Appointment-based consultations and “closed-shop” policies could become the norm for a while to come yet, as luxury agents get back to business.
According to new research conducted by TTG Luxury, for those luxury agents with shops, 35% said they would be open by the end of June, 24% hoped to do so in July, and 39% said they “still weren’t sure” when the research was carried out early in June.
When it comes to social distancing measures, 38% have put screens into their shops at consultants’ desks, 44% will put more space between desks, 46% will install signage around social distancing, and 38% will change the way refreshments are offered to clients.
Almost a quarter of shops (23%) said however that they will maintain a “closed-door” policy, offering appointments only and staying closed to general custom.
Overall, 38% said they have made a decision to move towards offering more appointment services in light of requirements to keep a degree of social distance in retail as the UK emerges from the lockdown.
Whether shop, home, or office-based, the survey asked luxury agents if they would offer Zoom (or other video conferencing) visual consultation calls with clients.
Kuoni and many others have already rolled out video-appointment services, and the survey found that just more than half (52%) of agents said they would now offer this as an option, 18% said they wouldn’t, and 30% are still thinking about it. However, for those who are offering it, take-up on this method was said to be still slow for now.
As a result of the coronavirus crisis, 59% of agents think that longer consultation times will now be necessary per client, given elements such as discussing different entry requirements and communicating T&Cs.
The survey also found that 47% of agents think they will no longer give as much paperwork to clients, believing there was “too much already” and using the opportunity to also reduce contact touch points. Of these agents, 30% said they hope to use more digital itineraries and app-based communications.
But 53% said the amount of paperwork given would remain the same as “clients still need reassurance in this way”.