What are some keys to being a successful travel agent? You may be looking for an agent or you may be in training to become one and want to know some tools of the trade. In either case, the same rules apply to both. You might have even heard that travel agents are a thing of the past but nothing could be further from the truth.
What are successful travel agents’ habits?
Travel agents’ success is due in large part to a resurgence in business from the millennial generation. While it is true we can all use self-booking sites, there is a social aspect to a travel agent that many young travelers find appealing. For starters, it is nice to have someone else do the research into potential destinations for you. Maybe your travel agent has already gone there himself and can give you a first-hand account of the area. It is this personal touch as well as having someone be a personal advocate that young people find attractive when deciding to book with a travel agent over self-booking.
This is the 21st century and the days of a travel agent merely being behind the desk while describing exotic places to clients are in the past. Being mobile lets travel agents do more in more places. For instance, as a travel agent you can meet a customer at his favorite coffee shop and discuss travel plans. You can even set up, reserve, and book his trip all from your tablet with apps like Travelport Mobile Agent.
This greater flexibility will make your life as an agent much easier because you can meet customers on their terms. Maybe they don’t have a car or just can’t get to your office during so-called normal business hours, but with your mobile ability, you can still work with them if either you or they need something unique. It is this willingness to embrace flexibility that is a defining feature of successful travel agents.
Another key factor in your travel agents’ success and something you should always consider is how well you can use your own time. Think about it from your client’s standpoint: if an agent is not very good at managing his own time or his own information then why should you assume they will be more careful with your schedule or information? Nothing puts a damper on a trip like an agent who planned your trip or vacation in a haphazard way.
So how can an agent get more organized, save time, and master self-management? A big key will be if you are using analytic software like Agentivity. These programs do a lot of your traditional work for you by constantly going through data to present reports, savings, and other tasks. Another plus is that if you know how to use these tools, you will be more proficient with similar analytic tools that can help save your customers money as well.
Outside the box thinking
Your client may be looking at a trip traveling from point A to point B and thinking the only way to get there is by plane or a rental car. However successful travel agents know that you need a wider variety of options to make good travel choices. This is where you as a travel agent can really shine. By offering your customers different packages than traditional ones, it allows you to be more competitive.
For instance, your customer may be thinking of travelling by plane and the ticket is $200, but you come along and offer your customer a non-traditional option like a train with a price of $100 for the ticket. By having the ability to offer these kinds of outside the box plans and options, it allows travel agents to be more competitive. So don’t be scared to offer these packages since a lot of customers, particularly millennials, prefer the road less traveled anyway.
You might have a small travel agency and be thinking that it is harder to compete than if you were part of a bigger group, but that’s simply not true. Always present yourself as a tried and true professional. Take as much pride in your office of four as others do in offices of fifty.
Also, don’t give in to the lie that if you’re not big you can’t leverage the same deals as your larger competitor. With solutions like TTS Consolidator, agents who are not accredited with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) can still offer the same affordable rates and prices as their much larger accredited counterparts. Just because a travel agency is small doesn’t mean that you don’t have the tools or the ability to save your customers money or compete with bigger firms.
Focus on being a travel agent
Perhaps you want to grow your agency, or are planning an ad campaign, or updating your profiles but the fact is the more time you spend working on your business, the less time you are working in it. Customers want an agent who is dedicated to them, not thinking about their vacation package one moment and planning a marketing strategy the next.
A major tool for travel agents’ success is if you know how to farm out your branding work to others so you can do the most important job of being a travel agent, namely helping your customer get where they are going. How can you do this? One way is through solutions like TTS Corporate Managed Services.
TTS Corporate Managed Services is a branding and marketing solution geared directly towards travel agents: they will make a company profile, update users, help with your branding, and do some of your marketing for you. It also saves you money as it enables you to not have to take time away from helping customers while your marketing is being done.
Tools like those offered by TTS make it possible for you to grow your agency and still serve your customers every day. They make it possible for you to become a successful travel agent, too.
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