In a world of travel disruptors and rule-breakers, the traditional travel agent has been forced to shake things up a little in order to stay relevant to consumers.
And one of the best ways to do that is to make every holiday for every client totally customised and unique.
Speaking to Travel Weekly exclusively, Luxury Gold’s Managing Director, Alexandra O’Connor, said if you’re going to sell boutique travel and make those hot commissions, it’s got to be personal.
“Boutique travel is all about tailoring the travel experience to each individual guest, ensuring holidays are personalised to people’s preferences and wish lists, with every detail taken care of,” O’Connor said.
“I would expect to see VIP touches and luxurious surprises that delight at every turn.”
So what exactly is boutique travel, and why should clients be itching to experience it?
According to O’Connor, “From dining with famous people to visiting iconic sites closed to the general public, boutique travel makes you feel like a VIP and gives you a window on a destination often unseen by others.
“Having a Travelling Concierge on hand to book you tickets at the Paris Opera or secure a booking at that sold-out restaurant means that you can just focus on soaking up these incredible experiences.”
O’Connor told TW that the personalisation of travel is most important when it comes to selling boutique travel, with this trend set to grow even more in the future.
“Personalisation is an established trend that is set to become even pronounced in the future,” she explained.
“Agents who tailor holidays, which meet individual client dreams, will see those customers return to them time and time again. Cost is not necessarily a barrier to these clients but demonstrating value is always of utmost importance.”
So what about agents with clients who are new – perhaps even hesitant – to the whole boutique experience? How can you upsell this option to them?
“The best way to [introduce them to boutique travel] is to start with plenty of questions about what clients are looking for in a dream holiday and to explore alternatives with them,” O’Connor told TW.
“For example, do they dream of dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant or do they prefer to get their hands dirty making pasta with Nonna? Highlighting the value of spending your time doing exactly what you like is the way to win people over to this travel style.
“One of the biggest misconceptions is that boutique or luxury travel is formal and stuffy. This style of travel is not about jackets at dinner or gold-plated taps; it is about crafting incredible and meaningful experiences that will stay with guests for a lifetime.
“This could be dining with a duchess at their centuries-old estate or recording a song at Graceland with Elvis’ best friend.
“Our Luxury Gold guests come from all walks of life, brought together by a curiosity about the world and a desire to experience destinations a little bit differently.”