In light of the recent press coverage on illness and disease associated with traveling abroad, here are a few helpful tips you may wish to pass along to your clients:
The simple advice in the title of this article says it all. Food-and water-related illnesses are some of the most common ailments experienced by travelers. In many instances, the foods or preparation thereof is different that what we’re used to at home, even if the dish is something familiar (eggs, for example). In addition, encourage travelers to stay in good-quality accommodations where the drinking water is safe. When they venture out to explore, the availability of bottled or purified water is essential.
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My earlier article Booking Travel Through Consolidators generated quite a buzz amongst agents and consolidators alike, and I had the opportunity to converse with many of you one-on-one. In the weeks that ensued, it became apparent to me that the article had opened up a dialogue with many questions that should be addressed.
My intent in this follow-up article is to present some of the questions that were most often asked of me, in the hopes that it inspires interest, learning, discussion, collaboration, and profitability in the travel agent and consolidator communities. As with many things in the travel industry, I must stress at the outset that there are no hard-and-fast answers to any question; it all depends on each individual situation. Read the rest of this entry »
Earlier this year, my article Booking Travel Through Consolidators generated quite a buzz amongst agents and consolidators alike, and I had the opportunity to converse with many of you one-on-one. In the weeks that ensued, it became apparent to me that the article had opened up a dialogue with many questions that should be addressed.
My intent in this follow-up article is to present some of the questions that were most often asked of me, in the hopes that it inspires interest, learning, discussion, collaboration, and profitability in the travel agent Read the rest of this entry »
Culinary travel is an emerging trend amongst ardent travelers and food and wine lovers alike. What exactly does the term “culinary travel” bring to mind? As with any type of specialty travel, the variety of trips that could fall into the culinary travel category are endless: a weekend getaway visit to the Lobster Festival in Maine; a wine connoisseurs’ cruise; a tour of the Napa Valley vineyards; or hands-on cooking classes in Italy. What all of these culinary travel options have in common is this: The focus is not on simply having travelers eat their way through their destinations. Read the rest of this entry »
Consolidator airfares are a great way to take care of your clients’ ticketing needs while increasing your sales and profits. Through the course of the sales and ticketing process, you will inevitably find the consolidator agent to be indispensable. These agents are specialists in air consolidation, and without their knowledge, efficiency, and attention to detail, it would not be possible for home-based agencies like mine to build substantial business in airline ticketing.
For that reason, I see great value in investing the time and effort to build relationships with consolidator agents. Here are a few ideas to consider: Read the rest of this entry »
Let’s face it, folks: Once your friends and family members know that you’re a travel agent, sometimes you become the “go-to” person by default, and other times people who know you may shy away from seeking your professional advice and assistance.
In some respects, travel requests from friends and family can be a very positive thing. Those who know you seek your advice on travel, and this may in turn lead to referral business. Anything they book builds your sales and earns you commission. That’s what you’re in business for, after all! If they’re happy with their trip, they’ll be more apt to tell others about your services because they know and trust you. A recommendation from your family and friends differs from other client Read the rest of this entry »
Every travel agent has his or her own collection of good “water cooler” stories to tell. We have all dealt with our share of picky clients, cheap clients, and those who just don’t know what they want. However, once in a while, we find ourselves in situations where the client’s expectations are simply unrealistic.
Regardless of the specifics of a given situation, we as agents are stuck deciding how best to handle it. I don’t think there are necessarily any “right” or “wrong” answers, but the dilemma always tends to revolve around the same few issues: Read the rest of this entry »
I often use consolidators to service my client inquiries. As a home-based agent, I choose not to subscribe to a GDS system, mainly due to the overhead cost. Therefore, I typically rely on consolidators to ticket international air as an ideal alternative. Our requests for international travel are wide-ranging, from business trips to students, couples, and families traveling for leisure. Our profits generally average $100-125 per ticket for coach tickets and $200-250 per ticket for business class.
Fortunately, I have found a few favorite consolidators who ticket for destinations worldwide, and I am very comfortable working with them. However, each individual client’s request may affect the ticketing scenario. These might include the need for more flexible tickets, the method of payment, the knowledge and efficiency of the consolidator’s agent, Read the rest of this entry »
“It is too much work to travel with the little ones.” I hear this all the time from parents. With the spring break travel season upon us, I thought it befitting to address this topic now. As both a travel agent and a parent of small children, I do not believe there is a one-size-fits-all solution to this common objection to family travel. However, I firmly believe that travel provides excellent opportunities for families to be together, away from their everyday routine. I feel safe in saying that if there weren’t others who felt the same way, family travel wouldn’t exist as an established niche of the travel industry. Read the rest of this entry »
As professional travel agents, we arrange trips of all types for clients on a daily basis. We all have a passion for travel; otherwise we wouldn’t be in this business. Yet exactly how essential is travel experience to travel agents? I think there are a number of perspectives to consider.
All agents are familiar with what I like to call “travel essentials.” We all know that air bookings are made the same way regardless of the cities involved, and that hotel nights can easily be booked anywhere in the world. Obviously our clients have to get to their destination somehow and need a place to stay once they arrive. However, once we look past the how-to of booking these essential elements of travel, at some point either the agent’s experience or destination knowledge inevitably comes into play. Read the rest of this entry »
As travel agents, much of our time is spent planning clients’ trips, solving logistical challenges, and researching. I am often drawn to itineraries or locales my clients choose, resulting in a long list of “someday” trips I’d like to take. When it comes to my “dream trip”, there is no question: a cruise around the world, complete with a land tour component in each major city. Read the rest of this entry »