Recipe for success
Along with having her staff in-house, in one office to share knowledge and ideas, she says one of the biggest secrets to her success continues to be not selling by price. In fact, rates have never been listed online at www.tullyluxurytravel.com.
“When you put a price up there, people are just shopping you for the price. If you are truthful, if you have integrity, you don’t worry about the price. If you don’t worry about the price, the money will come. If you provide the service, people are going to tell their friends, and they’re going to come back too again and again, and that’s been the biggest key to my success,” says Tully, who sits on the board of several luxury cruise lines, hotels and travel suppliers. “I really look at our industry as a whole, and I think what’s sustained us is I don’t have independent contractors spread out all over. My agents aren’t paid on commission, they’re salary and bonuses. Our clientele love the continuity that we have within the company. The same agent now has not only been with them, but their kids and their grandkids, and you have a relationship.”
Although the industry is ever-changing, Tully believes travel agents are here to stay as it’s that relationship with clients that can’t be found online.
“You have to talk to somebody that puts it all together and can tell you how you will feel when you are in a place,” she says. “We just had a client who was going to Dubai and they found a very popular hotel online they were going to book, and we said, well did you know, they’re building condos across the street and the one entrance to the hotel is blocked off? They start construction at 8 o’clock in the morning? The website isn’t going to tell you that, but we are.”
And even though people can find the same deal for a Four Seasons Hotel promotion for example, she points out that her agency can also provide clients with a spa credit, complimentary breakfast, and more.
“If there’s going to be an upgrade, it’s always going to be made by who they have the relationship with,” she says. “Maybe some client’s give them three nights a year, 10 nights a year; we’ve given them 3,000 nights a year.”
Another key to the business is having first-hand know-ledge of the destinations they sell.
“It’s an important thing that you are experienced – not everybody can sell the same thing in my office because you can’t do it an injustice,” she says.
Over the years ,Tully has visited 115 countries and counting – but New Zealand remains on her bucket list – so if a client is interested in a trip there, she’d rather connect them to someone in the office who is an expert.
“Probably the biggest key to my success is I am the client in every possible way,” she adds. “The good, the bad and the ugly. I have money, but don’t overcharge me. I want value and don’t assume. I want options, give me choices, don’t make them for me.”