Your words are powerful and could leave you very exposed
Never before, in the history of selling travel, has the language you use with your clients been more critical.
Many of you are likely seeing a surge in your business with clients wanting to take vacations after being grounded for so long. And with the mainstream media fanning the flames of misnomers, myths, and misconceptions,
It’s understandable that your response to all of that noise is to reassure your clients that traveling is a perfectly safe thing to do right now. This is a mistake for myriad reasons, and it has nothing to do with the notion of travel actually being safe, and everything to do with making promises you cannot possibly keep.
The one word a travel advisor should be extra cautious about using is safety. You are never able to guarantee your client’s personal safety. No one likes to say that out loud, but that is a reality. If you have learned anything over the last year and a half, it’s that the act of travel is full of randomness. Not to sound apocalyptic, but there is always a risk. Volcanoes will erupt, an act of violence could spark waves of riots, and overnight, a global pandemic could ground every airline the world over.
Safety falls on a sliding scale, and everyone has their own definition of it, so it’s time to reframe the way we approach the concerns your clients may have by using different terminology.
- Inform and educate
These are the two most important ways you can help your client feel more comfortable and confident about booking their trip. You need to become an unshakable authority for your clients.
Providing your clients with up-to-date information from vetted resources and leveraging your professional experience is how you are going to make your client feel confident when they hit that ‘book’ button.
An educated and informed client is an empowered, less fearful client. They will know the risks, but you have provided the tools necessary to help them manage their expectations if things go wrong.
2. Build trust
While the return to travel is making a fast comeback, clients are feeling wary about whom they can trust. Many travelers were not able to recoup the investments they made into their trips for a number of reasons.
They may have dealt with an online agency that mistreated them, or they may have booked directly with a property that has since closed its doors.
This is a phenomenal opportunity for travel advisors to demonstrate their integrity, honesty, transparency, and empathy towards clients who may be nervous about spending their hard-earned money.
3. Avoid politicized and sensationalized terms
It is not your place to be an extended mouthpiece for the media. Your clients are not going to trust you more because you’re regurgitating terms they’ve heard or read online.
An example of a sensationalized term is ‘vaccine passport.’ Travelers have been required to provide proof of vaccination for certain regions of the world for decades. The term ‘vaccine passport’ is a highly politicized and divisive term. There’s no need to become embroiled in heated discussions about the validity of vaccinations, but neutralizing your language around it can replace fear and frustration with rationale and confidence.
Travel is on a fast track to becoming bigger and more impactful than ever before, as a
Travel Advisor it is your responsibility to seize this time to double down and counsel your clients with integrity and honesty.
Be mindful of the language you use with your clients, especially around topics as sensitive as safety.
And leverage your professional experience with vetted resources to empower your clients to feel both comfortable and confident.
So where is safe to travel right now? Is it actually safe to travel?
That’s such a good question and I’m glad that you asked. When we talk about a destination being “safe” to visit, we have to remember that even before the pandemic, there wasn’t any such thing as an entirely “safe destination”. Anything can happen anywhere. There are two things that are important… your comfort level and your confidence. So let’s figure out what makes you feel comfortable and confident when you travel and then make sure your vacation offers that for you.