Asking for a Budget


Dear Travel Agents,

I have been working and mentoring travel agents for over 26 years, and I know that for many of them, it can be very uncomfortable to ask about a budget in order to prepare an itinerary.

First of all, the word “Budget” sounds cheap or poor or discounted, as if using a coupon. But actually, even the richest people have a budget in mind when spending money or purchasing anything.

Imagine going to buy a purse. Some people go to Target and have a budget of $100. Others who are more affluent can go to Hermès and still have a budget of $5,000, so the Birkin for $15,000 will not be a choice. Does it mean they are cheap? No, it is simply a matter of priorities.

For example, if someone who is well-dressed comes into Hermès and I am their salesperson, I should first ask what they are looking for when they ask me for a purse instead of offering a Birkin and expecting the customer to buy it so I can make the commission.

The same thing happens in travel. Please do not ASSUME, but EDUCATE.  Ask if they have a budget and if they say NO, ask questions to better learn what they are looking for, and what their taste is before you spend time working on an itinerary that could end up being a waste of time for everyone. Avoid the situation that often happens when you later learn the prospective client has gone to someone else.

There is much more to be discussed about budgets. Feel free to pick my brain!

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