Turning Disney into an All-Inclusive (sort of)

Turning Disney into an All-Inclusive (sort of)

How to reach your goals as a travel agent

As travel agents, we strive to provide top-notch service to our clients. However, I have seen how hard it is to stay motivated when we feel we aren’t being successful. Success is going to look different for everyone, so it is important that we take time to decide on our goals individually. What does success look like to you? More bookings? More revenue? More engagement on social media? We need to decide on our goals and then make a plan. I’m pretty sure we can all agree that making money is important in our business, so let’s use that as an example.

Primarily, there are three ways we can increase our income. 1) make more bookings, 2) Charge fees, or 3) Increase the monetary value of bookings. The first option is going to take way more of your time, the second isn’t applicable to all agents, so let’s explore the third. Increasing the value of a booking doesn’t have to mean convincing all your value resort clients to book deluxe, that just isn’t feasible for everyone. But it could look like offering a dining plan to your clients and making sure they understand the value of it. Having dining prepaid is an excellent way for your clients to stay on budget while on vacation, they will have to eat after all.


Understanding the benefits of adding a dining plan

It has been said many times that a dining plan won’t necessarily save you money and that it may actually cost you more. That is true if you don’t fully prepare your clients for the benefits. That starts with making sure that you fully understand the benefits and how it works. I have recently seen a few posts in Facebook groups where clients didn’t follow directions or didn’t fully understand and it ended up complicating things. The first and most important part of selling a dining plan is to make sure you as the agent understand how it works and then be able to convey that to your clients. Take some time to look over all the education provided for us on DTA. Once you are familiar with the plans, decide how you will educate your clients. I recommend putting together some graphics that can be used in your client journey as well as social media.



Which of the two options makes sense for your clients

Once you are comfortable with explaining the dining plan options to your clients, it’s time to start selling! This comes with the task of matching a DDP to your clients and their travel groups. Some groups may prefer the QSDP while others really want those table-service meals. Take the time to get to know your clients and match them with the plan that makes the most sense for them. If you have high-paced clients who want to be on the move, chasing thrills their whole vacation, that table service plan probably won’t make much sense. However, a QSDP may be right up their alley. Share with them your insights and what you think will benefit them the most. 


How to prepare your clients to use their dining plan

Preparation is so important! We don’t want our clients getting to their vacation and then freezing or using their DDP in a way that doesn’t justify the cost. Back in the day, before I was in the travel industry, my family took our first full-fledged Disney trip where we stayed on property, had the QSDP, went to the parks, did all the things. (We used a travel agent by the way) Anyway, we got checked in and the CM at the counter said okay your room’s not ready yet but your dining is activated so you’re good to go on that. He handed me some papers and sent us on our way. I looked up at my husband all big eyed and flustered, I had no idea how to use this thing. We marched on into the food court and I grabbed a tray. I walked up to the waffle station and said ‘Hi, I have the dining plan, what can I get here?’ LOL. The CM let me know that I could get any meal that I wanted here. Super, awesome, love that. I got my waffles and sausage, my kiddo got his first Mickey waffles, and my husband got- I don’t remember but it was probably something boring like granola. We grabbed our mugs and we were on our way. It wasn’t until days later that we realized we weren’t getting the sides that came with the kid’s meals and weren’t using snack credits….remember when I said I used a travel agent….no need to wonder why I have gone this way in my career lol. This is why I say we MUST prepare our clients. Good preparation leads to repeat clients and referrals in the future. 

Okay…back to the dining plan. So we know that the QSDP costs $57.01 per adult per day, the kids QSDP costs $23.83 per child (ages 3-9) per day, the DDP costs $94.28 per adult per day, and the kids DDP costs $29.69 per child (ages 3-9) per day. That means our clients need to spend that much on food to justify the cost. I wouldn’t say they need to spend that much PER DAY, but they need to spend a good amount over the length of their trip. Let’s say they are doing a 5-day trip with the QSDP and the party is 2 adults, 1 child. That means their dining plan is going to be 689.25. Those refillable resort mugs are valued at $21.99 a piece ($65.97 in total). So we need to make sure our clients spend the equivalent of $623.28 throughout their trip. How easy or hard will this be? Let’s put it to the test. 

Day 1

So first let’s say on their arrival day, they don’t get on property until 4 pm. They head to their resort (let’s go with POP) and decide they want to get a snack before they freshen up and head to dinner. They head to All Things Pop. Adult 1 gets a mixed fruit cup ($5.69), Adult 2 gets a Flashback Oatmeal Creme Pie ($5.49), and Kiddo obviously gets a Mickey Cupcake Cookies ’n Cream ($6.29). After they have their snacks they head to their room to change to their Florida clothes and decide they want to check out Disney Springs. Once they arrive at Disney Springs they realize there is so much to do and see like all the live music. They know they can mobile order from certain restaurants because they have an amazing travel agent so they decide to order from D-luxe Burger straight from their phone so they don’t have to miss any of the fun around them by standing in line. A1 orders a Bacon and Blue Burger ($14.49) and a Lagunitas IPA ($12.00), A2 orders a Southern Burger ($13.99) and a mojito ($12.50), and Kiddo orders a kids cheeseburger ($8.49) and a S’mores Gelato Shake ($7.75). They spend the evening dancing around for a bit and head back to their resort to get some rest.

Day 2 

It’s our travel party’s first park day! They decided to eat granola bars they packed from home for breakfast. They head straight to the bus stop. When they arrive they start their ethereal stroll down Main Street and smell the rich, sweet smell of coffee and pastries calling to them from Main Street Bakery. A1 decides the tiny coffee from their resort room isn’t enough and needs an extra dose of caffeine a Caramel Frappuccino ($6.29) will hit the spot perfectly. A2 doesn’t want anything. Kiddo needs the Mickey-shaped Cinnamon Roll ($6.99) something fierce. They continue their stroll. They do it like the real pros and head left into Adventure Land because once again they have had excellent training by their travel agent. They ride Jungle Cruise, check out the Swiss Family Tree House, and get spit on by a camel. They decide it’s time for lunch and wouldn’t you know it, the Festival of Fantasy Parade is about to begin. They remember a tip about being able to watch the parade from Pecos Bill so they pull out their phone and start a mobile order. A1 decides on the Fajita Platter ($15.49) with a fountain drink ($4.49), A2 wants a Double Bacon Barbecue Cheeseburger ($15.49) also with a fountain drink ($4.49), and kiddo wants a Kid’s Pork Carnitas Rice Bowl ($8.49) with a fountain drink ($4.49). They aren’t wasting credits on water because their agent told them about filtered water bottles and where to find refilling stations. They have their Brita bottles in their park bags to stay hydrated. After a delicious lunch and a perfect spot in the shade to watch the parade, they make their way around Frontier Land and Liberty Square. They backtrack a bit remembering that they wanted to try DOLE Whip. They head to Sunshine Tree Terrace while placing a mobile order. A2 wants an I Lava You Float ($7.29) they decide they are nice enough to share so A1 doesn’t order anything. Kiddo gets a Powerade Mountain Berry Blast Float ($6.29). After they have indulged in their DOLE Whips, they head back to Liberty Square. They experience Haunted Mansion for the first time and decide they just have to stand in the 120-minute queue for Peter Pan’s Flight. While they stand in line they pull out their phone to decide what they will have for dinner. They choose Columbia Harbour House. A1 decides on the New England Shrimp Boil ($16.29) with a fountain drink ($4.49), A2 wants the Trio Platter ($14.29) with a fountain drink ($4.49), and kiddo picks the Fried Shrimp ($8.59) with a fountain drink ($4.49). They enjoy the rest of their Magic Kingdom day. Finishing the night with fireworks and some popcorn ($6.19)

Day 3 

Today is a perfect day for Hollywood Studios. Our travel party once again snacks on their granola bars and heads for the Skyliner. They arrive and head straight for their Genie+ reservation for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. They decide to do an early lunch at Woody’s Lunch Box before they get in line for Slinky Dog Dash. A1 picks BBQ Brisket Melt ($13.29) with a Grown-Up’s Lemonade ($14.00), A2 goes with Totchos ($10.49) with an Angry Orchard ($10.50), and kiddo goes with Turkey Sandwich ($7.79) with a Frozen Mystic Portal Punch ($5.99) to drink. They decide they must try the tarts they are seeing all over Instagram. They go with the Lemon-Blueberry Lunch Box Tart ($4.79). After checking out Hollywood Boulevard, Toy Story Land, and Sunset Boulevard; they decide they want a snack. They head over to Backlot Express and get a Wookiee Cookie ($6.79) and a side of fries ($4.99) to share. Later, they head to Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo to eat dinner. As Star Wars fans, they have all been excited to dine inside a cargo ship. A1 gets Batuuan Beef and Crispy Topato Stir-fry ($18.99) with a Takodana Quencher ($17.00) to drink, A2 gets Pirjanad Hot Chicken Tip Yip ($16.29) with a Surly Sarlacc ($15.00) to drink, and kiddo gets Fried Chicken Tip Yip Youngling Meal ($10.49) with a Moof Juice ($5.99) to drink. They spend a long time exploring Galaxy’s Edge and check out other lands and shows. Since they had an early lunch and dinner, they are feeling peckish. They visit ABC Commissary for some food before heading over to watch Fantasmic. A1 and A2 share the Shrimp Tacos ($12.99) and get a Strawberry Lemonade Slushy to drink ($6.49). Kiddo gets a Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich ($7.79) with a fountain drink ($4.49). Kiddo doesn’t finish their sandwich, but no sweat, A1 packed Ziploc bags for these instances. The sandwich is secure which is perfect because as they take their seat for Fantasmic, kiddo is absolutely starving.

If you’re keeping track…we have 9 adult QS meals left, 4 kids QS meals left, and 4 snacks left. We have spent $419.47 so far.

Day 4

Today our family is headed to Animal Kingdom. As per usual, they have their breakfast on the go. As soon as they get into Animal Kingdom they head straight for Killamanjaro Safari, they hope to hear the lion roar. After hearing the lion roar they head to the first show of the Festival of the Lion King. Once the show is over they decide to get an early lunch before the crowds take over the restaurants. They walk toward Pandora while opening the MDE app to get a mobile order going. A1 goes with an Ocean Moon Bowl ($17.99) with a margarita ($14.00) to drink, A2 gets a Combination Bowl ($17.49) with a Hawkes’ Grog Ale ($11.25) to drink, and kiddo gets the kids Cheeseburger Steamed Pod ($8.59) with a Pandorian Sunrise ($5.49) to drink. The Metkayina Mousse ($6.29) looks so cool so they decide to split it. After experiencing Pandora, they decide to head back into Africa to visit Rafiki’s Planet Watch now that it’s open. They pet animals, check out the animal hospital, and learn how to draw Eeyore. They get back on the train and decide to walk the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail. Once they make it to Asia they have walked miles and miles and decide to have a break and eat something. They come across Yak and Yeti Local Food Cafes. They aren’t super hungry so A1 and A2 share the Rib Tips ($16.99) and a fountain drink ($4.59). Kiddo gets a PB&J Uncrustable with apple juice ($8.49). They enjoy their day strolling around Animal Kingdom. When it gets to be later in the evening they decide to try Flame Tree Barbecue before heading back to the resort. A1 has the Ribs, Chicken, and Pulled Pork Sampler ($18.99) with a Bubbling Pink Lagoon with Vodka ($14.00) to drink. A2 has the Baked Macaroni & Cheese with Pulled Pork ($12.49) with a Rotten Apple ($13.00) to drink. Kiddo has the Pulled Pork Platter ($7.49) with a Tropical Breeze ($5.99) to drink. After an early-ish dinner, they head back to their resort to swim. Before they jump in the pool, they grab snacks. A1 gets a Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar ($6.29), A2 gets a Tie-dye Cheesecake ($5.99), and kiddo gets a S’mores Cookie ($6.29). After they swim awhile, A1 and A2 get hungry. They can’t pry kiddo from the pool so A1 grabs some food for the two of them. A1 gets a Chili-Cheese All Beef Foot-long Hot Dog ($14.79) and A2 gets a Greek Salad with Shrimp ($12.79). 

Day 5

Sadly, it’s check-out day. The family loads the car and then heads to Everything Pop for breakfast. With their last credits; A1 gets the Waffle Bounty Platter ($12.79), A2 gets the Loaded Totcho Bowl ($10.99), and kiddo gets Mickey-shaped Waffles ($7.59). They head home sad, yet joyous for the week that they spent creating memories together, not once thinking about how much food costs. 

Final Calculations:

This family paid $689.25. Excluding the cost of the refillable mugs, that total becomes $623.28. Adding up all the costs of food and beverages for their trip, the total is $667.84! 

Making sure your clients know how to use their dining plan to the fullest gives them the confidence to add it to a package, bumping up your commission! I hope you have enjoyed this little example, now I’m bummed and need to go do it myself! Are you going to encourage the dining plan? Let me know below and make sure to come say hi on Instagram!

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