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Cracking the Code of Client-Centered Consultations

As a travel advisor, you need to ensure that your clients understand exactly what they’re getting when they hire you. You want them to know what you do and how you can help them achieve their goals. You need to know every nook and cranny of where they want to go, what they want to see, and how they will get there – or at least know how and where to find those answers, so, when it comes time for them to book with you, it’s usually a slam dunk. After all, you’re the one who helps your clients plan their dream vacations.

It’s frustrating for travel advisors to have clients disappear on them with little or no warning. Many travel agents encounter client ‘ghosting’ where clients just stop responding or communicating with them after getting a quote for their trip. Have you ever experienced that? Are you charging a fee? How did you feel when your prospective client disappeared like that?

You may have thought: “Why would they do that? I did all this work for them!” However, there are reasons why this happens—and it’s not always because they’re planning on ditching you or not using your services.

In the end, you’re left wondering what happened.

So, how do you prepare and start a consultation to get your clients to stick with you? Here are some valuable tips:



The first rule of thumb when it comes to travel advisors is that they should always be personal when talking to their clients. This means knowing what kind of food they like, what activities they enjoy, and where in the world they want to go. It also means getting a sense of how they are outside of work—what their hobbies are, what makes them feel at home, and how far away from home they are willing to go.

While we’re not suggesting that you go through your clients’ trash or snoop around their houses, you can certainly use the internet to get to know them better as people without letting on that this is what you are doing.

You can use their social media accounts to get personal with the people who have hired you to help plan their vacations, and it will make them feel like you care about what they want from their trip—and that you’ve done your homework. Then, when they come in for a consultation with YOU (the travel advisor), YOU will already know so much about them! Not to mention, when they ask questions about places they’ve been or things they enjoy doing while traveling, you’ll be able to answer them confidently because you already know all about them – but don’t tell them!



Don’t leave it to your client to initiate a Zoom meeting—you should take the reins on this one. Don’t worry if they seem unsure or reluctant about using video conferencing; always assume that both parties are interested so as not to come off as pushy or indecisive. Then schedule the time based on what works best for everyone involved.

If the client says they are unavailable on one day, ask them for another time that might work instead. Offer two or three different dates and times, then allow your prospect to choose from among them—rather than telling the client what date will work best. For instance, you might say: “I was thinking of scheduling a call with you this week—do you have any time on Thursday or Friday between 12-4 pm EST?”

When you’re scheduling Zoom meetings with clients, don’t ask if they’d like to see each other on their screens (as if you’re deciding whether or not they have time in their schedule) — the goal is to just get everyone connected!

If they don’t respond to your email, don’t send another one before contacting them via phone or text message instead. If they still don’t respond after two days, send another email asking if they got your previous communication and remind them of the date and time of your meeting, especially if it’s coming soon.

Make sure your client’s contact information is up-to-date. This includes their name, email address, phone number, and any other details of everyone on the trip. It’s essential to gather as much contact information as possible when networking because an incomplete list makes it difficult to follow up with contacts after the meeting has ended. It’s important to note that this doesn’t have to be done at the beginning of the conversation.

Make sure you have your presentation materials ready before starting the meeting. Be sure to use your time wisely during these appointments by asking questions to refine your pitch based on what works best for each client!



Be transparent with your service fee, “I charge my clients a professional fee for research and itinerary building because I handle all the details of their trips so that they can enjoy themselves without having to worry about anything. One way to do this is by asking: “Why did you hire me as Travel Advisor?” They might say, “I feel like I haven’t taken a real vacation in years and need some time off from work but don’t have the time to plan one.”

You can position that since you are a travel advisor, you have access to insider information and relationships that allow your clients’ trips to be exceptional—and better than anything else they could find on their own. You can use this as an opportunity to suggest they work with you. You can add, “Would this service be something you will invest in?”



If you’re a travel agent, you know this can be one of the most important conversations you’ll have with your client. There’s nothing more frustrating than a client who says they want to go to Fiji, but then doesn’t want to spend the money on it. By asking about the client’s budget, you not only have a better idea about how to build an itinerary but can avoid the objection, “I don’t have the money for this.”

This can be tricky because some people are uncomfortable talking about money. Keep in mind that you need to understand what kind of vacation experience your client wants and how much they’re willing to spend on it.

If you don’t know how much money your client has available for this trip, how can you ensure their expectations are realistic? You want them to have an amazing time on vacation, but if they’re going over budget, they will either have to cut back on certain activities or find another way to fund the extra costs—and neither option is ideal!

Give your client options! You can always suggest alternatives that will not break the bank! You can design a vacation to meet their preferred level of luxury or let them remove pricey activities to stay within their price point.



A great travel agent knows how to make clients feel like they are the most important person in the room during these meetings and throughout all stages of planning for a trip. One of the best ways to accomplish that is by making them feel like you’re doing more than just selling them a product or service—you want to know them, too! During consultations, asking clients good questions is essential because it helps you better tailor their vacation preferences, increasing your chances of closing a sale.

Get personal when talking to clients by asking questions like “Where did you go on your last vacation?” and “What were some of your favorite parts of that trip?” If they have allergies or dietary restrictions if they’re traveling with children, and much more, there’s one question that’s perhaps more important than all the others: “What do you want out of this trip?” You can ask them what they want from the vacation and offer suggestions. For example, if they say they want a relaxing trip, tell them about a destination that offers plenty of activities, but also has lots of downtime.

The most important thing to remember when asking questions is that they should match your client’s needs and interests. If your client’s favorite place to visit is a beach, you can make the trip more interesting by talking about Mexico’s white sand beaches rather than art museums or historic sites.

During your consultation call, strike a balance between asking the right questions and providing enough information to help clients make an informed decision—but not so much that they feel overwhelmed.

By asking the right questions, you can gauge how satisfied clients are by previous vacation experiences.



Many clients have difficulty committing to a large purchase, like a vacation, because of financial concerns or other factors. If you can show them that putting down an early deposit will save them money, they will be more likely to commit early.

In addition, asking when they plan to put down a deposit also helps you set realistic expectations for yourself and your clients. If they tell you that they plan on waiting until the last minute before making any decisions, be sure to point out that prices are subject to change based on availability until deposits and payments are in place. There may be no assurance that their itinerary will still be available.

If you want to create urgency before price changes, ask when they plan to put down a deposit. You can also try saying something like: “I know it’s hard to decide on the right time and place to book your vacation, but if we don’t get things started soon, you’ll miss out on these great savings or this great itinerary/experience!”

Create an environment where they know it will be harder if they wait.



There is a phrase that many travel advisors have adopted to remind prospective clients about how the internet works and it goes a little something like: “The internet is for looking, a travel advisor is for booking.”

As a travel agent, you’re probably well aware of how much your clients love to search online for their flight options. You can rarely find someone who hasn’t already looked up your company or at least done a quick search on Google. It’s a natural part of the process for most people—they don’t want to feel like they’re being sold anything, so they like doing their research and comparing prices.

When clients come to you, they’re looking for someone who can help them plan their trip. They want to know that they’re getting the best deal possible (which isn’t always financially motivated, but rather experience motivated), and they trust that you’ll only recommend things that suit their personal interests.

Use this time to learn more about their expectations from what they have found through their own research and how you can utilize that to make their perfect vacation come to life.



A scheduled callback is the best way to confirm with your client when you will be connecting with them again and it allows you the opportunity to schedule a new appointment without any major roadblocks. This is also an easy way to ensure that your potential client understands what the next steps will be in your process and when you will be back in touch. It also opens lines of communication so they can either decide to prepare for the call in advance, or just be ready to go over everything you will be discussing in your next conversation.

If you don’t schedule a follow-up call and decide to hope for the best when you send your next follow-up email, there’s a good chance your client will decide against the vacation, forget about you – or worse, book with another travel advisor who goes one step further to secure their booking. This one simple step could make all the difference to your travel business.

Following these very easy steps should help make your next proposal conversation run a little bit smoother.

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Steven Gould

Steven Gould

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