Agents should never “order take” from customers but must ask questions and delve deeper into the type of holiday they are looking for, warned Uniworld Boutique River Cruises’ managing director for the UK, Ireland and Europe Chris Townson.
In an interview with Travel Weekly, Townson urged agents not to take the “easy option” of booking a customer on the exact holiday that they came in to buy, as there will be alternative products in the market that may be better suited to them.
He warned customers may be easily influenced by advertising from large companies and might not have done their research on other lines which they may prefer, and said it is up to agents to ask questions and find them their perfect sailing, as “there is a river cruise line for everyone”.
“The river cruise market leaders spend so much on TV advertising which is a good thing for the industry because it drives sales, however it leads to customers walking into agencies and wanting to book whatever product they saw on TV without having researched other options,” he said.
“It’s up to agents to ask them questions about the type of holiday they want to go on and to suggest a range of options.
“You know your clients better than an advert does so if you know your customers are high-end, why would you take a lower-end booking they suggest without asking questions and finding ways of upselling?
“Even if a customer walks in thinking they know exactly which holiday they want, agents should treat every client as if they came to you without a named brand in mind.”