Half of Cruise Agents Finding Leads via Social Media
Cruise sellers are using social media successfully to boost business. By interacting with current clients and prospects online, they’re finding customer leads, new bookings and new insights into customer needs and wants, according to Amadeus. More than half (54%) of North American agents actively use social media tools to generate cruise leads, according to a recent Amadeus study. Other findings: 20% of agencies that cater to passengers under the age of 45 are generating more than a third of their leads from social media. For 14% of agents, 30% of their cruise customer leads come from social media interactions. Source: ‘Likes’ to ‘Leads’: Cruise Agents, Social Media and the Impact of Emerging Technologies, Amadeus
Four Elements of Sales Success
What does it take to succeed in sales? “Commitment, desire, responsibility and outlook,” says sales consultant and author John Doerr, co-president of the RAIN Group. “Desire says: I want to achieve this. Commitment says: I’ll do anything it takes. Responsibility is: I take responsibility for my successes and my failures – it’s not the economy, not the boss, not my stupid clients. Outlook is the idea that positive outlook is a force multiplier. You can’t go into sales feeling down. It’s too much of a full contact sport. You’re going to get knocked down. If you have a positive outlook you’ll pick yourself up and keep going.”
Ensemble’s Lesson in Giving
Ensemble Travel Group gave 17 young boys from an orphanage in the Dominican Republic the time of their lives last month when agents and staff convened in Punta Cana for a meeting of Ensemble’s national marketing/luxury advisory committee. “We of course wanted to go to the orphanage and paint a wall or plant a garden,” said Ensemble’s Suzanne Hall, who spearheaded the give-back initiative. But her local contact said the boys rarely get to leave the orphanage. “She said what’s really going to make them happy is going to a Wendy’s, which they’d only been to once before, then taking them to this animal park. So we put ourselves out of the equation and thought of the boys,” said Hall, Ensemble’s senior director of marketing and development/land products. Ensemble participants each donated a care package containing clothes, bed linens and towels for a boy; Fairmont Hotels & Resorts donated 17 pairs of Adidas sneakers, and a supplier shipped three large boxes of goods at no charge. The group also donated a washing machine and dryer, small kitchen appliances, games and other needed items. At Wendy’s, the Ensemble group met the bus carrying the boys, each clad in their new clothes. “Everyone was jumping up and down and cheering. It’s a moment I will never forget,” Hall said. Ensemble plans more give-back initiatives at upcoming conferences.
CLIA’s Duffy: Industry Needs to Tell Its Story
“One can argue that the Internet, with its lack of accountability and overwhelming amount of information, is not the best way to make a major purchase. While the Internet is a great tool for research and helps narrow down your options, the case can easily be made that the most prudent and savvy way to book your vacation is with the expertise of a trusted travel agent. I think the opportunity is for the industry to do a much better job of telling that story to consumers.” – Christine Duffy, President and CEO, CLIA
How Rebating Bites Back
“If you rebate a lot of the commission, there’s not enough commission left to operate the company in a way that enables that agency to attract and retain top talent. You can’t represent the many lines and ships well and accurately if you don’t have competent agents. The more you pay them, the better agents you get. This is a very complex business now. To understand and keep up with every hardware advance, every promotion, every policy – it’s difficult to do unless you’re a solid, competent agent. Because of rebating, agencies don’t have enough left to pay agents to attract the kind of agent that is good for the industry.” – Emerson Hankamer, President & COO, Vacations To Go, Houston
This Daily Sales Tip Comes Highly Recommended
Here’s a recommendation from Royal Caribbean International’s Vicki L. Freed, CTC. Go to www.MakingTheNumbers.com and sign up for its free sales tip of the day. “It’s phenomenal and it’s complimentary. I’ve been turning a lot of agents onto this. More times than not, this guy’s got it right,” said Freed, senior vice president, sales and trade support and services.
The Insect Analogy
“Travel agents are like cockroaches. We’ve been around for millions of years, and we’ll be around forever.” – Blake Fleetwood, owner, Cooktravel.net, specialist, discount business class travel
Portland Agency Is First Responder
Azumano Travel / American Express, in Portland, Ore., has taken it upon itself to respond to destinations in crisis. The agency made national headlines after 9/11, when it brought 900 people on its Flight for Freedom to New York in October 2011. In 2004, after a tsunami hit Southeast Asia, Azumano Travel organized a trip to Thailand for industry executives. It did the same in 2005, bringing industry members to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. More recently, agency president Sho Dozono escorted a group of 88 Americans on a voluntourism project to a region in Japan heavily damaged by this year’s tsunami. Azumano Travel seems to have developed something of a specialty in jumpstarting travel to areas devastated by calamities, Dozono told Travel Market Report.
For Agents, It Takes Courage to Hold the Line
“My chest tightens when I think about how hard it is when somebody says, ‘What are you going to give me?’ to hold the line and say, ‘This is the best deal, and better than that, you’ve got me. I’m confident that if you go with me, your family will have a great time.’ But you’ve got to have that courage.” – Brad Anderson, co-president, Avoya Travel / American Express
Dori Saltzman and Nick Verrastro contributed to this report.