I recently carried out some coaching work with a luxury tour operator, and was working with the sales teams with the aim of looking at how we add value to the clients holiday experience.
From a company point of view they wanted the sales consultants to start selling the added extras, such as spa treatments, golf days and so on, as profit levels on these were good, and experience told them clients often booked them anyway when they were there.
There was resistance about this from many consultants, as they were price conscious. Clients were already spending an average of £5K per person on a holiday, and were intimidated about asking for even more money. This was understandable as the consultants only used to spend approximately £250 per person on their own holidays!
The (real life) example we used was of a couple that were looking to book a honeymoon in St Lucia. They were understandably very excited about it and the holiday consultant involved did a great job of meeting their requirements.
Using her knowledge of the island and the hotels she was able to recommend the ideal hotel to the prospective husband who was organising the booking.
It would be their first trip to St Lucia and the consultant advised him that the normal transfer to the hotel took approximately an hour and a half from the airport. The transfer would be by jeep and would involve going over hills on a fairly rough road. The better option would be to make the transfer by helicopter, would take 20 minutes and would give them fabulous views of the island. Yes it would cost an extra $80 each, but it would be a great treat to surprise his new bride with and a fantastic way to start their honeymoon. The client agreed and the holiday was booked.
When they returned from holiday the consultant gave them a call to make sure they were happy with the holiday, the hotel and the island. She spoke to Mary, the new bride.
Mary was delighted, the weather had been fantastic, the hotel was brilliant and she was really touched by the flowers that the consultant had arranged for them upon their arrival. The first night they had gone to the bar for a drink before their meal, and had met another couple who were also there on their honeymoon. The couples talked about their weddings, how good it was to be in St Lucia, how great the hotel was and so on.
Mary told the consultant about a specific part of the conversation:
“Wasn’t the helicopter transfer fantastic?” asked Mary.
“what helicopter transfer?” asked Julie, the second bride.
“Oh, Brian arranged it, the company we booked with told us that the normal transfer took over 90 minutes and was quite rough, so we might be better transferring by helicopter. It was worth it, because we got some fantastic views of the island and the hotel as we came in”
“Why didn’t we do the helicopter transfer?” Julie asked her husband.
“I didn’t know there was one, they didn’t tell me.” The gloomy husband replied.
The questions we asked the consultants, were
“How do you think the two couples felt about their honeymoon when they were sitting in the bar?”
“How do you think they felt about the consultant who had sold them the holiday?”
“Who had the best honeymoon?”
“Which company was recommended for future holidays?”
“Who benefitted the most from the extra $160 it cost for the helicopter transfer?”
Adding value to the cutomer’s buying experience is a benefit to everyone involved, and unless we take the time to make the client aware of all the relevant options available to them, we are doing the client a disservice.
How can you add value to your clients buying experience?