‘What’s your budget?’ – it’s the question that may help Travel Agents understand what their clients can afford but it’s not the one that’ll help Agents deliver unforgettable experiences.

That is, according to MTA Travel’s Chief Executive, who believes ‘budget’ should be the last topic Agents raise with their clients.

In an exclusive Q&A with KARRYON, Don Beattie explained that the ability to ask emotional-driven questions over financial ones is what separates consultants from the online world and what helps them become ‘travel artists’ over ‘travel order processors’.

“Travel Agents should be seen as designers of travel experiences, not the processors of people’s orders.”

Don Beattie, MTA Travel Chief Executive

“If a client starts off by telling their Agent their budget, then the consultant will work on a trip based on the budget – that’s order taking.”

Don recommended that instead of focusing on finances, Agents should begin by enquiring on their clients’ travel histories, what elements of past trips they enjoyed and make suggestions based on their responses.

An example of a desire-driven conversation as outlined by Don would look like…


The mobile group’s Chief Executive suggested that Agents start advising clients on cost after the ‘showcase’ process and once they’ve seen the range of experiences they can have in the destination.

“If I know you as my customer, then I’m delivering an experience to you. I’m not taking an order.”

Don Beattie, MTA Travel Chief Executive

When it comes to online competition, Don said consultants shouldn’t feel threatened or upset by travellers inspired by images or deals found online because “that’s the starting point of the holiday process”.

“They start doing their research online,” he explained. “They make a sketch of what they want and then bring it to the Travel Agent who paints it into a picture.”

CLICK HERE to read more from our Q&A with Don.


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