“When I was 18, Sabre training was thousands of dollars, so as a young person, that was not something I was financially prepared to do,” said Leneiva Head.
After having a lifelong dream of being a travel agent, she’s finally making it a reality, three decades later. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Head joined InteleTravel as an independent travel agent over a year ago to pursue what she loves.
“My real estate firm is doing very well and has allowed me to fund my legal education debt-free. I'm entering my last year of law school. I believe in setting goals and rewarding myself when I reach them. These two accomplishments deserve to be rewarded so I'm giving myself something I've wanted for a long time – a travel agency,” Head told Travel Market Report.
Head has learned a lot about the art of selling during her 30 years as a successful realtor. She’s taking the skills she’s learned in customer service, business development, training, and consulting to transition into building an agency.
“My real estate business was built on referrals. My desire is to grow my travel business the same way,” Head said, adding that she will also utilize social media because it’s an easy way to share information and pictures with a large group of friends at one time, tapping into her circle of previous clients and business associates.
Primarily selling cruises, Head is a member of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and has obtained certifications on various cruise lines. One of her biggest priorities is staying on top of cutting-edge information in order to protect, service and educate her clients to the best of her ability.
Educating clients, charging a service fee
“What I pride myself in doing is explaining and education,” Head noted. “Traveling is a lot of fun, but it’s a big deal. It’s a lot of money, and there are a lot of things you need to know before you go.”
Education doesn’t begin and end with her clients. “I’m a product of my product,” she said, and she goes on fams and uses CLIA’s virtual ship tours to get a first-hand look at the cruise ships she’s selling. She’s also going to Galveston to get a tour of the Princess ships and see what new products are coming.
“They give us a lot of education so I can be confident speaking to a client,” Head said. After all, “Part of the reason I got into this is because of all the nuances and all those other details you don’t get going it alone.”
Another key to her newfound success is charging for the value she is bringing to her clients. “Typically, I’m booking travel for you, there’s a service fee, but it’s in the price you’re quoted, just like if you’re using a big price service. It’s important to know what product you’re getting. Transparency is important.”
Suggest travel insurance
Another hallmark of her business has been to always recommend travel insurance. “It’s a lot bigger than finding your lost luggage,” she added. “If you’re spending $4,000 on a trip and trip insurance is $70, it’s going to cover all kinds of things people don’t think about. You don’t lose all your money. It’s really worth it. I try to tell them we’re going to get you travel insurance and why, and they say okay. I haven’t had anyone say no, because I explain it.
“I have a desire to help people successfully navigate the unknown.” And with her new business off the ground and running, Head is doing just that.