Ensuring long-term client loyalty is crucial, The Travel Snob, David Walker a homeworker for Not Just Travel based in Nottingham explains

One of my higher spenders wanted to take their son and his buddy on a trip for his 21st birthday.

Given his ‘party animal’ history, I had all sorts of ideas for what I thought was right for him and for what Mum and Dad would like too.

“Mum asked me to quote her for Jumby Bay in Antigua, and then for Dad, the son and his mate to fly on to Vegas where a few of his other friends would join them.”

By the way, this is the same son I’ve previously written about – the one we flew first class to New York for four nights at the Four Seasons, so he could go to the Rolex store and pick his 18th birthday present.

Mum asked me to quote her for Jumby Bay in Antigua, and then for Dad, the son and his mate to fly on to Vegas where a few of his other friends would join them.

I did my usual ‘are you in front of a computer’ call, rang her and sent over the quote for review.

She loved it, but she was a little bit surprised with what I then said. “This is the price, but I’m not going to book it for you,” I told her.

Surprise advice

She wasn’t expecting that. So I explained. I told her I didn’t feel this holiday would be right for her and her family at this time: that not only would she hate it but her son would go stir-crazy with such a lack of his usual high standard of nightlife.

I also managed to find a video of the villa she would have stayed in and got her to watch the first 40 seconds. She soon agreed with me.

Then came those amazing words you just love from a client. “David, what would you do, then?” If only I had £90k to spend on a holiday…

“The point is, it’s not all about the commission you earn on an individual trip but about the longevity with the customer.”

The family has since opted instead for three nights in New York at their beloved Four Seasons, plus seven nights in Miami, before the boys fly off to Vegas for three days and Mum flies back to the UK.

The total cost for this is just under £50k. And Mum is now saying she’ll pay for a few of her son’s mates to fly to Vegas to join the others.

The point is, it’s not all about the commission you earn on an individual trip but about the longevity with the customer. Mum really would not have enjoyed Jumby Bay, but in her mind that’s what she wanted. She had no doubt read somewhere that celebs go there so, in her head, she should too. It’s about where you tell your hairdresser you’re going to next, or name-dropping who you stayed next to on holiday into a conversation with your nail technician.

Long-term view

What they did book is a great trip for the family. The son will have a ball. They have a list of hip places to go to from a good insider based in Miami who’ll get them on guest lists and good tables. And they’ll be back to book more trips, even if Mum doesn’t book the mates to Vegas. So I may have lost out with a booking that’s £30k or so lower, but I’ll make up for it in the future.

“They have a list of hip places to go to from a good insider based in Miami who’ll get them on guest lists and good tables.”

I know we’re all desperate for the bigger bookings at the moment, but think long-term. Even more important than higher commissions right now is keeping our clients sweet for their future business.

And while I’d love to go to Jumby Bay, close the door and throw away the key (it is all-inclusive, after all), for others it’s just not right.


Oddest booking of the week

Regular Silversea customers sent me a screenshot via WhatsApp of a Marella Caribbean cruise and asked if I could book it. My response? I thought they’d been hacked.

“She has since asked what the wine selection is like, and I’ve explained “red or white and probably only by the glass”.”

It turns out, one of their parents has booked that cruise (not with me) and, as it’s his birthday, they wanted to book on the same cruise as a surprise. I’ve pimped it up, of course: given them a suite, all-inclusive plus (there’s a new word for them), premium seats etc. She has since asked what the wine selection is like, and I’ve explained “red or white and probably only by the glass”. She’ll be doing a lot of deep breaths that week, I’m sure.

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