From dressing up as a child’s favourite Disney character to bearing tasty treats, there are myriad ways agents can impress clients when hand-delivering tickets
While hand-delivering tickets is a tried-and-tested way to impress clients, there are many methods to make the concept unique to your agency and tailored to the customer, generating a buzz around your business in the process.
Here we speak with three agencies that have gone above and beyond when delivering tickets to create memorable wow-factor moments for their clients.
The idea for Elite Travel Boutique’s Christmas elf delivery service came to life in the rather unlikely location of a Greater Manchester garden centre. Director Kathryn Thompson explains: “My colleague Bo Hutchinson was in the local garden centre at Christmas two years ago and saw there was a Santa’s grotto. Bo simply went up and asked the ‘elf’, who is called Sarah, if she would be interested in helping us deliver tickets to families who had made a Lapland booking.”
Soon after, Sarah came into Elite’s offices to make a plan with the team. “This year we had her come in as early as October,” says Thompson. “We drew up a questionnaire, asking parents what their children did well throughout the year and what they needed to work on. That way, our messenger elf could pass on a personalised Santa’s note to the kids when she delivered the tickets to them.”
By waiting until the night before travel to deliver the tickets, the elf’s appearance becomes even more thrilling for the children, explains Thompson.
“This way we can say that Father Christmas has prepared a plane just for them,” she says. “Sarah also arrives with personalised wooden gift boxes with the families’ names layered on the top. They are filled with chocolate, boarding passes and a scroll from Santa.
Unsurprisingly, word of mouth ensured that Elite’s unique ticket- delivering efforts didn’t go unnoticed, and the initiative also created a buzz on the agency’s social media accounts.
“On the agency’s Instagram page, elf-related pictures generated 243 likes, while videos of Sarah delivering the tickets were watched 341 times. On Facebook, Elite’s started their elf campaign in 2018 with a bang, receiving more than 22 likes and having their videos shared 22 times.”
In 2019 the team made 32 Lapland bookings, twice as many as in the previous year.
Thompson says the service is free of charge for clients. “It all comes as part of our service. We all have children, so seeing the reaction from the kids and hearing the positive feedback from parents has been amazing. Once you demonstrate the effort you are willing to put in, then people come [back] and rebook [with you],” says Thompson.
Northern Ireland’s Downe Travel is no stranger to coming up with clever ideas when delivering tickets, explains director Marie Gallagher.
“We had a client come in a few years ago who wanted to celebrate his wedding anniversary by treating his wife to a luxury holiday in Italy,” she says.
The client came up with a cost-effective, quirky way for the agency to deliver the tickets. “It was his idea to have the tickets delivered in a pizza box, which turned out well as his wife genuinely thought she was about to tuck into a takeaway,” laughs Gallagher. “She was delighted, and it was all quite easy; we just had to ask the local pizza shop for an empty box.”
Gallagher adds the initiative was good for business too: “Through word of mouth alone, we got a lot of attention. Of course, the Irish humour helped.”
For Thorne Travel in Kilwinning, Scotland, making a trip to Disneyland even more special is all in a day’s work.
“We had booked a trip to Disneyland Paris for a family and wanted to surprise their little girl,” says customer service manager Samantha Garrity. “On Christmas Day, we had a member of the team dress up as Mickey Mouse and go to their house with the tickets. The clients were thrilled. They didn’t expect us to do this, however we insisted, to make their daughter’s day special.”
Word of Thorne’s kind gesture spread fast, especially with Garrity’s son attending the same school as their client’s little girl. In the weeks that followed, locals came into the shop to sing the agency’s praises.
The team has since been asked to attend events at the community centre and at local schools, which has helped them target new clients.
“It was great to see that people were talking about Mickey’s ticket delivery,” says Garrity. “However, we didn’t do it as a marketing ploy or to generate sales. We are a family-run business that wants to ensure our clients have the best experiences possible.
“No matter our customers’ budget, we want to create amazing memories.”
Top tips to consider when hand-delivering tickets
Generate a buzz: Elite Travel Boutique’s savvy use of social media builds up excitement before the day of ticket delivery. “Before we send the elf out on the road, we take to social media and make fun videos,” says Thompson.
Tailor the experience: Downe Travel’s Gallagher says it’s important to know your client before coming up with a plan. “If they have a good sense of humour, go with something that will amuse them. However, some of the more quirky methods of delivering tickets won’t suit everyone.”
Be genuine: Offering clients a personal touch is vital, explains Thorne Travel’s Garrity, but doing it for commercial gain isn’t always the best route. “Don’t just think about the sales – do it because you genuinely care. Sales will inevitably come after.”