The case for complexity
Thursday, September 04, 2014
Go easy. Take it easy. Easy does it. Nice and easy.
We are constantly exhorted to do things the easy way. But is the easy way the best way?
When designing your next client itinerary, why not consider the harder, more complex and more comprehensive path? For example, a client requests a flight and hotel accommodations. But you take it one step further to add unique activities, transfers or rental cars, and insights to shopping and dining. There are multiple benefits to this approach, despite being more time-intensive.
First, it enhances the client travel experience. Instead of leaving your clients to figure out internal logistics on arrival at destination, you've removed the confusion. Taxi, shuttle, private transfer, rental car or train — you’ve done the homework on which is best.
Prebooking unique activities using your trusted vendors ensures that your clients receive the most quality, unique experiences that destination has to offer through vendors whose commitment to customer service mirrors your own. Don't allow your clients to "wing" all their experiences. That makes them vulnerable to less-than-desirable vendors. Also, they’ll spend their precious vacation time planning activities when they should be doing activities.
Even clients who insist they simply to want to relax and do nothing will get bored after three days of nothingness, and that's when they'll go hunting on their own for activities, and possibly grumble about how you let them down without advice on things to do. They're at risk for poorly delivered activities at undesirable prices and missed opportunities. You're the destination expert, so incorporate must-do activities based on their personality profiles.
Secondly, designing a comprehensive itinerary showcases your expertise as a destination expert and travel planner. You've taken care of myriad details that most travelers haven't even considered in order to have a stressless and fulfilling experience. So use your knowledge to address issues they might not have considered: Currency exchange, travelers' checks vs. ATMs (and even what they're called in Europe), travel alerts for banks and credit card companies, packing advice, TSA info, Passport Control and Customs encounters, duty-free purchases, European train idiosyncrasies, etc.
By addressing all these issues in your client planning sessions and itinerary design, your clients will realize how little they know and how much they need your expertise. Left to their own devices, they might easily make critical and costly errors or omissions. You'll be a star in their eyes because of your all-encompassing planning. Your clients only have to show up and enjoy themselves. You've invested time, money and energy to learn all that you know, so bring it front and center for your clients to recognize.
And lastly, by designing a comprehensive itinerary, your clients will find it more difficult to do a line-item cost comparison. If you only book a hotel room, your clients will likely do a simple online search to find dozens of cheaper quotes, even if it's only one dollar cheaper. So why make it easy for them to cut you out of the picture?
Your clients need you, and one of your goals is to make sure they know they need you. Designing a comprehensive itinerary that showcases all your professional expertise accomplishes that goal.
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