In a world full of social media communications and technology-based conversations, it has never been harder to have true face-to-face and personal relationships. Travel planning is a relationship based industry to the fullest. Why is this important and how can this be improved and maintained on a personal level?
Hospitality is defined as the quality of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly and generous way. Bottom line, be a nice human! How can we expect to maintain client relationships, resign contracts or negotiate special deals with vendors unless we develop trusting, reliable and kind rapport with others? This includes clients, attendees, reps, vendors and fellow peers.
I recently went on a site inspection with a client I had never met or worked with previously. Spending a few days, face-to-face, experiencing a beautiful destination and top-notch property led to excursions and adventure that will remain forever in my fond memories. Business aside, what did we do on this site visit? Whatever she wanted to do! An organized property tour, dine around at the resort outlets, an exhilarating zip-line experience and unforgettable snorkeling and sunset sail were all on the agenda. I left that site with a new friend and continued faith, on her end, in our product. Discovering details about the client, the group wants and quirks ultimately leads to a successful program.
Now, I’m not saying you have to go on a whirlwind adventure to build lasting relationships. Maintaining recurring dialog can happen on a more feasible scale. Luncheons, industry events or in-office meetings always help with networking and coming to know your peers.
A large part of our days are spent on the computer, receiving massive amounts of emails or sending countless texts. This part of the workday cannot be avoided, but how do you cultivate personal relations with others outside of your computer? A warm phone call to a rep or engaging in the lost art of letter writing to a client not only boost a more special means of communication, but make the recipient feel more exclusive in your life. Receiving a handwritten letter of thanks or a friendly gesture on a special occasion makes you feel so much more important in the eyes of the sender. If you take time out of your crazy busy life to personally reach out to a travel contact in any way, it sets a positive and committed vibe to that person and, ultimately, the program.
As travel planners, we come in contact with countless amounts of people, from hotel reps and employees to program attendees and industry peers. What better way to practice interpersonal skills and improve the level of personal relationships you’re engaged in then really getting to know those around you? Learning and remembering names may seem like such a minor task, but while on site those gestures are not taken for granted. A friendly “Good Morning, Mr. Jones” or a warm conversation, gaining further insight on one’s life, are tokens that improve the service given and customer loyalty. Winning praise and hearing positive feedback about what fun was had thanks to the incentive travel planner and how they hope to see you on the next program is immeasurable. Not only will the trip be that much more memorable in the attendee and clients eyes, but in yours, as well. In a relationship-based industry and environment, there is nothing more you can ask for than to use these symbols of kindness. Integrity and hospitable notions in order to kickoff and maintain lasting and true connections.
“You will never be completely at home again because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”
Associate Account Manager for The ISI Group of companies, consisting of:
- Incentive Solutions, Inc.
- Travel Solutions
Direct Contact: 678-514-0219
Sales Hotline: (800)-844-5000
2299 Perimeter Park Drive
Atlanta, GA 30341