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15 Jan 2019

BY Abigail Healy

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How to boost commission on package holiday sales

Earn more bang for your client’s buck and make holidays run that bit more smoothly into the bargain. Abigail Healy asks operators for their tips on upselling package holidays

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"In simple self-catering, you can upgrade from a studio to a one-bedroom apartment – typically adding just a small percentage to the overall holiday cost but getting twice the space.” Sunvil's Dudley de Parthog

The Christmas festivities are likely to be a distant memory as you battle your way through the busiest time of the year. While you might be doing a roaring trade in multi-centre, tailor-made touring holidays or luxury long-haul getaways, chances are you’ll also be booking plenty of simpler package holidays. While you might think these trips won’t make you quite so much commission, there are plenty of ways to up your earnings and give your customer a more memorable and convenient experience, as these operators explain.

Excursions and attractions

Elena Ahmadian, marketing, sales, admin at Cyplon Holidays, suggests adding once-in-a-lifetime experiences – which Cyplon is able to arrange – to package holidays to boost both the client’s holiday experience and your commission.

“Enhance any trip with stimulating excursions or sightseeing, such as exploring Petra in Jordan, taking the Jerusalem City Tour in Israel or the Marrakech city tour in Morocco. We advise agents to avoid letting their clients book these when they arrive, as they will have to either pay more or likely not book them at all.”

Jane Pinfold, James Villa Holidays’ head of customer experience, contact centre, sales, has similar advice 
when it comes to Florida attractions tickets, suggesting that agents help the customer spread the cost of the tickets by booking them at the same time as their villa. The operator can secure them for a £25 deposit.

Sunvil can pre-book excursions across its Scandinavia and Azores programmes, with options including whale and dolphin-watching in the Azores and northern lights snowmobile tours and wilderness dining experiences in Scandinavia.

Michelle Vincent, product executive for Scandinavia, says: 
“We include city passes within our Scandinavia breaks and also a public transportation pass for holidays in Skane. These are automatically included in all quotations, and while they may make the initial holiday cost more expensive, they represent excellent value for money and are much used. We receive regular thanks from guests on their return from holiday for including these ancillary products.”

Sister brand GIC The Villa Collection also offers agents the chance to pre-book boat hire for clients on Kefalonia, Ithaca, Lefkas and Meganissi, avoiding a lack of availability or the need to haggle over prices in-resort.

Flights

On a package holiday booking, it’s often a case of finding the cheapest flight option or the most convenient time. However Jet2holidays’ general manager trade sales, Craig Davidson, suggests using it as an upselling opportunity.

“Consider in-flight extras. At the quote stage, or even when it comes to paying the final balance, think about offering allocated seats or in-flight meals to customers as a simple way to generate more sales.”

James Villa Holidays’ Pinfold agrees that it’s a great way to ensure your client’s holiday gets off to a great start and will likely have them coming back to book with you time after time.

“Provide a complete service by pre-booking flight seats to avoid disappointment at the airport.”
She adds: “Let customers know that they can book all their added extras at the same time as booking their villa and flights. Car hire, airport parking and airport hotels can all be sold with the holiday so everything is taken care of at once. All the holiday vouchers they’ll need will be sent through together, so it’s quick and simple to get organised before departing.”

Accommodation

Sunvil’s director, Dudley de Parthog, explains that as accommodation in Greece is reasonably priced, an upgrade is good value and in most cases doesn’t increase the overall cost by much.

“In simple self-catering, you can upgrade from a studio to a one-bedroom apartment for very little extra – typically adding just a small percentage to the overall holiday cost but getting twice the space.”

He cites the example of the operator’s Afrodite Apartments in Crete. A one-week stay in a studio in May is £665, while a one-bedroom apartment is £700, meaning the price difference is £35, which equates to 5%.

Jet2holidays’ Davidson also advises questioning customers on their accommodation choices.

“Agents should encourage customers to review their board basis to see if they can get more bang for their buck. For example, a customer looking at a self-catering or half-board holiday could actually end up feeling far more financially assured by the benefits of an all-inclusive package, particularly if they’re travelling as a family.”

Not only can you allay clients’ fears of overspending in-resort but you’ll also earn commission on the full holiday.

Little extras

Arriving at a villa with no supplies can be daunting for clients, especially for families or those with a late arrival time. GIC The Villa Collection offers an upselling opportunity with the chance to upgrade from the standard welcome pack to a Club Hamper for £70.

“The package is sufficient for up to four people and typically includes bread, butter, honey, eggs, nuts, fruit, biscuits, yoghurt, orange juice, tea, coffee, sugar, milk, cheese, ham, salad vegetables, salt and pepper, local olive oil, a bottle of wine, tonic water and soft drinks, washing-up liquid and matches,” says managing director, Chris Wright.

Pinfold adds that arranging welcome packs and baby equipment can help take a load off customers’ minds too.

“Adding a welcome pack to the booking means there’s fresh food 
and drinks ready and waiting in the villa for when the customer arrives. It’s another thing they needn’t 
worry about. For those travelling with small children, a cot and highchair can also be added.”

Secure the booking

Sometimes, when budgets are tight, rather than finding ways to upsell, it’s simply a case of making sure you are the one to secure the booking. Jet2holidays’ Davidson points out that while many customers wish to holiday in the same resort as previous years, they might not have the budget or be willing to spend as much money. He says that due to the size of Jet2holidays aircraft fleet, it can operate more flights, giving customers more flexibility. “So instead of a 14-night stay, our flying programme means you may be able to offer an 11-night stay at the same resort, for example, putting the holiday within their budget range.” Cyplon’s Ahmadian suggests keeping an eye out for early-booking discounts. “These give clients the sense of urgency to book in advance to avoid missing out,” she says. She also suggests looking out for free-night offers, which are a great way to encourage customers to stay longer in their destination.

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