The Travel Agent Next Door is launching a zero interest financing program, in partnership with Flexiti, that allows clients to finance their vacations.
Consumers pay a set financing fee that is much lower than the interest rate on credit cards and on other financing plans.
We asked three top-selling agents with The Travel Agent Next Door about the program.
Here are the responses from Travis Stewart, P.E.I.; Cynthia Davidson, Burlington, Ontario; and Stacey Knight, Calgary, Alberta.
TTAND: What was your initial reaction to the zero interest program?
TRAVIS: I had a flashback to when Sears had the program and the struggles we had to compete with it and thought, 'wow, now we are on the other side.'
CYNTHIA: To be completely honest, as first I was not sure this would be of much benefit! But, the more I thought about it, the more I started to realize that I do have some clients that would be super-excited to take advantage of this program. I do feel it will help close more sales.
STACEY: I was excited to hear that we would be offering this to our clients. I have used this type of program with Home Depot. It’s another great option for our clients to use rather than a credit card that might have a high interest rate.
TTAND: How will you use this as a sales tool?
TRAVIS: We are going to meet as a team and put a consistent message out through all our mediums on the amazing benefits of this program. We’ll show all the advantages and options that our clients will have and make the purchase of travel easier.
CYNTHIA: I will definitely offer this as a closing tactic, especially to those who feel the trip may be a little too expensive or really want that upgrade, but are just a little worried about spending extra for it. I now have a solution that will allow them to afford it: pay for it slowly, over time and without any interest
STACEY: Just start the conversation: 'did you know we can also offer you a zero interest program?' We will be including it in our signature lines on email. I will be offering it as an option to all of my clients.
TTAND: Why wouldn’t clients just use a credit card?
TRAVIS: Personally, I have used programs like this for purchasing a couch and think it makes the purchasing decision much easier.
CYNTHIA: As we all know, in order to avoid credit card interest, credit cards need to paid in full each month. Payments with the ZIP program are super-easy, since the client won't have to remember to pay anything as it will be automatically debited from their bank account. It also creates an added level of protection - the client will not have to give their credit card details - and for the agent, there’s no chance of a fraudulent credit card.
STACEY: Because our program offers them a zero interest option.
TTAND: What is the benefit of charging a flat fee rather than interest?
TRAVIS: Clients know exactly the cost they will be charged – and, it is minimal compared to the amount they are financing.
CYNTHIA: I think it's amazing. I've done the math and the flat fee works out to be much less expensive than the programs out there that charge interest, even if the client qualifies for a low rate. The client knows the fee with the ZIP program whereas on other financing plans, they will not know what rate of interest they will pay until after the application is approved.
STACEY: There is always a fee or interest charged on these types of programs.
TTAND: Any other comments?
TRAVIS: I believe that this will be a game-changer for our agency. We will aggressively promote through our network and I expect it will put us at a whole new level.
CYNTHIA: The responsibility of the agent regarding the monthly payments is negligible, as all of this is handled through the company providing the credit. It's a quick process - the agent sends the client a link for the application. The approval process will take just minutes and, once approved, the agent is then provided with a virtual credit card that can be used right away. It gets the booking done fast, just like using a regular credit card.
STACEY: Can’t wait for this to start! Let’s ZIP away!
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