How to Go From Being a Good Travel Advisor to Being a Great One

by Jessica Montevago
How to Go From Being a Good Travel Advisor to Being a Great One

Scott Koepf addressing attendees at Travel MarketPlace West in Vancouver. Photo by: Dan Galbraith


“We all want to do a good job, but most aren’t willing to take the extra steps to become great, because it’s harder,” said Scott Koepf, newly appointed vice president of strategic development at Cruise Planners, speaking to a packed room of travel agents at the Travel MarketPlace conference last week in Vancouver. 

“We have a whole bunch of good travel agents, but good is not good enough anymore to the consumer. They want something magical, and memorable, which requires for you to be great.”

For travel agents who are willing to put in the time and work, Koepf outlined a plan – similar to what he experienced on the football field some years ago.

1. First off, think about your first interaction with the consumer. You have one opportunity to prove yourself, Koepf says, similar to the quarterback at recess, who had one shot to make a good pass, before the ball was turned over to someone else.

“In today’s world you have to tell people why they should do business with you, have to tell them why you are extraordinary, in the first two sentences.” Koepf suggests crafting a message for your phone calls, and it has to be different and tell people right up front "this is why you should book with me."

2. The next step is to analyze what you’re doing, like the team would examine their failed plays. Ask yourself, are you doing as well as you want to? And if not, then why? The answer will be different for everyone, but it’s important to take the look inward and acknowledge where improvements can be made
 
3. Once you determine that, you can create a plan. “Activity and effort do not guarantee success. You have to plan. People think if you’re busy you’re successful, but you should strive for balance.
 
4. It’s also important to recognize your strengths and utilize them to differentiate yourself, just like a linebacker focuses on his strength rather than his speed. So, while selling to the Millennial or luxury market might seem tempting, ask yourself which customer are you most comfortable with
 
5. In the final stretch of the game – or sale – you have to make sure you’re doing everything possible for each and every customer. Koepf says travel agents should earn their “no.” Follow up with consumers repeatedly, and don’t be afraid to be labeled annoying. “Worst comes to worst, they tell you they’re not interested, and at least then you know you’ve earned your 'no.'
 
The number one reason agents say a potential client didn’t work out is because they never heard back from them – but that’s not their job, Koepf notes. Put in all your effort
 
6. A sometimes forgotten factor, don’t underestimate the importance of a support team. “Is there someone there to support your endeavor of travel? You need at least one person who says they are behind you.
 
7. “Everyone on the field just wants to play, but you have to practice,” Koepf said, so take the time to script out your first phone call with a consumer and make a checklist
 
“In our business, it’s relatively easy to get into, but it’s not easy to be successful. Just like on the field, does everyone really play? If you want to be a successful player in the industry, it takes a whole different skill set. Getting in the game is easy, but being great at the game isn’t. You have to work at it.”
  0
  0
Tip of the Day
The professional travel advisor’s job is to equip the traveler with the necessary information to enable a good decision that will reflect that person’s own risk tolerance.
 
Paul Ruden
Daily Top List

Most Powerful Passports in the World

1. United Arab Emirates

2. Singapore

3. Germany

4. Denmark

5. Sweden

Source: Passport Index

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
House Calls Are Trending, Travel Agents Say
House Calls Are Trending, Travel Agents Say

With more travel advisors working from home, going to the client’s home is a natural and successful next step, especially in the luxury and destination-wedding markets.

Headquarter Happenings: Cruise Planners Celebrates 25 Years of Success
Headquarter Happenings: Cruise Planners Celebrates 25 Years of Success

The travel agency franchise network bought in early to the home-based business model, and is now passing those benefits onto travel professionals.

‘Boundless Selling’: Seven Reasons to Return to the Same Destination
‘Boundless Selling’: Seven Reasons to Return to the Same Destination

This selling tactic helps travel advisors create unlimited opportunities for clients to have that new-destination feeling on return visits to familiar destinations.

Cruise Execs Share Their Best Sales Tips with Agents
Cruise Execs Share Their Best Sales Tips with Agents

Whether travel advisors use social media or participate in local community groups to find customers, it’s all about making a human connection that inspires trust.

Headquarter Happenings: Signature Urges Advisors to Double Down on Being a Unique Travel Resource
Headquarter Happenings: Signature Urges Advisors to Double Down on Being a Unique Travel Resource

When considering everything, from their brand promise to building supplier relationships, advisors are encouraged to follow their hearts to create a unique brand.

Tips to Develop Your Media Presence and Drive New Sales Leads
Tips to Develop Your Media Presence and Drive New Sales Leads

One Phoenix-based travel advisor is driving new sales leads by leveraging her journalism background and local television contacts.

News Briefs
TMR Report Cards & Outlooks
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: Tauck