Don't fixate on price, Travellers Choice warns agents

Don't fixate on price, Travellers Choice warns agents
By admin


Travellers Choice agents have been told not to become fixated on price as they were urged to believe in their expertise and ability to upsell.

The retailer's chief executive, Christian Hunter, said while consumers always want the cheapest deal, they are also searching for value and will be willing to pay for quality service levels and expert knowledge.

Hunter said agents sometimes make the mistake of focusing too much on finding the cheapest rates which he argued is not in the best interests of the consumer or their business.

“Clients are always focused on the cheapest price, and there is a fixation in trying to find the cheapest price, but research has shown that price is not the deciding factor,” Hunter told Travel Today. “It is all about the best value and that does not mean the cheapest.”

Providing “excellent” service levels, engaging with the customer and matching the right product to their needs will become more important than price, he said.

Hunter suggested a focus on price displayed an agents’ lack of confidence in the service and knowledge they provide, and their ability to close the sale.

He likened agents’ approach to price to their nervousness towards service levels when they were first introduced. It is not a lack of ability, but a lack of belief, Hunter said, although he recognised the competitive landscape did put pressure on agents.

“It’s competitive. We have lots of bricks and mortar competition as well as online and price is a factor. But it’s not the only factor,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hunter said agents’ level of support for preferred suppliers was continuing to rise, although he conceded leakage could never be eliminated.

The 2012/13 financial year saw double digit growth in revenue from preferred agreements, with budgeted sales exceeding expectation.

“We are trying to elevate our members’ understanding of what a preferred deal looks like,” he said. “The difference with Travellers Choice is that the profits we make goes back to the shareholders, who are our members, so they see the benefit of selling preferreds.

“It’s never going to be possible for sales to be 100% through preferred suppliers but it is getting better all the time.”

Hunter also flagged improvements to members’ websites which now have greater flexibility with agents able to upload more unique content.

TC Direct – the network’s direct mail system – is also going “gangbusters”, he said.

Hunter added that digital marketing was increasingly taking over from print advertising where it is hard to demonstrate a return on investment.

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