Journal: TWUKSection:
Title: Issue Date: 02/04/01
Author: Page Number: 6
Copyright: Other

Case study: leisure agents

Edwin Doran, owner of Edwin Doran’s Travel World in Twickenham, southwest London, introduced service fees to clients last October.He charges £25 an hourto those who spend time in his shop but then don’t book.

“When we first tell clients, they are surprised, but when we explain the amount of research required to provide them with an informed service, they agree to pay.

“I don’t charge people who book a holiday. The way I see it is we are charging for the transferral of knowledge and experience. If people book, that knowledge is paid for by the commission we receive.

“Charging a fee enables us to stand up and say ‘we offer an expert service’.It sends the message out that my agency is a consultancy.

“I am in the process of building a special clients’ lounge.

“I will operate it on an appointment system and will provide refreshments and an Internet service with website links to holiday destinations for waiting clients.

“But a word of advice: if you are considering an hourly fee, make sure you cover your costs rather than try to bump up your profit, otherwise customers will think you are being greedy and may take their business elsewhere.”