Cheap Travel – How To Avoid The Trap

Cheap Travel: Will It Lose You Customers?

by Kelly Monaghan

“Cheap travel.” The very words draw prospects like moths to a flame, and leave travel agents with a fear of getting burned.

cheap travel

Cheap travel. Do you really want to sell it?

My office received a call once from a woman who was thinking about becoming a home-based travel agent. But one thing was bothering her. “How can I be sure that I can quote the customer the best price, without worrying that they’ll be able to go on the Internet and get a lower price?” she wanted to know.

Well, the simple answer is, “You can’t be.” But that glib answer really misses the point. This person had a basic misconception – more like several – about how success as a home-based travel agent (indeed, success in any business) really works. In other words, she’s afraid that someone looking for cheap travel will go elsewhere in search better prices.

Cheap Travel: The Misconceptions

Misconception #1: Selling travel is all about “cheap travel.”

Wrong, wrong and wrong again. There are plenty of travel products that are not “cheap travel,” never have been and never will be.

Think for a minute: Why are some products cheap? Because there’s a lot of supply and not enough demand. Or if there’s plenty of demand, there’s too much competition. Sound a little like the airline industry? That’s why you see the feeding frenzy around cheap airfares.

I believe that anyone who sets out in business to provide the absolute cheapest, rock-bottom price of a product that anyone else can sell is out of their mind. Yes, businesses can be successful selling cheap travel. But to succeed this way you need a razor sharp business model, you must be able to cut your costs to the bone, and you must be able to take advantage of economies of scale.

That’s why so many entrepreneurs saw an opening in selling cheap travel on the Internet. Computer technology gave them a cost cutting edge and the vast reach of the Internet gave them the economy of scale. They spent money where they had to (on advertising to drive traffic to their sites) and cut it everywhere else (on “luxuries” like customer service and quality guarantees, for example).

There is a school of thought that this strategy can work for the “little guy” as well as the Expedias of this world.

Besides, where is it written that you always have to sell the cheapest thing at the cheapest price? There are plenty of fun products to sell that are not cheap, never have been, never will be. In fact, the cheaper the product the more likely it’s going to be a grind to sell it; conversely, the more expensive the product, the more fun to sell it. Which would you rather specialize in, cheap travel from Detroit to Orlando on an airline that pays no commission or cruises of the Riviera aboard a three-masted clipper ship?

My home study course discusses ways you can still make money – good money – selling air in the right circumstances, but by and large you’ll be better off focusing your attention and your energies elsewhere. Somewhere where you can have some fun and makes some decent money.

Misconception #2: People who want cheap travel prices one time want cheap prices every time.

Again, simply not true. When it comes to point-to-point air many people, most people even, will want the lowest price. But when it comes to their summer vacation or the honeymoon they are buying for their son and daughter-in-law, that’s something else again.

Misconception #3: If I can’t give the lowest price, I’ll lose the “cheap travel” game and my customer.

So? Some customers you want to lose. Like the ones my caller was afraid would go on the Internet to find a cheaper fare. Others will come back when their needs change.

Misconception #4: I have to compete with those cheap travel sites on the Internet.

The cheap-o Internet sites are not your competition. They are doing you a favor by sucking off all the low-rent, cheapskate customers you don’t want anyway.

Besides, there is a limit to what can be sold on the Internet. True, a greater variety of travel products are being sold on the ‘Net than just a few years ago, but it’s still mostly cheap travel –airfare, mostly — the classic commodity product.

The most successful home-based agents are selling things that people can’t find on the Internet easily. Or, if the product is mentioned on an Internet site, it’s a product offered by a supplier that protects travel agents by not selling directly to the public.

‘How To Sell Travel Like A Pro’ Module 3

Students of the Home-Based Travel Agent Success Course get a complete course
on selling travel. Finding prospects, zeroing in on the best ones, presenting
targeted travel recommendations, closing the sale. And more.

Click here to access your course.

Don’t have the course? Click here.

Misconception #5: The customer determines what you sell.

Allowing this to happen is one of the big mistakes home-based agents make when they are just starting out. There’s a great temptation, when a customer asks you about a destination or type of travel that you’ve never heard of, to say, “Sure I’ll research that for you.” And for most beginners it’s probably not such a bad idea to go ahead and dig into the request. After all, you’ll learn something and you probably don’t have too many other customers to worry about. But as a long-term business strategy, it’s not a good idea.

Far better to concentrate on an area in which you can become truly expert.

Misconception #6: The customer determines when you sell.

The cheap travel price-shoppers my caller was so worried about are price shopping for one reason: They have already decided to take the trip!

That is why it is so important to prospect constantly and get the word out about your business and the services you provide. This increases the chances that when it comes time to think about that next trip people will think of you.

Misconception #7: All you are selling is price (a.k.a. cheap travel).

Nonsense. No one buys on price alone, even the cheapest cheapskate. Don’t believe me? Consider this: Suppose I were to say to you, “I have a great travel deal for you and it only costs $9.95. Want to buy it?” Would you? No, you’d ask what it was. Ah-hah! Proof positive that no one buys on price alone.

They may buy on the basis of a cost/value analysis, but they never buy on price alone.

Nor are you merely selling a travel product. You are also selling a whole slew of other things that go along with it. Everything from your consulting services to the warm cozy feeling the customer gets from working with a wonderful travel agent like you. While your customers may have done a lot of research on their destinations, you have the ability to zero in on their wants and needs. Remember, too, that time is money and your expertise will ultimately save them both.

Let them find that on the Internet!

This article has touched on a number of important topics, all of which are discussed at some length in my home study course. For more information, CLICK HERE.

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Cheap Travel – How To Avoid The Trap was last modified: October 20th, 2015 by Kelly Monaghan