What to Do When You’re Ghosted by a Client

Written by: Stephanie on June 05, 2024

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You led a consultation with your clients, completed thorough research, sent quotes for their trip, and maybe even applied a deposit or made subsequent payments on the reservation. But what happens if during this process the client stops communicating with you? What steps should you take? What business practices can you establish to attempt to curb ghosting as soon as you receive a travel inquiry? 

Suggestions for Preventing Ghosting from the Start 

One of the easiest ways to prevent ghosting is to follow a consistent procedure for introducing yourself to and working with new clients. If you want your clients to invest their time and money with you, their travel agent, it’s important to convey to them that you are also invested in their plans. How?  

Start with how you interact with your clients.  

If you have relied on email, text, or direct message to communicate with new clients, it’s time to make your business more personal and require a consultation. Current KHM Travel Group Agents can print and fill out forms from the Travel Agent Portal. You can also create your own form for jotting notes during a phone call, Zoom call, or in-person meeting.

When you come out from behind a screen and display your professionalism and enthusiasm to your new clients, you’re establishing trust and developing a rapport with them. You are also demonstrating your knowledge and skills as a travel professional while showing them how you curate travel experiences and manage their vacation details. 

Further, requiring your clients to spend time talking with you shows who is willing to devote the time to working on their trip together. 

Potential ghost alert: Clients who don’t want to spend 30 minutes talking to you. Most clients want to get to know their travel advisor and spend time with them working on their trips, so be leery of those who don’t.  

Then, show that you are more than a search engine.  

If you’re eliminating the personal touch of a consultation and immediately jumping to quick email correspondence and providing some rates, you’re showing your clients that you are an order-taker, or a sort of travel search engine. When you conduct your business in this manner, you run the risk of attracting price shoppers, tire-kickers, and people who simply want to “pick your brain” and then abandon you.  

My advice for everyone to not be ghosted by a client at the proposal stage is to have that Proposal Review directly WITH the client on the phone or via video chat. Do not send a proposal to your client, you will be ghosted. We changed our conversation rate from about 25-30% to 70%+ when we changed to ‘in person’ follow-up calls. 

KHM Travel Group Travel Agent

Potential ghost alert: Clients who simply want pricing. They want you to give them ideas and rates so they can go do their own work, and most likely, remove you from the planning and booking process. 

Charge a fee (if you can and want to.) 

Not all travel advisors are legally permitted to charge planning fees, but if you can and wish to add fees to your business model, this is another way to deter potential ghosts. A good time to charge a fee is after the consultation before any research/work is done for the trip, thus protecting the investment of your time into their plans.  

Some travel agents collect a non-refundable fee and some apply the fee towards the trip or refund it after travel. Some travel agents provide a fee schedule that changes by type of trip, and some always charge a flat rate. Learn more about fees in this helpful Travel Agent Tips video.

2023 06 Tat Fees Promographic 1

Potential ghost alert: Ultimately, each travel advisor determines their planning fees and how to apply them. Hefty fees, however, might cause potential clients to balk and disappear after the consultation. Think about your business model, why you plan to charge what you charge, and how it could affect travel inquiries and your booking rate. 

Even following all these steps…you still might be ghosted. 

These suggestions aren’t surefire ways to prevent all potential clients from ghosting you, but they are helpful in avoiding the problem as much as possible. If you have tried the tips mentioned above and find clients are continuing to ghost you at various stages of the planning process, it’s time to reevaluate your possible role, too. 

  • Are you knowledgeable about the trips you sell? 
  • Do you display professionalism and obvious care and interest in your clients’ plans?  
  • Are you listening to your clients’ wishes and creating proposals with travel options that align as closely as possible to that wish list? 
  • How are your potential clients finding you? (Referrals tend to have higher booking rates than random inquiries!)  
  • How do you market your travel business? What types of travel do you promote? Are you leaning heavily on “deals” and “lowest price options?” (Think about the clientele you might be attracting to your business.)  

Even with your best efforts, sometimes clients simply disappear. When that happens, consider if you’d want to reestablish a relationship with that client for future inquires…because sometimes ghosts come back. Be prepared for how you will handle that situation, including both your words and actions. 

Ghosting Scenarios 

There are two main points in the planning process that you might be ghosted, and each situation warrants a unique response.  

Scenario 1: The Client Stops Responding After Receiving a Quote 

After assembling your research and sending a quote/proposal to a client, allow a bit of time for the client to review the information…but not too much time or they could move on. Be clear about the next steps when you send their proposal, including when you will follow up with them. If you don’t receive communication from the client, contact them within the timeframe mentioned in your email/call. Generally, after two or three attempts at correspondence without a response, it’s time to move on. (They might reappear later but prepare yourself that you might have been ghosted.) 

Scenario 2: The Client Stops Responding After Booking Their Trip and Making Payment(s) 

When the client stops responding after booking their trip, paying their deposit, and perhaps even making subsequent payments or their final payment, the situation is a bit more complicated and stressful.  

First, double check that you have the correct forms of communication: 

I got worried that someone who had final payment of almost $20,000 due was not responding but it turns out she uses two emails and rarely checks the one that I had in the CRM for her. So my advice would be to double check that for important deadline-related issues, you have the best email for sending automation emails.

KHM Travel Group Travel Agent

Next, contact the absent client using all methods of communication available. Be very clear about the next steps and possible outcomes while maintaining your professionalism. 

My language starts to get very stern. I’ll hit them via text, voicemail, and email. I make the consequences very clear and let them know this is the last time they will hear from me regarding this request. 

KHM Travel Group Travel Agent

I had a client book her cruise more than a year in advance. She stopped communicating with me soon after booking, even with my repeated email attempts over several months to continue with plans. As time became more of a concern, I began leaving voicemails, sending emails, and sending text messages. In my final correspondence, I clearly stated that after several attempts at trying to communicate with her regarding her cruise reservations, this would be the final notification from my travel agency and my next email would be confirming the reservations have been cancelled by the cruise line. I had exhausted all options for communication, and after seeing my text message display as “read” on my phone screen, I knew I wouldn’t hear from her again. I was surprised, too, because during our consultation and our initial discussions, this wasn’t a client I had expected this from. 

KHM Travel Group Travel Agent

Document all your correspondence attempts, keep screenshots of text and phone calls, and save all emails in a folder so you have evidence of your communication attempts. Don’t cancel the clients’ reservations unless you receive a response from them and they sign authorization forms to process the cancellation. Without written communication from the client, simply allow the reservation to cancel itself in the supplier’s system.  

Don’t be afraid of ghosts! Taking measures to prevent them and knowing how to handle them if they haunt you will help you continue to grow as a small business owner. 

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