Sample Client: Start to finish
Use this as a sample client interaction to help you work your way through a successfully planned trip.
A client, Adam Smith, inquires about a trip to Las Vegas with his family of four.
Explain your service fees, how you work, and that you'll be asking for a 50% deposit to get started. Discuss what you do and do not do for them. Either tell them to book their own flights or offer to book them for them for a fee to be determined by you. Typically around $20/ticket.
After payment, conduct a phone interview utilizing a list of questions to get to know what they like and dislike, and any custom options/needs they have. This is something you will perfect as you go. Tell him you'll be sending him a rough proposal after some research to approve. Ask how much they'd like to spend on lodging and activities, so you don't spend time researching things they won't approve.
Add all four members (including children) into Traveljoy as clients. It is odd how Traveljoy makes you add everyone separately. Hopefully that changes.
Create a "trip" in Traveljoy, name it something like Smith Vegas Trip [year]. There is a good tutorial on this on Traveljoy.
Start researching on the web things to do in Las Vegas. Jess recommends visiting Frommers' blogs, and other sites using search terms like "things to do in Las Vegas" or "Las Vegas Itinerary" to get a feel as to what your options are. There is no point in reinventing the wheel. You can always add your flair, and the client's custom needs. This should take you some time at first, but you'll get much faster once you've done similar itineraries over and over. Depending on your client, you can also head to our list of preferred companies and see if any of them offer packages/tours in that destination.
Create a proposal (or two if you want to give them options) in Traveljoy or Travefy (if you have an account there). Or, you can do this in plain email by sending links to what you are proposing. Depending on the portal you plan to use, some create a proposal email for you (usually the package and tour companies) and some lend themselves to copying links into your own email (usually the piecemeal companies, like Expedia and Viator).
Send the proposals. There will be some back and forth switching things out. A good tip is to ask your client to elaborate as much as possible so that you can hone in on their perfect experience. And, if you have a phone call with them, follow up with an email so that everything you have discussed is documented.
Upon proposal approval, create a Traveljoy invoice for the items they selected. Make sure it's a "Supplier" invoice and not a "Direct Payment" one. This should be itemized and functions as them giving you the "OK" to charge their provided card for all of the items on the invoice. This will have them give you their credit card info, which you will use to...
Book the trip individually, with each supplier via their portal. Immediately after, verify you got the confirmation email, add these confirmation numbers and commissions into their Traveljoy trip, and forward the email to your itinerary creator (Trip It, Travefy, etc).
Offer Travel insurance to your client. Call an insurance provider from the portal list and give the details of the Smith trip to them. They will create a quote. Pass that info to the client. If they accept, book the insurance for them or direct them to book it. If they decline, make sure to send them a form via Traveljoy having them sign off that they are rejecting insurance.
Create a document with all the info day by day for the client. Include times/dates/confirmation numbers etc. This is what the client will use to execute your itinerary. The low tech way is to do this inside an email. Another low tech way is to do this in a Word or google document. The best ways we've found is to use slightly higher tech options using apps like Tripit or Travefy. Tripit is free, Travefy is $39/month, however it's much prettier. Both allow the client to view their itinerary offline without internet.
To use TripIt, simply send your client’s travel confirmation emails to email@example.com. TripIt will then automatically create a detailed, easy-to-follow itinerary for the trip. This includes hotel, airline, car rental and restaurant reservations. You will also receive directions, maps and weather for each destination.
Google Trips is also an app that works a lot like TripIt. We have never used it, but it's free and has some really cool features. Check it out.
To use, Travefy see demos on their youtube page. It costs $39/month. You will have to post each activity/flight/hotel in manually, but you probably already did this earlier at the proposal stage above. They will receive directions, maps, weather, restaurant reviews and general city guide info.
Send your final itinerary to your clients, get your overall "thumb's up," get ready to explain things that are unclear, and make final changes. Send your final travel planning fees invoice to the client via Traveljoy, paypal, venmo etc.
After payment, your client is ready to travel. Inform them that the trip is now their's and you are forwarding all of the confirmation emails for their reference. Instruct them to print everything as a back up and to read everything carefully as some items require a printed ticket and some are ok with mobile barcode.
Follow up with them post trip to see how it went.