My family and I were standing in the lobby of our hotel in Vienna, when our "Adventure Guide" Trevor handed me a map of the city.
"I’ve marked a few places I think you might like," he said opening the map. "It’s color-coded for attractions, shopping, dining. Let me show you."
"This looks hand-written," I said. "Why don’t you guys just do one map and keep making copies of it? That would be a lot easier."
Trevor smiled. "Maybe it would. But that’s not the Disney way."
As you’ll read in this issue’s cover story, "It’s a Small World After All", one of the secrets to the success of tour operator Adventures by Disney is its attention to detail. Whether it’s handwritten maps, arranging for a bike rental or making sure you get that photograph when the lighting is perfect, the company believes that the care it takes in handling the details gives it a competitive edge. They call this the Disney Difference.
This can be a good lesson for travel agents as well. With the economic news getting worse every day, have you reached out to some of your customers just to see how they’re doing? Anyone that has a trip planned has to be wondering if they’ve made a mistake every time they open a newspaper. A phone call or e-mail from you could give them the support they need to know they’re not alone right now. It can show that you understand their concerns and that you’ll be there to make sure they get the best value for their vacation budget. Make sure they understand that you’re not just looking out for your commissions, but that even if they decide not to take this trip, you’ll be there when they’re ready to travel.
This attitude shows that you’re thinking of them and are prepared to handle the little things that set you apart from your competition.
Take it from me, sometimes a small gesture — even some scribbles on a street map — can go a long way toward impressing your clients.