Travel Business CPR

Selling Preferred

Preferred suppliers are those vendors to whom a travel agency chooses to give a predominate portion of its business in return for more favorable treatment. You earn this relationship by proving that you have sufficient sales and you are able to direct your sales volume to a particular supplier.

I often hear travel counselors say they represent all travel products equally. Yet we know we all have our favorite ships, favorite tour operators, and for that matter, favorite customers. Consider your client Mr. Walker, for example. He takes his daughter on two cruises a year, with an average cost per trip of $20,000. Next year they are going around the world.

Will you consider giving Mr. Walker and his daughter a $100 bar/boutique credit or the same $25 bottle of wine all your other clients receive? All your clients deserve your best travel knowledge and expertise - but your preferred clients get preferred treatment. The $100 bar/boutique credit doesn't just say "thanks for booking this trip." It essentially says, "I want to be sure you book your next trip with me as well, not with the agency across the street."

Your preferred suppliers want you to have the same mindset with them - that you will keep bringing your business to them, not to the competition.

Focusing on your preferred suppliers benefits you, your customers and your travel agency/business:

  • higher commissions/overrides which can help you earn higher incentives - higher commissions for each agent ultimately mean higher commissions for the company as well;
  • the opportunity to offer clients a better price or class of service;
  • protection for your customer's investment, since all your preferred supplier accept credit cards, automatically insuring them against bankruptcies;

Be sure every agent knows who your preferred suppliers are - for cruises as well as tours, airlines, hotels, and car rental agencies.

Your customers can give you the best feedback on the services they are actually receiving from these suppliers. If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions about particular vendors or the preferred supplier program in general - speak up directly with your supplier!

Travel business consultants such as Travel Business CPR will investigate and negotiate on your behalf with travel suppliers and provide training to your front-line sales staff on how to sell preferred vendors.

Tharwat Abouraya, CTIE

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