Do your clients subscribe to you?

Link Travel Group GM SCOTT DARLOW looks at another key issue in the Australian travel landscape.

Whether we are aware or not, we all pay subscription fees.  We pay it in our electricity connection, phone plans, internet plans, water supply, legal representation etc etc.  We pay these fees in expectation that these services are reliable, available when we need them and all the data we provide is kept safe (maybe a sore point for Optus & Medibank users like me at the moment).

In the travel landscape, what’s different?  Agents provide reliable information and services, we are there when I our clients need us, and we are legally obligated to keep our clients data safe.  So why aren’t agents charging clients a subscription fee?  I’ve worked with many agents in the corporate sector who have started to do this with tremendous results and success, so why won’t it work in the leisure landscape?

Many will say the trick is knowing how much to charge, but I beg to differ.  I believe the trick is being able to justify the fee.  As an example, I recently took one of my sons to a medical specialist for a sports injury and in my opinion, the fee seemed excessive.  Being inquisitive, I asked the specialist about the fee, and he was able to tell me what the fee covered, and it included the basics as I’ve mentioned above, and it also covered the costs for this specialist to have cutting edge scanning technology and equipment which assisted on the day.  As he explained, “without such a fee, I wouldn’t be able to have this equipment which has aided us today”.

Back to travel, whatever fee you charge, just be able to justify it.  Think about it, over the years, apart from basic operational expenses, you have also paid to have your mid office system, your PCCI compliance, your ATAS accreditation and possibly many other best practices and/or due diligence systems all designed to benefit your client and their data.  Even sending your staff to a trade event and on a famil incurs costs for you and this eventually aids your clients if your staff come back armed with the information & tools that will benefit your clients’ next trip.

So, the question is not so much “do your clients subscribe to you?”, instead it should be “when will your clients start subscribing to you and how will you confidently justify it?”

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