Expedia Doesn't Listen to You. I Do!

I always interview my clients before beginning work for them.


If I don’t know listen to them, how do I know what memories they want to bring away from their vacation? How do I know how best to help them?


The questions I ask my clients have morphed over time. I always ask them to tell me who is travelling, what their interests are, as well as what are the goals of their vacation, etc. And I generally spend a lot of time finding out about their previous vacations – what has worked for them, what hasn’t.


Often the conversation will ebb and flow, based on what the client will share with me…..


I came across this list on a site the other day. It had been cobbled together from various sources and travel advisors as a summary of questions they ask (www.thetravelagentrevolution). I realized that I have been covering these questions in my normal interview process with a new client as well. The wording I use may change slightly, but the information I elicit from a client is generally captured in these questions……


1. why do you need to get away?
2. what do you traditionally do on vacation?
3. where have you been before?
4. what would you do if $ were no object?
5. what’s on your bucket list?
6. how do you select a country to visit??
7. how do you define luxury?
8. who is traveling?
9. what does exotic mean to you?
10. what is important (or not) to you when traveling?
11. what do you look for when you travel?
12. what is one thing you’d improve from your last vacation?
13. what has been your experience… ?
14. how do you determine…. ?
15. what is a deciding factor… ?
16. what do you like about…?


I ask clients the questions. And then I shut up.


I listen. I take notes. I ask clarifying questions. And then I listen some more.


Part of being a Virtuoso travel advisor is that I follow a process. I work in a very deliberate way. It’s codified. But I don’t work that way to follow a checklist. I work that way because it makes sense.


It would be foolhardy for me to try and reserve a holiday for you before I discover what it is that you want to do.


To discover, I have to listen!


Listening is a pretty important thing for me to do if I want to help you  orchestrate your travel dreams!  They are, after all, YOUR travel dreams. They are not mine.


But – I listen to what your heart desires, and then I think of how best to design the holiday to meet your needs. I collaborate with you about the ingredients we use, and what suppliers/ relationships I will draw upon. First and foremost, the holiday is about you.


So, tell me – if you don’t work with a travel advisor, what questions does Expedia ask you before it books your travel?


Oh right – they don’t ask you anything. They don’t listen to you. They jump into reserving right away. There’s no give and take. There’s no collaboration. You give dates, spots, prices; and they give you the answer.  The same answer would jump out whether the inputs had been supplied by your grandma, you, or your grade 1 child.  Not much individual attention.


You’re only a reservation number there…. You’re NOT my important client.


You have to call me to get me to interview you.  I will listen. I will help you orchestrate your travel dreams.


If you want someone to listen to you, call me!


Sheila Gallant-Halloran