Agent secures huge group booking after keeping WhatsApp lead warm for two years

By Linsey McNeill
Home » Agent secures huge group booking after keeping WhatsApp lead warm for two years

Not Just Travel agent Illesh Amlani thought he’d lost a booking for a group of 38 in April  2020 when the holiday was cancelled as the UK went into lockdown.

All of the passengers requested refunds, and he thought that was the last he would hear from them.

But Leicester-based Illesh remained part of the Whatsapp group set up to communicate with all the passengers, occasionally sending them greetings such as ‘Merry Christmas’ and ‘Happy New Year’.

And last month, he was approached by the group to re-arrange the trip to the same all-inclusive hotel in Izmir in Turkey, but this time for a total of 102 people.

The trip, which includes several generations of people from various locations around the UK, has boosted Illesh’s takings by around £65,000 to £70,000 this year.

Not only that, but several members of the group, who were previously unknown to him, have gone on to book other trips, including a party of four to Mauritius and eight to Tenerife.

Others have asked for quotes for holidays to the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Egypt.

“It’s become almost a full-time job managing requests just from this one Whatsapp group but it shows the value of keeping your leads warm,” said Illesh, a restaurateur who joined NJT in 2017.

“I lost 98% of my business during the pandemic, almost all my clients cancelled and asked for refunds, and my restaurant had to close down, it was a terrible time.

“But things are looking up now. I’m back working full time in travel, while my wife Rinx is running the restaurant that we reopened in another location.”

The pair plan to travel to London Stansted Airport to wave off their group to Turkey and make sure the departure goes smoothly.

“I’ve even printed out personal lanyards for them all to make it easier for them to recognise each other since some of them have never met before,” added Illesh, “and then we’re going to hit the bar at the Radisson!”

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