Any travel agent knows that no two travelers are exactly alike. Every client that comes to them has their own personality and set of preferences that carry over into their vacation planning. So how does a travel agent become an expert at pairing their clients with their perfect trip? The trick is asking the right questions in order to get to know the unique wants and needs of each traveler. Here are six open-ended questions to ask when planning a trip for your clients:
Why do you want to go on this trip?
This is perhaps the most important and obvious question to ask your client, but you’d be surprised how often it’s overlooked. The motivation behind a trip will vary from person to person. Some people may be after a getaway from routine. Others may need a quick trip to refresh and rejuvenate them. From family bonding to self-discovery, every client will have a different motivation for traveling, even if they’re heading to the same destination.
What type of travel experience are you wanting?
Does your client love nature and outdoor adventure? Do they want to party all night with new people? Is exploring the history and culture around them important? You want to make sure the trip you plan them fits the kind of experience they’re after. A hike through the jungle might sound like the perfect afternoon to an adventure-loving client, but not to someone wanting a relaxing beach vacation. This question will give you an idea of what destinations and activities are the best fit for each client.
What level of physical activity are they comfortable with?
Don’t think you can judge this answer based on appearance. You never know if your elderly clients might want to go parasailing or skydiving. Even the most physically fit clients may not be looking for a trip where they have to exert themselves. You might have the perfect activity in mind for a client, but find out that they aren’t able to walk up the many sets of stairs that activity requires. Asking this question shows your clients you’re planning their trip with their physical comfort in mind.
How comfortable are you with trying out new things?
From rare, exotic foods to exciting, foreign cultures, travel offers your clients many new experiences. While some may be up for a trip outside their comfort zones, others may be less thrilled by the prospect. This question not only helps you determine the best destination for your client, but also dining and daily activities.
How important is it to you to have a schedule?
Some clients go to a travel agent so they can have a detailed itinerary for their entire trip. It’s important for some to stick to a structured schedule for each day of their travels. On the other hand, some clients may not want their days jam-packed with events and instead want the freedom to change their plans when presented with unexpected opportunities. Asking this question lets you know if your client needs a full schedule of daily activities or a simple list of suggestions.
Do you have any past negative travel experiences?
Has your client had a bad experience when traveling in the past? Perhaps a sudden illness that struck overseas or a missed flight that led to an unexpected overnight layover? While it’s impossible to predict most of these unpleasant occurrences, you can do your best to help your client prepare for them in the event they do happen. Find out what your client may be wary about when traveling and work out a plan beforehand. Let them know you’ll be available to help them find a solution if their trip takes an unexpected turn.