I actually do not have a storefront but work out of a home office and as such have a much lower overhead. I am also not in a necessarily exclusive community either. However in every networking event and Rotary meeting I attended when first starting out I put myself out as an expert and as a fee based cruise consultant.
I can run this business and have from around the world with an internet connection and a magic jack. I have had a few clients who took lower end sailings just because they love to cruise and had the time to get away. However it is not the business I am seeking.
How many times have you or any agent reading this presented a quote to a client to have them not return you call or email? Have you ever looked at your commission and then looked at how much time you REALLY spent on that booking? Whether it takes you hours or minutes does not matter, those are the results that your clients are paying for.
Having a fee saves you time because you are no longer dealing with calls or emails that do not get returned. There are two types of people in the world, those that you can help and those you cannot. I concentrate on those that I can help and I do charge for it.
And believe it or not, I do give away a lot of information through social media and blogs because I do believe you have to give before you get. However in any business, you will be taken advantage of if you give everything away for free.
At my point in my life, I am not auditioning to be anyone's travel agent.