By now you should be well aware of the ASKHOLE, if not via a recent KARRYON article analysing the behaviour then by the very viral meme shared on our Facebook page.
If you’re still scratching your head then here’s a quick recap:
An ASKHOLE is essentially a knowledge leech who will approach a Travel Agent for advice and then use all that information to book online.
There are different levels of askholes, such as the basic one that approaches consultants during the planning process, the post-booker seeking assistance after booking online, and the recurring guy (or gal) who keeps coming back despite knowing all their bookings will be done via the internet.
Some describe these people as a plague to the traditional travel professional, while others see them as an opportunity to convert an online booker. Either way, there are various ways Agents can deal with these ‘askholes’ and here are just a few:
1. Take a breathe & don’t take it personally
TAKE A BIG BREATHE and remember that the saying ‘it’s not you, it’s them’ ACTUALLY applies here. These people are clearly aware that Travel Agents are experts in travel, which is why they’re coming to you for advice, but sadly, in many cases, they’re misguided in believing online is best for pricing.
Remember this as you’re dealing with them and maybe even do a bit of price comparison in-store to prove your value.
2. Be as present online as you are offline
As much as askholes need help narrowing down their options, they also love the independence of booking on their own, from the couch.
How are you meeting this desire?
Although IT may be a little outside the Travel Agent expertise, it’s something that needs to be developed in order to keep up with the instantaneous online world.
Consultants operating under agency umbrellas, in most cases, have head office doing the work to develop online booking and questioning capabilities. Those working independently, may want to look at establishing themselves online so they can keep communicating with these askholes after they leave the agency and offer them the indepdence of booking online through you.
3. Advise them of a consultation fee
If you suspect you may be dealing with an askhole, or have unintentionally attracted a reocurring type, then it might be time to pull out the big guns: the consultantion fee. Askholes often are budget conscious and unlikely to spend money on something they think they can “find online”.
On the otherhand, if they are willing to spend a little money on your expertise without making then booking, then it’s (in a way) a win-win.
4. Use it as an opportunity to showcase your abilities
This one is a gamble because you could either end up with a client or spend precious time on someone who’ll secure elsewhere.
BUT at the end of the day, we all know Travel Agents are capable of putting together travel itineraries and holiday experiences that surpass anything a website can deliver.
Showcase this ability and maybe, just maybe, they’ll want to book through you.
What are some of your tips for dealing with an askhole?
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