The art of client acquisition in the travel industry: How to develop an effective strategy?
Welcome to another inspiring interview in our #TravelHeroes series!
Today, we’re thrilled to introduce you to Agnieszka, an indispensable member of our sales department and an expert in acquiring new clients. Agnieszka is a person with incredibly diverse interests, seamlessly blending her professional career in the travel industry with a passion for dietetics and a dedication to spiritual growth.
In this captivating conversation, Agnieszka shares her career journey with us, starting from her days as a journalist to her current role as a Business Development Manager at WorkTrips.com. She also reveals how she tackles the challenges posed by client acquisition and the specific areas that currently occupy her focus.
Are you ready for this inspiring journey? Let’s dive in!
MATEUSZ: What was your first job?
AGNIESZKA: My first job? It was quite unexpected! At that time, I had two professions under my belt. I had just graduated in journalism and had also completed my studies in tourism. I was contemplating which path to take while already practicing journalism to some extent. I worked at Polish Radio in the news and popular science department. However, as it was not a full-time job and I needed one at the time, I decided to venture into the travel industry. A friend of mine, who was working at Business Travel International, told me they were looking for people to work on business development and corporate client acquisition. I did well in the job interview, and basically, since then, I’ve been working in this field.
MATEUSZ: So, can we say that you’ve been associated with the travel industry right from the beginning of your career?
AGNIESZKA: Absolutely, later on, there were other interests that turned into or are turning into work, like dietetics and coaching.
MATEUSZ: Once again, in the TravelHeroes series, I come across someone with a wide range of passions and specialties!
AGNIESZKA: Dietetics didn’t happen by accident. When my son was a child, he had severe allergies that no one could manage, and no traditional remedies worked. So, I decided to treat him with a specific diet, and I got deeply involved in the subject. At some point, I completed my studies in dietetics and started working in the field in my free time. Now also coaching. I simply love helping people.
MATEUSZ: What a story! What dedication and determination! You must really not like to be bored?
AGNIESZKA: No, there’s never a dull moment!
MATEUSZ: We’ve started this conversation quite nicely! Tell me, how did your journey with WorkTrips.com begin?
AGNIESZKA: After working in the industry for so many years, you get to know the whole environment and people from other companies. That was the case here too. I was recommended by someone from WorkTrips.com. The recruitment process went very smoothly. After several interviews, we determined the scope of responsibilities and completed all the formalities, and here I am!
MATEUSZ: Please tell me, what do you do on a daily basis, and what position do you hold?
AGNIESZKA: I work as a Business Development Manager and focus on acquiring new clients. The role here is a bit different from my previous experiences. Typically, after acquiring a client, someone else, like a Key Account Manager, would take care of them. At WorkTrips.com, that contact is not severed. After establishing the partnership, I continue to be part of the relationship, which I find very appealing, because they are often great relationships with people built over the years.
MATEUSZ: What does your workday look like? Do you have a routine for organizing your tasks?
AGNIESZKA: In my role, the routine often depends on clients. I usually have to adapt to their schedule. The task I carry out daily is contact for ongoing discussions and client sourcing. I always make a list of companies I want to contact on a given day. Typically, these are organizations with which I haven’t had a previous relationship, so the most challenging part is finding contact with the decision-maker in the area that interests me. This process is like starting a snowball rolling. The more calls I make, the more meetings I arrange, and consequently, the more clients I acquire.
MATEUSZ: So, you can’t stop rolling that snowball?
AGNIESZKA: I wouldn’t recommend it!
MATEUSZ: What’s the most crucial aspect of propelling that snowball?
AGNIESZKA: You have to be a very determined and persistent person. At the same time, be able to give space to the client to decide. Because, after all, no one can be forced to do anything. And both sides must be satisfied with the cooperation.
MATEUSZ: How long does the sales process take? Can you estimate how long it takes to acquire a client?
AGNIESZKA: That can’t be determined. Some clients we sign contracts with within three days, but there are companies, usually large organizations, with which I’ve been talking for a year, sometimes even longer.
MATEUSZ: I understand. What do you currently spend most of your time on?
AGNIESZKA: I’m receiving more and more complex questions from clients about the capabilities of our system. So, currently, I’m deeply focused on our tool. I want to know it inside out from every angle. I’m looking at new features and digging deeper. This product is “alive.” The IT department adds new functionalities in response to customer needs, and we have to keep up with them. This is also the expectation of customers. After the pandemic, more and more is happening online, independently. And in addition to saving employee time, you can gain cost savings for the company. Customers know this.
MATEUSZ: Is there something that frustrates you about your work? Any tasks you approach reluctantly?
AGNIESZKA: I really enjoy this job, and there aren’t too many areas I dislike. If I had to mention something, I’d probably find something, but due to my many years in the industry, I’ve become immune to some things.
MATEUSZ: Well, then maybe I should turn that question around. What do you value most about working in the travel industry?
AGNIESZKA: Definitely the people who are associated with the industry. They are usually very communicative individuals, open to the world, willing to collaborate, and eager to share their experiences.
MATEUSZ: How do you manage to separate your personal life from your professional life?
AGNIESZKA: I had a problem with that in the past. There were clients who used to call on weekends at 7 in the morning, and I would answer the phone. Now, I’m careful about work-life balance and setting boundaries. There’s always something to do in my job, but when I have time for myself and my family, I don’t check my email or see if anyone has replied. Remote work carries some risks when it comes to separating work and personal life. When I worked in an office, I would close the computer and go home. Now, the office is in my home, so setting those boundaries is important to avoid burnout.
MATEUSZ: We’ve touched on professional topics. Now, I’d like to ask about what you do in your free time.
AGNIESZKA: My passion and something I like to dedicate my time to is dietetics, as mentioned earlier. I’m also interested in the broader concept of the body and soul. I believe that mental development combined with good dietary practices greatly facilitates life. Perhaps this passion will turn into something more in the future. Besides that, I love rollerblading, which is a great way to counteract the sedentary nature of my work.
MATEUSZ: Now, let’s imagine you have a time machine, and you’re transported back to the year 2005! What would you say to yourself? Any advice?
AGNIESZKA: I’d tell myself, “I’m lucky to have such an amazing son.” My son was 4 years old at the time, and his “golden thoughts” from that time I remember to this day, and I wouldn’t give myself any advice. At this point I am reminded of such a dialogue:
– If I had the experience then that you have today, I wouldn’t have made so many mistakes
– If you hadn’t made those mistakes back then, you wouldn’t have the experience you have today. Powerful right :)?
MATEUSZ: To wrap it up, can you tell me your preferred vacation destinations?
AGNIESZKA: I’ve noticed that my vacation destinations have been
related to Poland for some time now. Recently, I spent a week in the Tuchola Forests, where I could relax very well. We had a boat at our disposal, and we spent a lot of time on it swimming and fishing. We brought our bikes, so we were active too. I have very fond memories of that time. I also have a kind of ritual because for the past few years, I’ve always done a city break in March with my close friends. However, it’s not about lying on the beach; quite the opposite. During one of these trips to Barcelona, we participated in a half-marathon (which I completed), and we did a lot of sightseeing, mainly by walking. Barcelona is a city that’s perfect for these walking tours. This year we went to Lisbon, without a half-marathon, but we were also active! Record of the day 19.5 km on the feet! I have an appetite for more :).
MATEUSZ: Wonderful! Well, good luck on your future trips. Thank you very much for this conversation!
AGNIESZKA: Thank you too :).