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Mon 13 Jul 2009 04:00 AM

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Commission is a question away

Journalists are taught to ask questions — lots of them. The more questions you ask as a journalist, the greater chance you have of getting a better story, unearthing an interesting fact or nailing a comment that nobody else has got.

Journalists are taught to ask questions — lots of them. The more questions you ask as a journalist, the greater chance you have of getting a better story, unearthing an interesting fact or nailing a comment that nobody else has got.

The same should apply to travel agents — the more questions you ask as a travel agent, the more chance you have of selling auxiliary products, up-selling a package or unearthing an extra opportunity.

A case in hand would be the July issue’s cover story of Arabian Travel News.

Have you ever asked if your client has children? Do they need to learn English? Has your client ever thought about sending their child on a camp?

It turns out they have a son who they would like to send, but the younger daughter is not eligible because she is a year too young.

Book her in for next year, or at least write in your diary or client profile cards that you should flag this up.

Ask clients if they like driving and if they want to explore their destinations and then book car hire. Ask what type of entertainment they like and book tickets for them accordingly.

Ask if they intend to do any water sports, skiing or anything that might need them to upgrade their insurance cover.

Ask if they have ever considered the advantages of upgrading hotels or room type and list the advantages.

But most important of all, ask what they would like from an ideal holiday, then listen.

Listen for clues on where you can create an experience that will match their desires — if you provide them with a holiday they always wanted, even if they paid more and you made some good commission out of it, they will always come back to you.

Opinion is split over whether the days of ticket-issuing agencies are over — in my view, it’s time to sell packages and maximise commission and that means asking questions.

Jamie Knights is the editor of Arabian Travel News.

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

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