Paying attention for the sake of understanding helps build lasting foundations
Experts in business, psychology, and relationships have long stressed the importance of listening in order to authentically build trust, nurture respect, foster collaboration and continually improve. Actor, director and author Alan Alda said, “Listening is being able to be changed by the other person.”
In working with your travel clients, do you actively practice the art of listening?
Savvy brands know that the most effective listening is that which comes from a genuine desire to understand what’s important to stakeholders.
Explora Journeys, the new luxury cruise brand that aims to deliver ocean travel differently, has taken this to heart when shaping guest experiences and an industry-leading commitment to travel advisors. Drawing on both its gold-standard European luxury foundations and the experience of its expert sales leaders who have been managing travel advisor relationships for many years, Explora Journeys has built the art of listening into its very DNA.
With the creation of an entirely new luxury and lifestyle brand comes the opportunity to take ideas previously raised by travel advisors and use them to support industry-first and industry-leading new policies, programs, and tools.
“Travel advisors are the heart and soul of this industry,” says Chief Sales Officer Christopher Austin. “We want their success as much as we want our own, so we listened to them – and continue listening to them – in order to support the continuous growth of their business, as well as bringing a joyful spirit to our collaboration.”
Explora Journeys introduced a commitment that puts the travel advisor front and center. The team seeks input during every meeting and connection. That led to the brand’s entire B2B center being developed with input from a travel advisory panel. The dynamic site – known as the Explora Travel Advisor Centre – includes feedback links throughout its training suites. This mirrors the brand’s curiosity at all levels of the business. Explora Journeys also has advisory boards with different groups.
From 24/7 direct omni-channel support to a seamless B2B portal with account management and robust learning opportunities, the luxury brand is delivering on its promise. Perhaps the most striking aspects of Explora Journeys having listened to travel advisors are its industry-first rolling commission program paid on all funds received plus commission paid on add-ons – and its promise of no non-commissionable fares (NCFs).
“We are thinking beyond our interactions with travel advisors, and considering their relationships with their own clients,” Austin says, “The idea is that we listen closely to travel advisors in order to provide tools that make it seamless for them, in turn, to listen to their clients. This is expressed most impactfully when advisors match the right person to the right experience.”
Advisors who leverage the Explora Journeys offerings will come to deeply understand the brand and how it is set apart from other oceangoing experiences. Explora talks frequently about the “Ocean State of Mind” – a highly personal, almost zen-like state of tranquility and flow that people experience during transformative holidays at sea. Travel advisors can listen carefully to cues from their clients to know if and when an Explora Journeys holiday is the perfect fit. Perhaps a client thinks they want a couple’s getaway, but it turns out that what would be the most soul-satisfying vacation would be a multi-generational journey. Or, perhaps they think they want an adventure trip, but the listening advisor notices repeated references to being tired, and understands that the client might instead need a longer trip, such as one of Explora’s “Grand Journey” programs, in order to restore balance.
“Travel today is an ever-changing landscape,” says Austin. “Travelers want different things than they did two years ago, and there is reason to believe that the meaningfulness people derive from travel will continue to shift and evolve. For travel advisors who want to build lasting relationships with discerning travelers who seek deeper connections to places and to themselves, we are here to listen, to support, and to succeed together.”
Austin notes that the art of listening – also at the core of the brand’s guest-centric onboard experience and traveler benefits programs – is practiced carefully, and continually. “We bench-test our approaches, and based on a heartfelt knowledge exchange, we take action, making adjustments to support business being uplifting.”
From the Sponsor:
Explora Journeys is set apart through five central elements: space, choice, design, destination experiences – and an unwavering commitment to the travel advisor community. In fact, travel advisors can begin enjoying our industry-first rolling commission programme today.
To join us, register in the Explora Travel Advisor Centre. There, you’ll find our industry-leading policies for advisors and exclusive benefits for your clients, including a “Flexible Journeys” programme that promotes peace of mind when booking travel. You can access robust learning modules in our bespoke Knowledge Suite, to help you tell the Explora Journeys story and generate your own go-to-market strategy. You will gain access to a dazzling library of digital and print assets to help you market Explora Journeys; a booking portal that makes it easy to match clients to their perfect transformative holidays; the latest Explora Journeys news; and a personalized reporting dashboard – all designed to bring you and your clients closer to an Ocean State of Mind.
We are open for bookings and invite you to enjoy a seamless booking experience, whether online, with your By Appointment Service, or by calling an Ambassador at 1.833.697.8348.
We delight in welcoming you into the Explora Journeys travel advisor community.