Seven Ways To 'BE' My Travel Agent

by Steve Gillick
Seven Ways To 'BE' My Travel Agent


Scene: June 25, 2002, Seoul, South Korea. From my room at the downtown Lotte Hotel, I see thousands of fans of the local football team occupying the roads, sidewalks and plazas to watch the FIFA semi-final on large screens set up throughout the city, as the Reds took on Germany. The sea of red shirts, each emblazoned with “Be the Reds,” took on the meaning of not only supporting the national team but actually “becoming” one of the team members and empathizing with their determination and energy to win the match. In the end the Reds lost, but the supporters were still proud that they had done everything humanly possible to support them. Each person WAS one of the Reds.

A lesson from the theme of “being” can be applied to travel career enhancement. Here are Seven Ways to “Be.”

1. Be an active ingredient.
You are an active ingredient in selling travel products and services and therefore the more you network with your peers and engage with current events, exchange rates, new products, up-and-coming trends, client expectations, even the way that travel products are marketed and advertised to your clients, the better equipped you will be to advise, counsel and facilitate meaningful travel experiences that have “value” written all over them.

2. Be the consummate travel advisor.
This is not one of those motherhood statements, but it actually implies that everything you think, eat, and breathe, deals with travel. It means that YOU are inseparable from travel. There is no such thing as holiday from travel or a personal vacation. Every restaurant you visit, every movie you see, every television program you watch relates to travel. The questions that keep popping into your head when you travel are, “I wonder if my clients would be interested in this?” and “Can I please have your business card?” for future dealings with the supplier or attraction

3. Be a P.D. junkie.
It’s no secret that the more you learn in the travel industry, the more you earn in satisfaction, client interaction, self-fulfillment, confidence and yes, even money, through sales and commissions. Being a Professional Development Junkie means that you set a goal to attend X webinars or seminars or online courses or conferences over the course of the year. You are confident enough in your skills to know that continuing education is crucial to your career growth.

4. Be customer service.
Make an effort to exceed the client’s expectations of the service they receive. Even if they decide not to travel, they will remember your courtesy, your penchant for returning calls on a timely basis and not keeping them on hold, and your helpful attitude and responses to their questions. Distinguish yourself through people-positive actions on a 24/7 basis, on the phone, social media, the internet, correspondence and in person.

5. Be Trip Advisor.
Your travel experience differentiates you from everyone else selling travel, and the notes you took about the hotel or resort, the tours available, the attractions, shopping, special interests (niche markets), food and activities means that YOU are in the best position to ascertain whether they match the interests of your clients. Your actual experience at the destination is an invaluable aid in assisting your clients in maximizing the enjoyment of their travels.

6. Be Google.
You are the resource person for travel and you would never tell a client to “go look it up yourself”. Best place to buy leather gloves in Rome? Best pupusas in San Salvador? Where to rent bicycles in Hoi An? This is the “gold” you offer your clients. Send them the links that will connect them to the destination and to travel bliss.

7. Be proactive.
Use your client database to market dreams and ideas to your clients. Keep your eyes open for specials that respond to their general and specific interests. Birding in Cuba? Cruising the Mekong? Shopping in Hong Kong? Festivals in Ulan Bator? A quick note that says “Hi Jane and Bill. I saw this and thought you may be interested. Shall I send more details?”

“Being” the travel profession is very different from just working at a job in the travel industry. It’s something that emanates from you to the client through positive body language, enthusiasm, thoroughness and a genuine desire to ensure that every travel experience speaks “value.”

  15
  3
Tip of the Day
Daily Top List

Best New York Pizzerias According to Reviews

1. SottoCasa Pizzeria

2. Song’ e Napule Pizzeria

3. Juliana’s Pizza

4. Numero 28 Pizzeria

5. San Matteo Pizza Espresso Bar

Source: TripAdvisor

TMR THIS WEEK
http://services.travelsavers.com/AMGService.svc/REST/GetImage?ImageID=dab35eef-ff9e-e811-853f-782bcb667b27

FOMO Strikes Again! Yep, They Booked It Without You

Should you resist the temptation to unfriend or confront them? Hear the advice of agents who have been there and know how best to handle these unfortunate, but all-too-common scenarios.

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Millennials Seek Safety and Convenience for Family Vacations
Millennials Seek Safety and Convenience for Family Vacations

The search for simplification leads one out of three Millennials with children to work with a travel agent to plan their vacation.

How to Become a Travel Agent: A Guide for the Perplexed
How to Become a Travel Agent: A Guide for the Perplexed

Selling travel is not all about free trips — but the hard work can pay off in a career that is rich in adventure and personal relationships, if you start off right.

ASTA Rebrands and Reorganizes, Drawing NACTA and Smaller Members in Closer
ASTA Rebrands and Reorganizes, Drawing NACTA and Smaller Members in Closer

The NACTA name will go away as members are folded more into the mainstream of its parent organization, and ASTA rebrands from “Agents” to “Advisors.”

For Special Needs Travelers, Travel Agents Can Make All the Difference
For Special Needs Travelers, Travel Agents Can Make All the Difference

Accessible travel is on track to soon account for 25 percent of the overall travel market, as aging Baby Boomers with disabilities retire — and they have the desire and the money to travel.

From Retainers to Hourly Billing, Two Travel Agents Outline Fee Models
From Retainers to Hourly Billing, Two Travel Agents Outline Fee Models

Some are just beginning to charge fees, while young professionals like Kathleen Sullivan say an annual retainer, covering all of a client’s trips for 12 months, are the key to the future for travel agents.

Abercrombie & Kent Introduces Three New Itineraries for 2019
Abercrombie & Kent Introduces Three New Itineraries for 2019

The tour operator's new Small Group Journeys were created for intimate groups of no more than 18 guests and cater to luxury travelers’ desire for cultural immersion and insider access.

News Briefs
TMR Report Cards
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: Norwegian Cruise Line