Being a travel agent is a demanding profession and not suitable for those with a procrastinating nature. The importance of your work cannot be understated as individuals who come to you will be spending thousands or perhaps tens of thousands of their hard-earned dollars and days or weeks of their time trusting that you have done your work to ensure they get the greatest satisfaction. Not only can doing a poor job reflect poorly on your business and drive you out of the market entirely, but if you do not meet certain legal requirements in the contract that you signed with the customers, you could find yourself in legal trouble as well. So what are the top five mistakes travel agents make and how can you avoid them?
1 – Not educating yourself
Learning how to avoid mistakes begins with learning how to be better travel agents – and this begins with learning itself. Educating yourself on the ins and outs of the travel agency will be crucial to any successful travel agent’s career. You need to have all of your business ducks in a row before you can possibly hope to begin to organize significant portions of other people’s lives – especially when they’re traveling abroad. Having all the start-up paperwork done, learning how the industry works and ideally getting trained from professionals can save you time, effort and anguish by teaching you how to avoid common mistakes travel agents make in the industry. Educating yourself is the first step in how to be a better travel agent.
2 – Have a passive business style
Another one of the big mistakes travel agents make is a passive style of advertisement or non-advertisement. If you wait for clients to come to you, not only are you wrong but you will not be in business for very long. Most clients will not seek you out – you must convince your clients or prospective clients that you are worthy of their time and their money. In this modern day and age with self-booking tools and other travel assistance available for free at the touch of a computer key or phone, you have to convince an unwilling public why the presumed archaic institution of travel agents is still relevant in the 21st century. You need to offer them a personalization and a human touch that they cannot get from technology alone when they travel abroad. You are not just travel agents to them; once you successfully sell yourself, you are travel solutions incarnate.
3 – Going solo
Your rationale may go something like this, “I’m a small business, I’m working for myself and I won’t have to split any profits if I do all these things by myself.” However, you have no idea how deeply flawed your logic is even for a brand new travel agency. For starters, attempting to go solo in this competitive market puts you at a significant market disadvantage. Think of all the people you know who use travel agents. Now think: would they trust the travel agents who they have already used previously who have delivered exceptional quality and travel solutions? Or will they use you who has shown no experience and has just started? If your own friends and family would be concerned about using you, how much more so total strangers? This is not a reflection on your competency but rather your experience. If you really want to get into the industry and know how to be a better travel agent, then you need to spend a time of service working for a related industry or as part of a travel agency organization. In working with an organization, you not only gain experience but name recognition. You learn how you could operate and build a name for yourself in the industry. In the future, when clients are looking for the ideal getaway, they will want to come to you. Going solo right out of the chute is a recipe for failure.
4 – Not being available
This is probably one of the greatest travel agent sins there is. If you are not available to your client whenever they need you, then not only have you put your business at a significant disadvantage, but you have put your own client at a disadvantage as well. As travel agents, when they need you they really need you. If your clients are abroad and suddenly they find something is amiss or something has gone wrong in their travel plans, they will immediately want to contact you to determine what has happened. If you are unavailable due to time differences or other considerations, your clients are up a creek without a paddle in a foreign river. This is where Travelport Mobile Agent can come to assist. Travelport Mobile Agent is an exceptional tool used by professionals throughout the industry that allows travel agents to serve their clients even when they are personally unavailable to do so. It would be impossible for you to be awake and available at all hours of the day and night to meet every need from every client who is traveling. They may call you while you are at dinner, while you are in conference with another client or while you are trying to enjoy your valuable hours of sleep. But with Travelport Mobile Agent, all the questions, concerns and problems from your clients can be addressed through your smartphone or tablet wherever you are. It’s a perfect travel solution for how to be always available to serve your client.
5 – Not triple check everything
Probably the most important tip on this list is to triple-check everything. You have no idea how easy it can be to mistake a single-digit, especially when you’ve been looking at numbers, pricing, fares and other things all day. However, that one digit might be the difference between an AM flight or a PM flight. It could be the difference between making a flight and missing a flight. It can be the difference between the incoming flight coming into one airport and the outgoing flight departing from another. It is your responsibility to triple-check everything! A single mistake can ruin an entire trip for your client. They will not remember all the nice things you did for them – they are most likely to remember the giant mix-up and how much of an inconvenience it was.
If you follow these simple tips, you will be a travel agent whom your clients will return to again and again when they are looking for adventure.
For more information about Travelport Mobile Agent visit tma.tts.com.
Check out the Slideshare presentation: