Avoya Top LB HBTA Oct 17

If you are good at it….shout it!

JoanieHiRes

By: Joanie Ogg CTC, MCC

We just spent the last three months at our place in Punta Mita and spent some time sprucing up our two rental units. We have been renting a couple of our places there for the last 9 years and so much of our business is repeat guests, I decided to find out why our places?

There are plenty of other units available and we do not claim to have the lowest rates at all. I thought I knew what they like about the condos, but I was amazed that one of the things they liked the most was the ability to call us and reach out to us before and during their stay.  They said we were approachable and responded almost immediately when called upon. They like the units but they it was about the hardware, it was about the software..the people.

It is so nice to get positive feedback from our customers, isn’t it? It just feels so good to know that we are doing something that people value. We take great pride in our places down there and try to provide renters with all of the amenities they hope for and an efficient booking and payment process, as well.

I asked myself, why don’t I have them write to share their thoughts about their rental experience with us in writing.  I am the first one to suggest to travel professionals that they ask for referrals and post them on their website, add them to their sales materials and to shout their great service story for all to hear. However, I have never asked one of our renters over the past 9-years to share their good words with other potential renters. That is until now. I am not sure why I have hesitated for so long to do this. I just felt kind of odd asking for someone to pat me on the back. I got over it and made the big leap by asking them to share their joyful words with others.

I wondered though why I had never done this before? I had to do some personal introspection as to why I was hesitant in the past to reach out for references. I found some great pointers about how one can decide whether or not they have earned the right to ask for referrals. While most of these pointers are pretty commonplace to Sales 101, I still thought it was worth sharing as a reminder to us of why we have a right to ask for the business. That is if we do have that right. This easy little list of questions will help determine our worthiness to ask for referrals.

1. Do I listen more then I talk?

2. Do I have the knowledge and expertise to provide superior service?

3. Do I return calls or emails to my customers within 90-minutes of receiving them?

4. Do I act with the utmost professionalism?

5. Do I offer them complete answers to any and all the questions they ask?

6. Do I make them feel special and uniquely valuable?

7. If something goes awry, do I handle it to the satisfaction of my customer, even if that means it will cost me some time and perhaps money?

8. Do I try to do something special for my customers, so that I stand out in the crowd of competition?

9. Do I sound friendly and courteous in all communications to my customers?

10. Do I say thank you for their valued business?

If I can honestly answer YES to all of these questions, then I believe I have earned the right to ask my happy renters for some kind and supportive words. How about you?

Joanie Ogg CTC MCC
Joanie Ogg Marketing Group

Editor

Joanie Ogg is a thirty-five year veteran of the travel industry and has been involved with the independent contractor evolution since 1988. She is the principal of Joanie Ogg Marketing Group, which specializes in consulting and speaking on the topic of Home-Based Travel. She also provides marketing and sales for wide variety of products under the umbrella HomeBasedTravelAgent.com.

A demonstrated industry leader, Joanie most recently served as the President of the National Association of Commissioned Travel Agents (NACTA) and TravelSellers. She and her husband Tom acquired NACTA in 1996 and sold it to The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) in 2000. Joanie’s tenure in the travel industry includes owning and operating one of the first successful host agency models. She has owned and operated several storefront travel agencies (both commercial and leisure), as well as a Hawaii wholesale tour company.

Her decades of success have garnered her numerous accolades over the years. Her accomplishments have been recognized by receipt of two Lifetime Achievement Awards from major trade groups, being named as one of the “100 Most Powerful Women in Travel” by Travel Agent magazine on several occasions, voted as “Travel Agent of the Year” by the readers of Travel Trade magazine, and has been recognized by many other industry organizations throughout her tenure in the industry. In 2008 Joanie Ogg was inducted into the CLIA Hall of Fame, an honor held by some of the most influential executives in the travel industry.

Joanie is a Master Cruise Counselor (MCC) and a Certified Travel Counselor (CTC). Joanie has co-authored two popular travel industry books for cruise specialists and home-based travel agents and has authored hundreds of travel trade articles. She has inspired tens of thousands of travel agents attending her presentations at trade events, cruise seminars, international trade gatherings and numerous local educational venues throughout the United States. With a time-honored background and forward-looking vision, she is often featured as a speaker at many of the travel industry’s major conferences and events. Joanie’s speaking talents are widely sought as a travel industry emcee by the most recognized travel organizations. She has emceed such events as Cruise-A-Thons, ASTA’s CruiseFest, The Trade Show, The Travel Institute Forum and all of NACTA’s National and International Conferences.