Details are huge and one can not invest enough time in them. In this business, not enough attention to this trait will result in unfortunate events for your clients and yourself as well as to your respective pocketbooks. What could start as a simple oversight may set a domino effect in motion leading to one dilemma after another ending who knows where.
As travel planners, we are responsible for our clients dream vacations. Most clients who seek out agents do so for the comfort obtained by assuming that their needs and desires are being taken care of, and the relief of not making the wrong choices themselves. We as agents must take on the responsibility to fulfill these requests. And we must do it with aplomb and still figure out a way to prosper as an accountable and dependable business.
Client bookings can be as simple as a summer Caribbean cruise or more involved such as a South American, multi country, land and river cruise tour; but each have certain details that need to be acknowledged. Travel documents, passports and visas are very important details to travelers who might be traveling to more exotic locales. Failure to discuss the status of your clients’ nationality or legal spelling of their names can result in disastrous and expensive consequences. Failure to handle funds properly or miss final payments can become a legal mess for your agency as well as prove to be very costly–financially and emotionally. Even something as routine as qualifying a client and recommending the wrong destination can be caused by not understanding the details the client is providing you. Dates, time zones, wrong directions…everything is an important detail!
I know that in my agency, not only do I focus on the details; I have implemented many back up plans that help keep me in check where possible and to make sure that important information is obtained, conveyed and documented. Simple actions such as using a customer database with automatic reminders, spreadsheets and checklists produce solid results. Even some archaic methods such as whiteboards, notepads, wall calendars and the almost obsolete file cabinet provide a wealth of needed information that must be kept in easy reach. Reading supplier’s Terms and Conditions is always recommended as well as calling the supplier if you are not sure of something or clarification is needed.
Fortunately, I have kept this philosophy as one of my core business values and believe that my success is evident because of it. Will even the most diligent and successful agent be totally immune to inadvertently dropping a detail or forgot to mention something important that caused their client some kind of loss? Of course not! We all have dropped the ball at one time, and that is a learning process we all must endure. But one needs to learn fast and not continue to repeat! This business is too easy to get into, and sometimes too easy to have immediate success; but as the business grows, responsibility and details become key to success. And if you are not on top of the details, you may find yourself learning difficult lessons while trying to maintain your client’s loyalty at the same time enduring their wrath.
Vincent Yeck, CTA, DS is the owner and agent of Yeck’s Cruise & Travel in Lake Worth, Florida. He is a “Destination Specialist” for the Caribbean and specializes in cruises, family travel and groups; including youth sports fundraising. He also is the OSSN Chapter Director for Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast, a travel industry trade association representing and supporting the Independent Travel Agent, Home Based Travel Agency, and the Outside Sales Travel Agent. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or his website at www.yecks.com.