Keeping Up With Your Suppliers

Ed Jackson, President, Runaway Tours Travel consumers are becoming much more savvy. Although value is of great importance, travelers are not looking for bargain-basement rates. Instead, they are looking for fair prices, more options in the premium end of the market and a greater variety of unique activiti

By: Ed Jackson, President, Runaway Tours

Travel consumers are becoming much more savvy. Although value is of great importance, travelers are not looking for bargain-basement rates. Instead, they are looking for fair prices, more options in the premium end of the market and a greater variety of unique activities and diversions. As a result, there is a growing need for travel agents and suppliers to work together through their preferred wholesalers to learn more about what’s available. Education is critical, and providing clients with individualized itineraries is in demand.

With the travel industry still in a state of flux, Runaway realizes that we need to help our partners travel agents and vendors grow their businesses in the premium market in order to sustain a competitive edge. One of the key elements to success is niche marketing. Savvy agents develop specific customer databases that help them identify each client’s specific interests. Then, by working with their preferred wholesaler, travel agents can create specialty packages with added values that pertain to those particular markets.

And, although some consumers surf the Internet in search of bargains, this tool is by no means replacing the value of knowledgeable travel consultants, nor is it necessarily true that Internet sites automatically offer the best available rates. In fact, travel agents remain the cornerstone of the premium travel market. This particular market segment expects the solid counsel of professional travel agents who can impart the product knowledge crucial to creating individualized and memorable travel itineraries. In order to grow your premium client base, look for preferred travel partners who can offer you:

" Inside sales consultants who are true destination specialists.

" Fresh and innovative products that provide unique experiences.

" Personalized promotional tools to distribute to niche markets.

" Customized marketing campaigns to help grow your client base.

" Education on the most popular and undiscovered destinations.

" Fam trips and excellent, longstanding vendor relations with hotels, airlines, ground-transportation companies and recreational resources that ensure clients receive the best possible service.

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