Or you can call it Limits versus Rules!
In my last blog I said that a New Year is like a new relationship where we should set limits, but I never said we should “set the rules!” Limits have to do with oneself, and rules to all parts.
The same happens in the relationship between travel agents/advisors and their clients/prospective ones. We, the TAs, can and SHOULD set the limits from the beginning, but never dictate the rules.
So, for example, setting a fee to work with clients/prospective ones, hours of operation, what we will do or won’t do for clients, all of these should be settled by the Travel Advisor from the beginning. It’s better if it is done in writing, so both parties clearly understand the relationship.
I have seen too many times Travel Advisors going out of their comfort zone, doing “more than they think they signed up for” and feeling like clients are taking advantage of them.
By the same token, clients feel like once they “hire” a Travel Advisor who is making “big bucks” they should be available to them 24/7 to answer their questions, and even “packing their bags” for them. After all, if they work in tourism, between commissions and perks, TA’s make a great living.
The best way to start a new year is with new resolutions. Review your contracts and make sure that they very clearly spell out your limits: your fees, your hours, what your service includes, and if you need to provide extra services, such as collecting money from the group for extra tours, making lists of names for those who want to have dinner on top of the mountain, etc. There is an extra fee for those services – or you don’t do it at all. But most importantly: SPELL IT OUT on your contract. That way, when your client assumes you will do all of this, you won’t feel like you are being taken advantage of, and your client will understand that all the “billions” of dollars you make on their booking is not enough to cover “packing their luggage.” LOL!
IF your clients/prospective ask why you have so many “rules” on your contract; you can explain that the only rule is that you will help them determine where and when they should go and how much they should spend. The rest are not rules, but limits, and clarify for all parties the scope of your services and expertise, to avoid future misunderstandings and disappointments.
I am sure that the good clients will appreciate this, and the non-appreciative ones will look for a good deal someplace else!
Cheers to good clients!