection points and much lower price, being a major factor. What's more, coach travel has come a long way over the years – holidaymakers can expect the same, if not better, comfort and quality of facilities as airline standard.
8) Short breaks and special interest holidays are very healthy sectors of the market and many have tour managers/guides to add value and enhance a holiday. Customers are not always aware of this, so it's up to you to let them know.
9) Do any of your customers travel as a group? Go after their business. Pubs/clubs/factories often have group organisers. Why not contact them?
10) Finally, coach holidays are well priced, easy to book, profitable, and more popular than you think, so recognise the market and realise your potential.
For more information visit leger.co.uk