Circumstances change. Travel consulting is one of a number of businesses which has radically evolved from the pre-internet days. In the early 1990’s travel agents essentially held the keys to the kingdom. The GDS systems were the sole domain of the profession and the general public viewed travel and foreign destinations as something of an exotic mystery. Now, every high school student can look up an airfare.
Yet, the best travel professionals weathered the changes and demonstrated the flexibility necessary Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Agent Perspectives
This is part 3 of a 7 part series by Terry Denton.
Part 2: Ask for referrals on every sale
Master the art of upselling
One theme that runs through several of these steps to super sales, including last week’s, is that there is usually more than one opportunity to apply them in the sales process. As you will see, that is true here.
With the advent of the Internet, the customer is very likely to have done some research and have a broad idea of what they are looking for. They may even seemingly have more knowledge than you. Upselling is simply the process of suggesting compelling reasons why the customer might want to expand their horizons a bit. And that is where your expertise comes into play. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Support@
I have been very lucky to be with a company for 19 years as the Business Development Manager in one territory. Through the years the territory has gotten bigger and smaller, and we have adjusted to the nature of the travel industry. It is amazing to see how our industry has changed. I remember years ago when our business was based on brick and mortar store fronts. I could travel to a city and spend a week just in that city and surroundings, simply by calling on the many store fronts. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Deck Plans
I recently asked one of the world’s leading authorities on cruise ships if he would recommend a few aspirational ships for avid cruisers who have “been there, done that.” Douglas Ward is the author of Berlitz Cruising and Cruise Ships. With more than 45 years of experience and spending some 200 days a year aboard cruise ships, Doug evaluates ship facilities, inspecting each like a maritime Sherlock Holmes. Facilities count, of course but just as important are the standards of food, service, staff and hospitality. In his quest, no stone is left unturned, from the fluffiness of the towels to the quality of the china, and from the welcome aboard to the disembarkation process. He is also a lover of gins, and I happen to know that Monkey 47 is his favorite. Thanks to Monty Python for inspiring the title of this post. Read the rest of this entry »
Earlier this week, I addressed the need to be persistent. It is important, however, to apply your persistence correctly. After all, we don’t want to be persistent in our bad habits or persistent in our mistakes. Once our study of marketing, sales and customer service reveals what works for our travel practice, there are two additional aspects that we need to consider. Marketing must be both consistent and constant.
Consistency pivots on the concept of your brand. In each instance where a the public comes into contact with your company, the message they perceive must be the same. Whether they are meeting you in person, looking at your web site, reading your tweets or viewing an advertisement you have created, Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Supplier Profile
2014 marks 45 years of trusted and reliable service by Homeric Tours. Since the founding in 1969, Homeric Tours has been providing travelers with memorable travel experiences to Mediterranean destinations. What started as a provider of packaged tours to Greece has over time expanded to offer fixed and flexible travel arrangements to a variety of locales. The travel industry has gone through many dramatic changes over the years, and Homeric has resultantly changed with the times. However, Homeric has remained true to the founding principles of providing value and service unmatched elsewhere. Read the rest of this entry »
OK. I know the title sounds like I am trying to squeeze two topics into today’s column. But passion by itself can be misunderstood as a mere enthusiasm for travel. Your passion for travel brought you into the travel business. But it won’t keep you there. Instead, it’s your passion for helping others to travel that will give you the long term satisfaction necessary to keeping you happy in your profession of choice: travel consulting.
Once you realize that your mission is about helping others to travel, your travel practice becomes truly client-centric. You quit thinking with your own set of preferences and, importantly, you quit thinking with your own set of criteria about terms like “fun”, “luxury”, “cost” and “value”. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Point-to-Point
Every year, international visitors to the United States contribute more than $130 billion to the US economy. In addition, over one million US jobs directly depend on inbound tourism. However, foreign visitors are now re-thinking their US vacations and business trips.
According to the Internal Revenue Service (Pub. 519), any visitor spending a total of more than 31 days in the United States in the current year may now be required to file with the IRS. The filing is designed to prove that they have no further US tax obligations. In other words, they have to file with the IRS in order to prove that they don’t have to file! Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Outposts
Celebrated for its immense diversity, Turkey is a European country that offers travelers rich culture and history, scenic beauty and delectable cuisine. From the buzzing bazaars to the idyllic mountain ranges, Turkey is a unique European gem.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: 60-Second Geography
The Czech Republic, or the Land of Stories, is a mystical and entrancing place tucked away with beauty and culture as vast as the history behind it. From the romantic and charming streets of Prague to the grand castle of Český Krumlov, this part of the world has managed to maintain its spectacular renaissance magic.
Read the rest of this entry »
Great travel consultants are action heroes. The best don’t wait for events to happen to them, they make things happen. True travel professionals actively market according to a plan, they proactively service their clients and they anticipate bumps in the road.
Too many times we over-plan and over-perfect and in the process lose valuable opportunities to others who are quicker to act. Advice like this can be easily misunderstood. Certain essentials have to be in place prior to marketing. Don’t throw out your business plans and your careful research. But also do not let those things become excuses for not moving quickly and decisively. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Travel Agent Diaries
It’s been almost two full months since our agency migrated from American Express Travel Network to Travel Leaders. It’s all a little less confusing and the referrals to us from American Express finally stopped after six weeks! They were still sending people to us even though we were no longer associated with American Express and had been removed from their main websites.
We’ve been doing an awful lot of training with Travel Leaders – at least one webinar a week has helped us all to be less anxious about the change. Read the rest of this entry »
The travel professionals I most admire are brave individuals. Each time they prepare an itinerary, they do so knowing their clients are searching and researching alongside, seeking to uncover a program a few dollars cheaper. With each recommendation, the travel professional puts themselves on the line. Every marketing effort is launched in an environment where the death of the travel professional has taken on an almost mythological scale.
Be brave in your travel practice. Fear, and its little buddy Worry, stand in the way of your success. Humans worry about things that have not, and may not ever, come to pass. You will find fear and worry to be of little use to you in your travel planning practice. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Editorial Musings
Would you respond to an accountant with an email email@example.com? How about a doctor with firstname.lastname@example.org? Perhaps a criminal defense lawyer—email@example.com? Didn’t think so! If I asked why, I am guessing that their email did not portray the level of professionalism you would normally expect. So why do we hold ourselves to a different standard?
While we have discussed the free email versus the owned domain email address thing several times on TRO; lately I have been seeing travel agents inserting a “middle name” into their Facebook profiles–John TheTravelGuy Frenaye, John TravelingDude Frenaye, and I have three words Read the rest of this entry »
Deep within most people is the capacity to inherently understand when a company mirrors their own values. People look for empathy, for a travel planner than has the capacity to best understand their own situation, to honestly assist them in making a buying decision. Great travel consultants think from a client-centric point of view. The emotion such a travel planner seeks most to elicit is trust. That’s why all of the agent’s collateral, demeanor, choices and presentations have to exude a client-centric perspective. Empathy combined with confidence, with a bit of personality thrown in, equals trust. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Agent Perspectives
This is part 2 of a 7 part series by Terry Denton.
Ask For Referrals On Every Sale
Would you like more customers? (If the answer is no, we should probably have a chat!) Here is a simple way. Ask for them. Actually, to be more precise, you should always ask twice. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Deck Plans
It was a great trip, cruising from Bali to Singapore on the luxury vessel Silver Shadow. No matter how hard the day — hot and humid weather, bumpy roads, heavy traffic in under-developed Indonesia — those of us traveling with Silversea were well taken care of ashore. We returned afternoons and evenings to our luxury boutique floating hotel with its four restaurants, spa & fitness facilities, pool, and let’s get right to it, complimentary champagne, as well as wine, beer and spirits. Read the rest of this entry »
How well do your clients understand what you do? The fact is, most of the public operates with a set of misperceptions about travel agents. Consumers, by and large, do not understand the distribution chain, the commission system or the role of the travel agent. This is, of course, the fault of our own industry for failing to properly educate the public on the value of the travel agent. Most consumers view travel agents more as a retail outlet for travel product than a service. As a result, they enter into the relationship with a new travel agent in the same way they might with Wal-Mart. In the context of a retail relationship, the burden is almost completely that of the retailer. The consumer is completely free to bargain, to ask for the retailer to “beat this price”, to research the retailer and go elsewhere. The relationship is one sided in favor of the consumer and almost entirely price-driven. Sound familiar? Read the rest of this entry »
Consumers look for authentic products and services that deliver on promises. It really is that simple. Except travel professionals sometimes promise the wrong things. They promise the lowest prices. They promise hassle-free travel. They promise across the board expertise. Sometimes the promises are implicit rather than explicit, but the travel agency either intentionally or by omission sets the expectations of the client. To the extent that those promises are met, the client is happy and the agency’s brand is secure. When the travel agency makes the wrong promises, however, reality falls short of expectations and problems ensue. The client does not perceive the travel agent as authentically representing their services. Read the rest of this entry »