CLARE DUDLEY managing director, Ponders Travel, Cambridge

After a really busy peaks, it can be hard

to remember the quieter times of the year. But before Christmas, Brexit, the election and terrorism had a huge impact on sales. Now the coronavirus is deterring customers from making bookings. With all the uncertainty of the past few years, there’s been no obvious sales pattern, and I can imagine many agencies feel like someone has literally turned the tap off with regards to new enquiries. One day in early December, our team were quite nervous about how quiet it was, so we held a team meeting to discuss if there were any good sales on the horizon and asked ourselves what we could do to stimulate sales or enquiries.

ADD ANCILLARIES It’s always a good idea to revisit techniques that have worked in the past, so I looked back to many years ago when I was running a small branch of Bakers Dolphin in the southwest around the time of the Gulf war, which created a huge downturn. I recalled we were challenged by our sales director to increase our ancillary sales on bookings already made (and on new bookings), and told that every penny helped. Before then, I would never have believed something so simple and low revenue could make so much difference to our bottom-line profit. We got behind the plan, knowing that everyone going on a holiday

24 19 MARCH 2020 AGENT

Selling add-ons for existing bookings is one way to keep the money coming in during this downturn

would at some point be purchasing at least two ancillary products. Although we all worried we

were being pushy trying to get the client to spend more, we reminded ourselves they would be buying these services anyway – so we were being helpful, not pushy. We used simple messages – and ended up being one of the company’s most successful shops. After I’d told my team about this

lesson I’d learnt, they suggested it would be a good idea to look at what our clients had booked to see if we could build on existing sales. So, for cruise clients we looked at the itinerary they were travelling

on and set about suggesting pre-bookable excursions. Some of our fabulous trade partners pay 15% commission for these. One booking we had for a family of nine took us up on our offer and we ended up adding over £3,000 to the sales value – £450 extra commission, which I’m sure you’ll agree was well worth doing.

SUGGEST UPGRADES We also all agreed, after taking part in tailor-made training with Reality Training, that we should not be scared to build on the base price of a quote. They gave us a valuable tip: think about what we like from a holiday and put this into quotes. For example, when sending a price for a room, we now also include the price for a room with a view and say something along the lines of ‘When we are on holiday, we love to sit on our balcony, overlooking the pool, watching the world go by, so we thought we would let you know how much this room type was too, just in case you are the same as us’. This works well and takes away the feeling of being pushy. We now believe that these sales techniques for ancillaries is something we cannot afford not to do. I hope this theory can work for you too in this quiet period.


A regular client who had just come back from their first Star Clippers cruise got in touch to tell us about an interesting encounter they’d had with other passengers at dinner on board the 14-night sailing from Bali to Singapore.

After asking ‘Who did you book through?’, as many people do while on holiday, my clients discovered the fellow passengers they happened to be seated with were very long- standing clients of ours from another part of the country. This story made me feel so proud of what we have achieved, and I have a feeling it helped endorse our company and what we stand for.

Star Clippers’ Royal Clipper

David Kim Co SharonD


Colin Mark


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52