Understand brand USPs to offer a personalised experience, says Paul Melinis, APT UK & Europe managing director and Atas chairman

Do you remember the last time you received exceptional customer service? Think about what made that particular instance standout, I can almost guarantee you there was some level of personalised service involved. Customer expectations are ever-rising and it’s often the small details that can transform an experience from good to exceptional, this might be someone recalling your favourite drink at your local coffee shop to going the extra the mile. For example when I purchased my property the estate agent gave us a cake along with our key. A small gesture that left behind a memorable experience.

Holidays are an emotive experience, so when selling travel this level of service becomes even more important. To offer personalised service it’s critical that all agents get to know both their customer, and what different brands can bring to the table. At APT our Luxury touring products are designed to stand out from the crowd staying in five-star accommodation in the best location, on our Luxury Canada tours this means stay at the Fairmont hotels which are unique and unparalleled in their ambience.

It’s these details that we refer to as the APT difference, but there are also plenty of nuances across brands and agents need to be familiar with each of their USPs. From my position as Atas chair and through research we know that today’s guests are looking for more freedom and flexibility. This can be a challenge but we also have options such as Freedom of Choice touring, giving customers the options to choose whether they are looking for a thrilling or relaxing experience that day.

Keeping up to speed with an ever-changing industry and products are key and there are ample tools at your disposal to achieve this, from online training to printed brochures. But one of the best sources of regular and up to date information are the operators themselves, at APT training is in our DNA and we have Business Development Managers based across the country ready to support agents. I would encourage agents to get in touch and tap into their plethora of knowledge, they can answer tricky questions, talk through product knowledge and provide training sessions seven days a week, at a time that works for you and your team.

The better you understand different brands’ USPs, the more personalised an experience you can offer. In an ever-competitive market everyone wants to stand out from the crowd, brushing up on your knowledge and having the ability to spot the difference between products will enable you to find the perfect pairing for your clients.

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