Less Is More
You might think that a trip so popular that a group needs two motorcoaches to accommodate them all would be a smashing success. When this happened to Dockery, she thought differently.
“In the past, I have taken two motorcoaches for a trip with 80 people,” said Dockery. “But groups that big lose their one-on-one time. I’m a little OCD, so since I can’t be on both motorcoaches, I take fewer now.”
Dockery ensures a continued connection with her travelers that way. With 3,000 members, obviously, not everyone will be able to travel for various reasons; so Dockery takes care of those travelers with local events.
“We have events that have a large turnout of 250 to 300 people,” said Dockery. “We’ll do a catered meal. In the spring, we have a catered catfish dinner with all the fixings. We also have gospel groups that come in to sing.”
Though these types of events keep her members engaged in the club, she goes even further to take care of her core group of enthusiastic travelers with a board of 30 members to help with decisions on future travel planning.
“They are the most seasoned travelers,” said Dockery. “They go on a lot of trips. I send out a survey asking them for travel ideas. Then we meet and talk about where we want to go.”
Customer Comes First
Since word of mouth remains the bank’s most successful advertisement, customer service is king for Dockery.
“I’m also their private banker, as well as planning the travel part,” said Dockery. “They only deal with me, so if something happens to them, they know me already. Once they get hooked on our customer service, the travel is just an added benefit.”
Dockery creates all-inclusive trips, so her travelers only have to bring money for souvenirs. She fills the motorcoach with drinks, candy, cookies, snacks and anything she can think of to add to the experience.
Other members of the bank staff will often go on the trips with Dockery to help assist people with stepping on and off the bus.
“They’re really comfortable with me and know they don’t have to worry about anything,” said Dockery. “They just have to show up and get on the bus.”
Even though Dockery knows her group so well, they can still surprise her. Her recent trip to Hawaii was one of those times.
“Hawaii had been a bucket list item for some of my group members,” said Dockery. “Some of them really wanted to go, but I was hesitant because of the cost. I told them I would have to have a certain number of people sign up to be able to go. We ended up having way more than we needed.
“It’s incredible, but I do get to see a lot of great places with them.”
• Motorcoach drivers can make or break a trip. We’ve had the same motorcoach driver for eight years. He knows all my preferences.
• Never let your group know there is a problem.
• Your customers are the biggest source of advertisement for your program.