The modern luxury client wants their travel consultant to effortlessly understand their needs and preferences. This means that travel agents will need to be able to strike the perfect balance between offering personalised services and respecting their client’s privacy. This is not always an easy feat…
If luxury clients are ‘low-touch’ travellers, they’ll require little or no interaction when making a purchase, and will rather opt to use technology. It is not a good idea for travel consultants to reach out to this client during or after his travels as he’ll perceive this as intrusive and will see it as ‘over-the-top’ service.
Instead, the way to go would be to try and come up with innovate technological ideas to serve this low-touch client. Mark Mekki, Founder of Ode to Joy, for example records audio files where he talks about the experiences his travel agency offers. If the client is interested, they’ll reach out to Mark to organise their travel with minimum friction.
The ‘high-touch’ luxury traveller on the other hand will want you to interact and advise them of the best options for their holidays. Also during their travels, they’ll want you to connect to offer relevant advice and suggestions. Warm and personal service is key to this traveller, as they want to feel pampered and have someone at their beck and call 24/7.
Etihad’s top-level Gold Meet and Greet service is sure to be a hit with the ‘high-touch’ luxury traveller. This service provides a personal welcome upon arrival (with one staff member for every traveller), assistance through immigration and inclusive porter service from the baggage carousel to the airport’s exit.
How can you know if your client is ‘high-touch’ or ‘low-touch’?
It can be tricky to gauge the right level of engagement for each traveller. The starting point is to understand the behaviours and preferences of the six luxury traveller tribes.
Strictly Opulent and Independent & Affluent luxury tribes tend to be more high-touch. Bluxury and Cash-Rich, Time-Poor tribes on the other hand tend to be more low-touch as they may be too time-pressed for service that is heavy on interaction.
Travel consultants will need to understand that the travellers’ needs can change constantly, even during a trip, and they can fluctuate from high-touch to low-touch and vice versa. They might have ‘high-touch’ requirements prior and during their trip, requesting engagement and guidance, and be low-touch post-trip, asking for peace and isolation after they’re back from holidays.
Travel professionals wanting to tap into the luxury travel niche, will have to to constantly redefine the perfect equilibrium between high-touch and low-touch. So, let’s get ready to play the balance game!
Editorial Note: This post is part of a series of blogs, which will focus on insights into luxury travel.