On a recent drive to Donegal from Cork, I was taken back 12 years to spring 2001, when I travelled the length and breadth of the country on behalf of the ITAA, delivering training to Travel Agents and Owners about introducing Service Fees.
We didn’t really know it back then that the country was on the cusp of the Celtic Tiger boom and we had no inclination that our industry would boom as it did over the coming years.
For those of you long enough in the business to remember – the key message throughout the Service Fees Seminars, which quoted the famous beauty product ad campaign “Because you’re worth it”, really resonated with everyone back then. However, it took a while to convince many agency sales staff that they were worth it and more importantly have them feel confident enough to implement those fees.
We had brainstorming sessions about adding value so that what we were selling became more than a simple transaction, it became an experience for the customer. Many great ideas were shared throughout those spring months and the good mood and positive outlook was infectious! Service fees became a reality in our industry.
And then along came the “crash” and everything changed. Agencies closed down or downsized, staff were laid off as travel became a luxury that the travelling public felt they could do without, while they tried to manage other financial priorities.
However, the start of 2013 has seen a renewed confidence within the travel industry; it feels like the travelling public are now saying – “Enough! I need my injection of Vitamin D, I need to see the world, I need adventure and excitement that only travelling to foreign parts can bring”. The surge in bookings in January and the steady increase in February confirms this.
But here’s what we need to remember; in terms of the service we provide as an industry nothing should change, we need to continue to provide a fantastic personal service that keeps those clients coming back again and again. But remember, in order for the Customer to believe the fee is worth it, YOU as the sales person must believe you’re worth it.
So we all need to ask ourselves the big question – am I worth it?