Most travel agents who have been in the business for any period of time can tell stories of clients who, in some manner, disappointed the agent in the relationship. The client who took the agent’s hard work and booked direct, or the client who could not be found when final payment was due. The client who goes to the airport without their documents and blames the agent. The client that won’t return phone calls. The client who is upset that the agent cannot find a trip to Hawaii for 7 nights for $499. The client who discovers a cruise $50 cheaper on the internet and is unhappy. In almost every instance, however, the real root of the problem can be found in a failure of the agent to properly train the client and set expectations. Client training is more than just a technique to prevent problems, however. Properly training clients sets the stage for the buying process to occur in the context of a relationship. Read the rest of this entry »
Not every travel agent is comfortable being assertive. Yet, unless the travel counselor takes charge of their many relationships, they risk performing far below par. There are times when an agent must be assertive with clients, with co-workers or suppliers. But how can you be assertive without being “pushy” or rude? Is it possible to be assertive, maintain integrity and still be fair to all involved? It is, and an analysis of how to properly assert yourself is a valuable tool in communicating with others.
First, understand the appropriate context and definition of being assertive. Being assertive is different from being aggressive. Read the rest of this entry »
The following is Part Five of the series “The 7 Characteristics of Top Travel Agents“
Top travel agents train their clients. At the outset of the relationship, these agents set expectations. They explain to their clients the services that a travel consultant performs and how the client benefits from those services. Educating the client becomes an ongoing project. By demystifying travel the agent provides the client with base knowledge from which to more confidently operate and feel empowered.
More importantly, however, a good travel consultant will also establish, up front, the role and responsibilities of the client. Read the rest of this entry »
I had the great good fortune to spend a few days at THETRADESHOW in Orlando with Laura Frazier of Bliss Honeymoons. We were speaking about the practice of charging a research fee. In a study we are doing at TRO on the characteristics of top travel agents, the practice of charging research fee ranks high as a common characteristic.
Laura indicates that she always charges a fee of $100 with Read the rest of this entry »
Especially for new travelers, try to anticipate the many things that are a normal part of the travel experience and walk through them with the client. A prime example is check-in times. Many travelers arrive at their destination well ahead of the time when a room might be available. As an agent, Read the rest of this entry »