The high-end traveler is perhaps the most coveted customer for
those selling travel.
That’s because many luxury travelers are willing to pay handsome
fees for trips that cater to their needs and are molded to their
But while the luxury-travel market holds some of the biggest
money-making potential for travel agents, to attract the
well-heeled traveler agents need to give something back significant
“When you’re dealing with a client in any segment of the luxury
market you need to realize that they can afford the best and often
want the best,” said Bruce Tepper of Joselyn, Tepper &
“So they want to deal with experts and professionals,” he said.
“They value an expert’s advice and are less inclined to do it
Joanie Ogg, president of NACTA, says that targeting this niche
can make sense for agents because wealthier clients typically are
less affected by economic downturns and driven more by perceived
value rather than price.
They also are used to using professional services and paying for
them. The best way to target the luxury crowd, according to Tepper,
is by the same means an agent would design a specialization in any
other area, except with the luxury market in mind.
“To become an expert you just build around your own interest and
areas of knowledge and find a market around those interests and
areas of knowledge,” he said.
Music, museums, golf, wine-tasting, yachting, skiing and
cultural tours are common interests and can be narrowed to
something as specific as the great opera houses of Europe.
A luxury specialization can even be tailored to a certain
Tepper noted one agency that handled travel just for lawyers. In
the process, one agent learned that there is an area on board an
airplane where a lawyer should never be seated, the bulkhead,
because there are fewer billable minutes on the flight since the
briefcase has to be stowed overhead.
It’s little nuances like that that are demanded by the high-end
traveler, and knowing those things, as well as the client and
market, are keys to success in this niche.
Ogg also notes that attention to detail is key. “They’re not
looking for problem solvers but a seamless problem anticipator,”
For agents who want to target this niche, Tepper said: “The
biggest thing is that it takes a radical change in mindset with how
you do business. Not everyone is your client and you may find
yourself turning people away.”