Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What Makes a Good Travel Agent Even Better. Thank You Seabourn!

I always find the different perspectives on with whom to buy one's cruise interesting. There are those that only consider price, those that consider assistance and yet others that consider extras.

An interesting thing happened just today when a client was given an inaccurate quote from another agency and then asked me to beat that price...after I had given a very significant discount already and irrespective of the hours spent discussing which cruise to take, logistics, quoting possible alternatives, etc.

I really thought about "Was it all price?", "What about the assistance I gave?", "What is the it extra that I could give or did give versus the other agent?"

But then I thought, if it was only about price then I would not have had to spend the hours working things out. And if it was about assistance, it would not really be about the price. But then I thought, "Ya know, it is actually about the extras...and that doesn't really mean a free tour or cocktail party."

The extras is making sure the client has a wonderful experience from beginning to end. So even though the travel agent with the error wasn't my employee (and, in fact, was my competition) I thought about the client being put in a bad place through the act of a bad travel agent. So I not only honored the erroneous quote, I beat it.

Maybe it was not the most expedient thing to do from a business perspective as to that single booking, but from a way to do business, I think it was the only thing to do. It put my client in a "win, win" situation. The client knows it got the best price AND it knows there is a travel agent willing to go the extra just to make sure the client is more than content.

As most of you know, I am a Pinnacle Club (top tier) agent with Seabourn Cruise Line. And you know that I believe Seabourn is the best cruise product out there in spite of it having (at least for now) the oldest, least amenitied, ships in the luxury market. Why?

It was thinking about what Seabourn would have done for its guest that gave me the answer.