Repeat business is critical for any travel advisor wanting a long-term career in this competitive 21st-century travel environment, particularly those hoping to work outside a bricks-and-mortar store.

Having a secure database of loyal clients can secure consistent business for a travel advisor as well as great word of mouth, which leads to free-marketing and new clients.

But how can a consultant ensure his/her clients keep coming back when there’s so much temptation to book with a competitor Agent or worse, online.

Personal travel manager, Sue Kuti, told colleagues at the TravelManagers Conference earlier this year that retaining clients is “hard work” and something she sees as important to her niche business building small group tours.

Kuti has personally escorted tours to destinations as diverse as Cambodia, Malta and Alaska, and in eleven years she has been with the company has been awarded numerous TravelManagers awards, including Best Customer Service in 2016 and the Online Marketing Award in 2017.

She said that going above and beyond to keep travellers happy is a given, and her fellow personal travel managers (along with other consultants) can do more to keep their customers coming back. Here are just a few of the things she’s found worked perfectly for her:


1. Organise social events that clients can attend


Image: Small Group Travel/Facebook

There are often films or exhibitions that can fit in with a destination.  Sue makes her clients aware of these and where possible organises a group viewing. Sue also has VIP client lunches or events to thank her clients for their loyalty.


2. Organise pre & post trip get-togethers


Before heading off on tours/trips, Sue will organise get-togethers with her clients to go over details and build excitement. She also arranges a post-tour catch up where they can share pictures and reminisce.


3. Celebrate milestones


Sue believes that her success is due to her client’s loyalty. She has organised a celebration for 10 years of group travel inviting any client who has been on a tour to join in. Sue also shares any awards for success with her clients.


4. Let them into your life a little

Developing a rapport with her clients is key. In Sue’s case, she shared her heritage with her clients by inviting them to a Maltese Cookout with her 88-year-old mother.


5. Help clients give back


Every two years, Sue hosts a fundraising photo competition with her clients, during which clients can enter pictures taken by them for a cost and awards are given by suppliers and gifts are auctioned off. The money raised is given to various charities such as those assisting rescued girls in India, educating children in Africa and this year, aiding Rohingya refugees in Myanmar.

“I’m proud of our fundraiser, and my clients are happy to do it with me,” she said.


What are your tips for retaining clients?