Travel Agents

Opinion: Client appreciation is the secret weapon of travel agents

Darrell Hardidge

Darrell Hardidge

The one defining point between the travel industry and other industries is the immediate heart connection to the customer.

Ask anyone who has just booked their next destination of choice and you’ll hear an emotional expression imagining a future experience of joy and adventure. This creates a unique opportunity for the travel industry to define itself by a new valuable currency known as client appreciation, rather than the old currency of client satisfaction.

Most of our transactions are a combination of emotion and process and at best are just average experiences. Rarely do they create an experience we want to discuss with friends and family. The travel industry has the foundations of defining itself as one that creates the deepest and longest memories of human connection.

Travel often ends up about the people we meet, not just the places we visit and this in itself defines a unique point of difference.

Where else can you purchase something that delivers an experience way beyond what you expected and enhances the value of the purchase?

A company we support in designing the ultimate travel experience has mastered the ability to engage their team in delivering an emotional connection to their client that’s authentic and always with the optimal focus of being of service.

What sets them apart is how they ensure everyone on their team is clear on their intention in every moment of client engagement. The mantra that captures the essence of what’s required from every individual is a very simple ‘it must be 10/10 or nothing’. While I was travelling in Siem Riep Cambodia, I asked one of the tour guides if he knew my contact in Melbourne. He immediately responded with ‘you mean 10/10 John’. I was amazed at how they achieve such a profound commitment from their team. In a third world country with a very different culture and different language, immediately his training kicked in to be of the ultimate experience for us.

From working with some of the most successful private and family businesses we have found a distinction that defines their point of difference of service excellence. It starts with their identity and what they want to be known for. It’s always personal and highly emotionally driven. Their business reputation is the same as we want as individuals who seek integrity and trust as a measurement of our character. Their primary directive is to define their intention towards service excellence in every action and interaction, across every part of the business.

What will it take to be a 10/10 intention in communication, behaviour, service delivery, appearance, empathy, understanding, focus, to name a few? They ensure their team have clarity around what it takes to be intentional to deliver service excellence. It must go beyond the documented process of what to do, it must at its core come from who they intend to be in its delivery.

When the power of a 10/10 intention can form the architecture of client experience development, the results will take the client experience process beyond the sub-standard of satisfaction into a new and highly profitable realm of client appreciation.

Client appreciation is a profound service distinction that defines the identity of a company and its commitment, first to its team and second to its clients.

The focus must be the optimal 10/10 result as anything less leaves a small margin for error. Most companies talk it up but very few can prove it. When it comes to service excellence, talk is cheap and profound results are all that counts. As W. Edwards Deming, the founder of quality process said, ‘without data you’re just another person with an ‘opinion’. For the travel industry to define itself as one that delivers high standards and quality it requires proof that’s beyond the averages of others.

The proof must be in the reasons why clients appreciate their service and it must have a heart connection to the experience. Anywhere satisfaction is used in the language or assessment of service it has already failed to achieve the optimal client connection. Only appreciation can define a unique point of difference for a travel business.

Client appreciation ensures your point of difference is all about being better and it’s always linked to an emotional heart connection.


Darrell Hardidge is a customer experience strategy expert and CEO of customer research company Saguity, specialising in driving revenue growth from customer appreciation. Darrell is the author of The Client Revolution and The 10 Commandments of Client Appreciation.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Aviation

Image of plane passenger stitching dirty message mid-flight goes viral

by Christian Fleetwood

After reading this story, you’ll never look at your nan’s crochets the same again.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Joyce and Scurrah reject government’s calls to be silent on social issues

by Christian Fleetwood

In a big “stuff you” to ScoMo, the bosses of Qantas and Virgin are refusing to be silent on social issues, including the environment.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Villa review: Villa Kayajiwa, represented by www.elitehavens.com

by Dan Uglow

In part four of our series, Travel Weekly reviews a Grand Designs-type property that would make style tragics weak at the knees.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Thailand’s tourism authority insists it’s taking “serious action” on animal cruelty

by Christian Fleetwood

The Tourism Authority of Thailand says the recent deaths of 86 rescued tigers from a popular attraction are “a great loss”.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Flight Centre acquires Aussie travel company

Flight Centre is hoping this latest acquisition will give its Australian leisure business a much-needed boost.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Agent wrap: Agents say G’day to LA, win a trip to New York state + MORE!

If you’re not marching in the climate strike today, you may as well make use of your time in the office by checking out the latest famils and events.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Flavour of the Week: Crystalbrook Collection’s new PR, Akaryn Group gets VP of development and operations + MORE!

This week’s wrap of industry appointments is particularly flavoursome, and not just because it includes a man holding a whopping great mud cake.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Industry reacts to shock collapse of Tempo Holidays and Bentours

by Huntley Mitchell

The sudden exit of Tempo Holidays and Bentours from the local market has prompted other travel companies to offer support for affected agents and clients.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Aloha Friday Wrap: HTO’s romantic campaign, Oahu craft beer guide + MORE

This Aloha Friday Wrap has a bit of a romantic, craft beer-type of vibe, so don’t be surprised if you fall in love or become thirsty while reading it.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Youth ambassadors say “aloha” to responsible travel

Youth ambassadors from Australia, New Zealand and Japan are taking part in a responsible tourism project on the Island of Hawaii for International Coastal Clean-up Day tomorrow.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

The ultimate guide to Oahu’s craft beer scene

by Tiffany Hill

Beer lovers don’t have to look far to find a quality selection of locally-made beers on Oahu.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Kauai: What’s blooming on Hawaii’s Garden Island

Want to impress your clients with an awesome summer trip? Look no further than the golden sand and scenic coastlines of Kauai.

Share

CommentComments