If you’d rather read than watch, the video transcript is below for your ease.
Do you want to charge more for your travel services,
but something keeps you from doing it?
Let me take you back to 2013, I’m at a travel agent development conference and I see and hear my business coaches shouting from the front of your room,
“Charge what you’re worth!”
I went home with a plan from that conference to charge my worth, but something completely unexpected got in the way—my self-worth. You see, I wasn’t there yet. Where I believed my travel services were worth something special.
The reality is our self-worth has nothing to do with how much we earn in our travel business. Yes, even as a travel business owner or travel entrepreneur.
The first step to making more money in your travel business is to separate your self-worth from how much money your business makes.
Your travel business success says nothing about who you are as a person.
As the Wellbeing Messenger, I teach and believe every person’s worth is immeasurable and invaluable. Unfortunately, this has nothing to do with your ability to earn money.
If you want to get to the point where you feel comfortable to change the value of your professional travel services, following are the 3 secrets that helped me charge more for my travel services, and finally close in on that 6-figure earner number that I craved.
Watch The Video
Meet Our Travel Agent Expert
In the video, I share more insight on the 3 Secrets to Charging More for Your Travel Services, with Travel Agent Expert Kathy Takushi of Captivating Journeys. Her travel agency is celebrating its 25th anniversary. She’s amazing and in the video, she shares how she implements travel service fees in her travel agency, even with her long time travel clients. To learn more about Kathy, click here and receive her insider’s guide, How to Experience Maui Like a Local.
If you rather read than watch, a transcript of the video is below.
3 Secrets to Charge More for Your Travel Services
Release the emotion around your travel service fees.
Do not allow your emotions to rule how you charge for your time in your travel business. An essential part of travel business success is understanding the value of your travel services. As a result of the value you provide your travel clients and suppliers, they offer appreciation in the form of money—the money you can use to pay yourself, your staff, and your marketing. With no money, you have no business.
Money is a powerful force in our lives and world. We must find a way to come to terms with where we are now comfortably. Give thanks for this simple reality because now you know how to measure the impact of your results to drive more success.
Travelers make very personal decisions about what and who they invest their money with when planning their vacations. When you market your travel business, share your passion, personality, and purpose to attract more Ideal Travel Clients who want to travel using your travel services.
Understand pricing is subjective.
Establishing a travel service fee menu is challenging, and when it comes to pricing your travel services, there is no single formula that will work every time.
As I said, pricing is subjective. You set your price. Either travelers will pay it, or they won’t. This comes down to your skill at communicating your value, one of the essential skills of being a successful travel entrepreneur.
Have you ever wondered why something is so expensive and why anyone would pay a certain price for something? Know travelers, your Ideal Travel Clients, are asking this same question.
How much you charge for your travel services is up to you. What’s essential is you own your role as the expert of your travel business you create travel services your Ideal Travel Clients will crave and charge accordingly for those services.
Communicate your value.
As a successful travel entrepreneur, your sole objective is to communicate the value of your travel services. You can share your value through travel industry data, travel client surveys, and testimonials. You also give your value through your marketing-marketing like your newsletters, website, and social media content.
Your travel business marketing, such as blogs, videos, ebooks, and podcasts, allow you to illustrate your efficacy. You know what you are doing as a travel agent.
As a travel agent business owner, or travel entrepreneur, you communicate your value primarily on your Travel Services page on your website, and through your marketing.
Communicating your value is an essential skill you must master to grow your travel business.
The value of your travel services has nothing to do with your self-worth and everything to do with the value others receive from your travel services.
When it comes to working with travelers, it can be easier to sell your travel services than to give them away. Travelers tend to develop a perceived absence of value when travel agents give their energy and time away for free.
As travel agents, it’s easy to get complacent when it comes to our travel business. We are often managing eight things at one time. This is why it’s essential to develop processes and systems that keep you focused on the travel business success you desire.
When offering your travel services, share a preview of the benefits your travel clients enjoy by sharing your experiences, attitude, and perspectives about travel and the travel industry through your marketing, online and off, for more ease, and travel business success.
In the video, I touched on the value of knowing your Ideal Travel Client. I’d like to share a tool we use at Travel Business Success Circle with you.
Although technology has moved us on, people still do business with people they know, like, and trust – just how we do that has changed.
When you use your Ideal Lifelong Travel Client’s words, reference their shows, and the books they read, you build the know, like, and trust, we all know is needed to get hired for your travel services.
As always, share your ah-has, comments, questions, and thoughts, by emailing me at Carmen[at]WellbeingMessenger[dot]com.
Also, if you enjoyed this vlog, please share it with a friend you think will enjoy it. There are share links at the bottom of this post. Your share goes far and means the world to me.
Related quotes to consider sharing:
Travel Business Success Circle LIVE Transcript
Transcript of 3 Secrets to Charge More For Your Travel Services
Following is a full transcript of this #TBSC Power Training Session. Each is created, outlined, and delivered by Carmen M. Perez, The Wellbeing Messenger. Travel Business Success Mentor and creator of www.TravelAgentMarketingSuccessMadeEasy.com and www.TravelBusinessSuccessCircle.com. The only travel agent group coaching program and mastermind for travel agents who want to create a successful travel business their life loves.
CP = Carmen Perez and KT = Kathy Takushi
CP: Here we are, and I am live, but just so everybody knows, we can’t see the chat. Give me a minute and then I’m going to get it set up so that I can see the chat.
Thank you so much. Thank you for joining us today. Thank you, Kathy. I do want to get started. As usual, I get a little verbose when I should be more focused. So hello, everybody. Thank you so much for joining us. I’m Carmen Perez, the Wellbeing Messenger. I’m the founder of Travel Business Success Circle and the creator of the 6-part how-to digital course Travel Agent Marketing Success Made Easy.
Welcome to this free travel agent business and marketing training. I’m so excited to share with you how to get more clients, make more money, and create a successful travel business that your life loves.
In this power training session, I would like to share with you 3 secrets to charge more for your travel services.
But, before I start, I would like you to meet someone who is near and dear to my heart. I’ve known Kathy for about 8 years and she is a Travel Business Success Circle travel agent expert. She has a travel agency called Captivating Journeys, and she really is such a beautiful and wonderful soul. If you ever met her, I know that you’d agree. Kathy’s travel agency is in Maui, and I met her when I was a newer travel agent myself, 8 years ago. And, she was just such, and she has been, just such a wonderful role model and friend. She really inspired this conversation during a session that we had last week, and now she’s kicking herself.
CP: Hello, Kathy. Welcome.
KT: How are you?
CP: I’m very good today, thank you. How are you?
KT: Good, good. Thanks for inviting me.
CP: My pleasure. So, tell me something. How long have you been a travel agent?
KT: I’ve been a travel agent for 32 years, something like that.
CP: Beautiful. You’re only 35 years old and you’ve been in the industry for 32 years!
KT: Yep. I was a baby.
CP: And how long have you had your agency?
KT: 25 years. In January we made 25 years and it’s [INAUDIBLE]
CP: That’s right. I remember that. I remember that.
CP: Hey, we’ve got more people saying hello to us. Thank you for the thumbs up. Thank you, everybody for being here.
Before we start to share the content and the 3 secrets to how to charge more for your travel services, I want to share a little story, and Kathy may remember it. Let me take you back to 2013, and I’m at a conference. I hear my business coaches at the front of the room shouting at me, “charge your worth!” and it was great because I was so excited. I went home with a plan. I was going to go home and charge my worth. But something completely unexpected got in the way. Do you have any idea what that could have been?
CP: Yes. It was my self-worth. I wasn’t there yet. I wasn’t in a place where I believed that my travel services were something special. I didn’t believe that I was something special and so it was really hard for me to sit in that chair and say, “Alright, I’m going to charge my worth” because I was charging my worth at that time, what I thought was my worth, which was close to free. I was charging $250 a trip, but I gave half back when they booked. So, basically, I was feeling about $125 to make it simple.
How do we do that? How can we earn enough as a travel business if we don’t have enough self-worth to charge the worth as a business owner?
The first step for anybody who’s kind of going here and stuck in this, the first step to making more money in your travel business really is to separate your self-worth from how much money your business makes. Your business success says nothing about who you are or your personal worth as a person. Do you agree with that, Kathy?
KT: I do. Even though I’ve been in the business a really long time, I came from a time where we didn’t charge fees, so it was hard and it still is, especially with our longtime clients to do that. But, I think with this whole COVID-19, our minds have changed. I have an IC that works with me and we definitely use it. Now, we’re going to change.
CP: Right. Something has to change. It’s not a good business model to work for free.
Something that you know I believe in is, and I teach this as the Wellbeing Messenger and in our Mastermind is that every person’s worth is immeasurable and invaluable. Unfortunately, it still has nothing to do with the amount of revenue that you earn. It doesn’t. So, if you get to the point, or I should say, we need to find a way, not if you can get to the point of where you feel comfortable to change it, we have to get more comfortable to change the value, or to charge our value for our travel services, because if we can’t get comfortable with that conversation, how can we ever get to the point where we truly can deliver travel services that make an impact and a travel business our life loves? I don’t think we can. I don’t think we can.
Secret 1: Release the Emotion Around Travel Service Fees
CP: This is what I wanted to share with you was how I got there, the 3 secrets. I’ve shared these with the Mastermind already in different ways, forms, and shapes, and I’m sure Kathy will know them as soon as I start to talk about them.
One of the first secrets was to release the emotion around travel service fees. Why does this trigger people? I mean, I meet travel agents who are proud not to charge service fees. To a certain extent, I get the pride, but I don’t understand the pride in short selling the value of their time.
KT: Yeah, I mean, especially on those custom FIT vacations. They are time consuming. We’ve definitely, myself, have changed our view about that, before we would just, well, actually, years ago, this is how I got into the Mastermind program, because I was doing all this work for free, researching. I was ready to quit my job or quit my business, I would say, because they would take all my information and then book it online, and I was so frustrated. And I just was like, “This is not working.” And, that’s how I got into the business travel agent business coaching. It has definitely turned my business around.
CP: That’s awesome. I mean, I think just being able to recognize and say to yourself, and I always talk about creating a successful business your life loves. When you get to the point when you look at your business and you’re like, “You know, I don’t kind of love this, I don’t even like it,” it’s really difficult to show up. So that’s why. You know, for me, that was kind of where I started from.
I remember, again, starting in the industry and going on a [INAUDIBLE] and talking about travel service fees, and somebody, I mean, literally, I felt kind of bullied and like I should be ashamed for charging service fees. I was new in the industry, but I come from a legal background, and I just came from that: you charge for professional fees. We were charging per hour for professional fees in the legal industry, and for me, this was another personal service, it was just easily translatable, and it was something I got right away.
And, because money is such a powerful force in our lives, you know, again, we have to find a way to come to terms with the fact that we need it, and that’s okay. We have a business because we’re trying to make money that way, and that’s okay too. In fact, let’s not try, let’s just do it by fully owning that we charge fees and there’s nothing wrong with that. You know what, if you decide to run a travel business and not charge fees, that’s okay too. I don’t want you to feel judged by that. I feel everybody has to make their way and build their travel brand, but, I will tell you, if you’re not charging enough for your fees, don’t let the next time the world is proud of you when, again, you brought everyone home and made them safe, for free! I just don’t understand why we’re so emotionally vested. I mean, travelers make really personal decisions about who and what they invest their money in when planning their vacations.
So, when you market your travel business, you share your passions, your personality, and your passion, all this fun stuff, and you attract those ideal travel clients, this is not a matter of opinion or fact: if you undersell your services, they’re going to be nervous. There’s always this segment of your audience who’s going to be nervous to try “free” because they don’t know if it’s quality. Just be comfortable. Give it a try and see what happens. Again, releasing that emotion from it and just detach that it’s just money is just an exchange of value for the appreciation of the services you provided. That’s it. It’s just a sign, a show of appreciation. I hope we can move there.
Let me see here. I don’t see any comments. I hope everyone’s enjoying that.
KT: Once you start…I mean, it’s hard the first time, but once you do it, and someone actually pays it, it’s like, “Wow, that wasn’t that hard.” And you actually feel really good. You’re like, “Wow! People actually will pay.”
CP: Right. I always found it would get me excited to work on their file. It was such a big change for me, even with the change of, basically, I was getting $125 a trip, and I moved up to $500 a trip, and not giving half back anymore, not doing that. And, just the way that I approached the work was different. I was in such a happier, satisfied state and it helped me create more imaginative itineraries, the work went faster. Again, it just felt, it did, it overall impacted the quality of my performance and my work. Just saying.
Secret 2: Communicate Your Value
CP: Alright. The second way we have is to communicate your value. This is something I think a lot of travel agents struggle with. As a successful travel entrepreneur, your sole objective is to communicate the value of your travel services. That’s it. That’s your sole objective.
You can share your value through travel industry data, travel client surveys, and testimonials. There’s 3 ways that you can communicate your value: travel industry data, client surveys, and testimonials. That’s how you share with the world how valuable your travel services are.
You can also give value through your marketing: your newsletters, your website, and your social media content. Your travel business marketing, your blog, the videos, the ebooks, your podcasts, all allow you to illustrate your efficacy. That you know your stuff when it comes to being a travel agent expert.
As the owner of your business, you have to communicate your value. That’s what’s important. For us, at Travel Business Success Circle, we make sure we do this on your Travel Services Page and through your marketing.
Kathy, can you share a little bit about how you communicate your value?
KT: Well, I have to update my website. But I do communicate it through my newsletter, which I send out about once a month. I add, also, I’m more of a personal, touchy-feely type of travel agent, so I like to call my clients and check in with them, and just chit chat with them. And they like to come and visit me and just chit chat too. And, then, for new clients, sometimes, I get so caught up, and they go, “Well, why should I use a travel agent?” and then, and that’s where I get caught up still, so now I have it on a little piece of paper—
CP: A cheat sheet!
KT: And it’s right there, so I can just, you know, read it off right there. But, I do have, on my website, I do have a lot of testimonials, so I have it there as well. That’s word of mouth too.
CP: You have really good word of mouth.
And, people might be like, “A newsletter, once a month?” especially if you’re putting out a newsletter every week and you’re like, “Huh?”, let me tell you a little bit about Kathy’s amazing business: It’s well established and she gets tons of referral business, and Kathy isn’t it like kind of down a trending less energy space for her. I mean, she’s looking at retirement, within five years or so, so what does all that look like? So, before you make any changes to your marketing strategy, and try Kathy’s, just remember where her business is.
I’m really big on traveling the way, I mean, I’m sorry, marketing the way that’s right for you, your brand, and your travel business, so we’ve worked our way around this brilliant strategy that really does honor Kathy’s desires and the way she wants to be committed in her travel business and what that looks like. It’s not the same for everybody. Just enough to say that.
Know that communicating your value is an essential skill. You have to master this to grow your travel business because, at the end of the day, it’s really going to be how you make your money. The value of your travel services has nothing, nothing, to do with your self-worth, and everything to do with the value that others receive from your travel services. If that’s the only thing you take away here, that’s really what I want you to take away. It’s so, so important.
Secret 3: Know Your Ideal Travel Clients and What They Need
CP: Alright, so let me see. I touched on the two. Here I am. I get so involved and then I forget where I am. Bear with me here.
The 3rd secret is to know your ideal travel clients and what they need. How do I forget that? That’s really important because your travel clients, the people that you want to work with, again, I’m thinking about Kathy and what she shared here about how she is very personal, the way that she touches her people, that’s how you set everything up. She knows what her ideal travel clients want from her and that’s what she delivers. They like that personal touch and that’s who she seeks to do business with, and when you engage with Kathy, that’s what you feel.
Know your ideal travel clients. It really does get easier to talk to them and bundle your travel services and speak to them when you understand what they need, and what they think of, and how they talk about their needs. It’s really difficult when you don’t know that about them. Do you agree with that? Does it make it more difficult when you don’t know or when you’re more dialed into who you want to work with?
KT: I agree. When you know who you’re talking to, it’s easier to write the newsletters. I’m, as you know, I hate to write, but, when you know your ideal client, you’re writing to that person, and as I always tell you, whenever I write my newsletters, I get at least 20-30 responses because they actually think I’m writing to them. I spend days responding to each and every one, but that makes me feel good because then, obviously, I am doing that, I am writing to them.
CP: Right. And you are. And that’s how you want your emails to be received like you’re writing to them, so that’s not a bad thing.
Thinking about pricing your travel services and all that, pricing is really subjective, but what will really tell you what your ideal travel clients will tolerate is who they are and what they do. I set my fees based on my ideal travel clients at the time and they were attorneys and professionals, so I knew what they could tolerate and what they would, based on what I wanted to deliver for them knowing what their demands were, what their needs were, and how I intended to fulfill that role.
That’s why I say, client clarity, to me, clarity is such a beautiful gift that allows you to really be of service in a whole new way, a dynamic way for your clients. It really builds your value, it proves it, and helps role loyalty over time. My big thing is always, you don’t sell travel services or travel packages, you sell services. You don’t work with suppliers, you work with your clients. Your suppliers are exactly that, your suppliers. You work hard to bring them the clients, so I don’t know. It’s one of those things that I wish everyone could see as clearly, but I think, at some point, it happens when you reach the other side of understanding it, and when you look back that perspective. It really helps you “I see now what I was missing then.”
KT: Yes. I wish I had started doing it sooner. We’ve probably been doing it for 10 years. We did a lot of air, which we kind of moved away from, but airfare, I never had a problem, and we made really, really good money off that. But I don’t want to do air.
When I rebranded about seven years ago, that’s when we started charging more for the packages. What I still have a problem with sometimes, but it’s more my longtime clients, is when I do high-end cruises, but I am moving past that. You get a really good commission, but there is still a lot of work that you need to put into it.
CP: Yes, and I always think of, “Okay, what’s the risk?” Because, if you wait on the commission, if something happens to the trip, you don’t get paid for that work. I guess that’s where I always operated from, is like pretend commissions are like your bonus. So, the fees, for me, were revenue earned, where my commissions were a bonus. It was just kind of the way that I operated, for me, the way that I kind of made sense of all of it, to help distance myself from the emotion of charging those fees and really being okay with that in my heart, you know. I love to be of service. I would help everybody for free if I could, but, at the end of the day, my husband’s like, “Is this an investment or a hobby, babe?”
Alright. Well, thank you. One thing, I’m going to start to close out here, and we’re going to say goodbye to you towards the end.
I think, as travel agents, it’s really easy to get complacent when it comes to our travel business. We’re managing 17 different things at one time and it’s why it’s essential to develop processes and systems that help keep you focused on creating that travel business that you desire. That’s why you have to do that. When you’re offering your travel services, you have to share a preview of those benefits, that’s what all that marketing is about, share your client’s journey, share how you’re of service, don’t just share yourself sitting at the pool having a good time. Share the computer work, the paperwork, the packages because it’s not just that. That’s such a small part of what you do. Show them how you really earn their fees and build those relationships, those times in the classrooms, these Mastermind sessions.
I know that we talked a little bit about ideal travel client services. What I’m going to do, is I’m going to go to the comments of this live, and I’m going to put in a link where you can access our Ideal Travel Client Profile, and I’ll deliver a little series of emails that will show you how to make the most of that in your business. Again, we teach intention-based marketing at Travel Business Success Circle, and who you want to work with is at the center of everything. Claim your Ideal Travel Client Profile Template. Again, I’ll share that in the link of the video here on this live.
Before we wrap up this special travel agent business and marketing training, I want to thank Kathy for being here with me to share her insights because that’s experience I don’t have. I don’t have 20-plus in the industry. As I said, I’ve been here 8 years, and I can share from my perspective and Kathy, definitely, brings a perspective that I know a lot of travel agents here appreciate. Thank you so, so, so much.
KT: And thank you because you have helped me. You know, when we started this, I’ve been stuck kind of in the same place for a long time, and you have been instrumental in helping me move forward. If you need help with marketing, Carmen knows her stuff and she doesn’t just tell you how to do it, she shows you step by step, which is what I like.
CP: Well, thank you. Thank you so much. I appreciate it. And I appreciate you. We will talk soon. Stay with me here as we sign off. Now, before I go, if you enjoyed this training, I would really appreciate it if you would give us a thumbs up and let us know your biggest takeaway. Also, if you feel inclined, share it with a friend who you think could use this message.
So, until I see you in the next Travel Business Success Circle Power Training session, this is Carmen Perez signing off. Work with passion, purpose, and play. Thank you, everybody. Have a beautiful day.