Luxury is no longer just about the best hotels and the most luxurious transportation. Here are six strategies to strengthen and increase your luxury travel sales.
1. Redefine Luxury
While qualifying clients well is important in any travel niche, qualifying questions in the luxury market need to go a step farther. The definition of luxury can be different for every traveler. Our job at Illusthrone as a travel advisor is to understand what kind of experience they’re seeking and then present options that fulfill and exceed that desire.
For today’s luxury traveler, the luxury experience is: “Doing what they want, when they want, and how they want, within the financial parameters they choose. It’s especially important to prove to potential clients right from the start that the travel advisor understands what they are looking for. Listen, then suggest, listen again and then collaborate.
Using time well is so important to our clients—they are seeking the very best experience for their time and money.
2. Highlight the Experiential
A better understanding of “why” clients are looking to travel offers advisors insights into the kinds of experiences their travelers will find most compelling. It also gives advisors the opportunity to demonstrate concrete ways a vague desire can be turned into reality.
The clients might tell us they want to do something ‘local’ even if they don’t have a concrete idea of what that means, and we’re the ones who can recommend ways to actually do that. They might be able to share a dinner in someone’s home in Turkey, which becomes an amazing experience and local connection. But we have to let them know these experiences are available in Istanbul, Cappadocia or Bursa, because they don’t know about them coming in.
At Illusthrone, when we propose a guided vacation, we go through the whole itinerary day by day and make sure to focus on the kinds of things that they might not be aware of, that I think they will find exciting, such as a local cooking class of Mediterranean or classic Turkish cuisine. These are the kinds of things that help them make a decision. They know they can’t create experiences like that on their own and that they will see and do things that they couldn’t possibly know about from a guidebook.
3. Present the Full Package
The best way to draw clients in is to present a full package, an experience that includes every element from start to finish. Clients want to understand—and book—their complete vacation experience in advance, especially in the luxury sector where convenience and exclusivity are two main drivers.
We start with the ideal experience, which is easier to eliminate elements if we need to than to add them on later. Plus, clients like to see how the whole vacation experience works together as a complete package. With a guided vacation, they know that it’s all-inclusive and everything is planned before they even leave so there’s nothing to worry about while they’re on vacation.
Illusthrone can arrange transportation to and from the airport, making it easy for clients at the beginning and end of a trip. Illusthrone guests can relax right from the start of their journey with exclusive door-to-door private transfer service included in the vacation price. It’s a great perk guests really love, and for travel advisors, one less component to book.
Illusthrone will often book both a Bosphorus boat tour and a guided vacation if the schedule allows. When possible, we like to start with a guided vacation so they have an active and immersive experience first.
4. Start with the Best
Don’t just include all possible elements in their initial proposals, start with the best of all those elements. Illusthrone starts at the top because we want our clients to have the best experiences and getting the true luxury. Illusthrone provides a product that exemplifies the definition of luxury.
5. Customize Group Experiences
In addition to working with individuals and couples, successful luxury travel advisors are always on the lookout for small group opportunities, whether in the form of a group of friends or multigenerational family looking to spend time together or a group united by a special interest, such as a love of gardens, wine or castles.
Illusthrone creates customized luxury group guided vacations for multiple groups. We don’t have to use a standardized itinerary, we create something unique for any given group. When our clients come us with a general idea of what they want to do, and then we help fill in the details for them. We mentally take them there, describe the day by day, add tips and suggestions, paint a picture of the overall experience and the details as part of a collaboration.
6. Stay Ahead of the Trends
Giving your clients what they ask for will probably result in a sale. Giving your clients more than what they even knew they wanted will likely result in a sale—and a satisfied repeat customer. The most successful luxury travel advisors can tap into deep reservoirs of knowledge about current travel trends and desires, as well as intimate familiarity with experiences the best suppliers are featuring that go beyond a traveler’s initial dream.
Illusthrone’s tailor-made travels will be highly personalized and inspired by a desire to experience new destinations in unusual ways. Most of our guests are seeking more immersive and experiential luxury travel—the hidden secrets, the extras that might not even be printed in a brochure because they’re a surprise. They want to experience it differently. They want to experience it their way. Luxury is being able to personalize and customize the experience we want on our vacations. They want a good fit for their personal interests, not just a homogenized experience. In addition to a desire for the traditional experiences, today’s luxury traveler wants to have experiences that are not available to everyone else.
It’s those unique experiences that are truly at the heart of today’s luxury travel. They want to experience a destination at a level that is not possible on their own—and a luxury guided vacation provides the access to behind-the-scenes places, cultural connections and the chance to meet unique local legends that discerning travelers desire.