The rise of social media catalyzed many things from citizen journalism to the promotion and normalization of the jet setter lifestyle. People wanted to travel, take pictures, and post these on their Instagram. With the geotagging feature in the app that pins the location in the photos, everyone just knows where to go next. But, you can’t just fly somewhere for one perfect snap for the gram. Travel planning may be intimidating and stressful for people, but with your help, their next adventure will be the best one yet.
Travel planning is about making sure that the entire travel experience is relaxing for your clients. You go through all the stress so your clients won’t have to. Because while the perfect Instagram photo appears candid and flawless, a traveler’s journey to get that shot may as well be an uphill battle. As travel planners, our work is an art that makes people’s getaway a sunny day at the beach.
In 2019, the tourism industry saw the trend for a more personal and authentic travel experience. People want to experience the local scene and culture for themselves. They are looking for a unique adventure in a new place. Therefore, a cookie-cutter travel package with a fixed itinerary and generic holiday travel offers wouldn’t appeal as much to customers now. The tourism industry has to adapt to this shift. This begs the question, what kind of vacation does each person that walks in your door want?
To give the authentic and flexible travel experience that they expect, we need to know and understand what our clients want. Travel planning questionnaires are a cost-effective means of getting to know our customers. They cost less than purchasing the help of data companies to provide us generalized information about travelers. Instead of going for what the majority wants, we can cater to what the individual expects from us. We can plan for a holiday trip that actually embodies what the client wanted.
During your interaction with the client, you may be limited as to what information you can ask. For example, the staff may have forgotten to ask about the customer’s prepared budget. Or the customer may have forgotten to disclose his pollen allergies. These are some of the important details that can decide what kind of trip you can prepare for the client. But when they have filled out a travel planning questionnaire when they consult the agency, you can be sure that you have the necessary details to plan their vacation.
The following are examples of travel planning questionnaires.
The benefits of using the questionnaires are limited by how the document is prepared and designed. Making the travel an enriching personal experience for your clients means that you have to know more about the clients. Instead of the generic form, you can modify the questions to generate telling answers of what your customers want. The following are key statements that will help you plan your clients’ trip well.
The kind of vacation your client wants is usually aligned with their personality. Maybe they are the spontaneous and thrill-seeking kind. They would want an adrenaline-rush element in their travel experience. A day at the beach wouldn’t satisfy them. Maybe they are also the introverted, keep-to-themselves type that just wants a peaceful stroll by the shore and a red wine evening. They would want peace and tranquility and maybe a private spa session.
You can’t be too sure with these stereotypes, also. Maybe they do want something new and out of their comfort zone. They could be stressed from work and wanted to try that new meditation resort their friend recommended. Or they want to try that new place in your travel catalog. Despite jotting down their personality traits, you have to ask what kind of vacation your client expects. You are not running an astrology travel agency where you guess their next getaway based on their star sign. Ask them what kind of experience do they want to get from this vacation.
It’s not always the most comfortable kind of conversation, but money does have a say here. Don’t worry because a lot of good travel destinations are becoming more affordable and accessible to people. But you do have to consider how much your clients are willing to spend, especially if that didn’t cross their mind. Pair the estimate with the destinations possible within the amount. People might have been preoccupied with what they would do in the place that they have not considered other expenses that they might incur. If there are so many places to choose from, a travel budget can narrow down the choices for you and your clients.
You have to determine the time of the year when your clients would be able to travel. Dates will affect the choices of destinations because some tourist attractions may not be the best vacation spot for that time. When you know the preferred schedule, you can also look into deals and discounts for airlines and accommodations. Your clients can save money when you book earlier for flights and hotels. You can also spot better deals earlier. When you know their preferred travel schedule ahead of time, you still have ample room to accommodate unprecedented changes in the plan.
Social media is an effective medium for travel ads. It created a FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) sensation in people. It was the push that finally convinced those who had second thoughts about traveling to go on a holiday trip. It boosted the tourism industry of towns and cities. People now want to travel. Planning travels and getaways can save your clients from the stress of last-minute decisions and avoidable expenses. The highlight of their trips might be visiting Instagrammable places and five-star destinations. But with proper and smart planning, the rest of their vacation will be as smooth-sailing, too.