Author Archives: Mary Jo Salas

There are 11 articles by Mary Jo Salas published on this site.

Well Summer is about to blast off and here I sit with a few free minutes during the work day as I am checking and rechecking client documents, seat assignments, and going over things to do with clients about to take off. Some like to travel in May so I’m welcoming those clients back and seeing how everything went. Does that mean that I don’t have a surge of new requests trying to leave next week? No, but I still carve time out to engage with the clients that already booked with me and making an effort to maintain that relationship. Read the rest of this entry »

Alamo Travel Group – A Hui Hou

The time has come to write my last Travel Agent diary entry. Time certainly does fly and that couldn’t be truer than in the travel industry. Back in January when I started my entries we had many projects that we were looking to roll out over the course of 2014. As one could imagine some of those projects were a hit, others did not pan out at all as we expected and a couple were pleasant surprises.

My entries followed along how those projects affected my day-to-day travel agent tasks and hopefully some of my experiences may be of help to some of you. I even had an entry that was pretty much me venting. I wasn’t sure if I should share, but I figured I am human; and as travel agents we sometimes just throw papers in the air, put our face in our hands and just let it all out. Read the rest of this entry »

Alamo Travel Group — Conference time

Every fall most of us attend one or more of our industry conferences and I am no exception.  I just returned from our consortia’s conference, which was held in Florida this year.  Putting a national conference together is no easy feat, as organizers are challenged to accommodate business updates, training, networking, keynote speakers and fun all in a short amount of time.  So I always try to be understanding and put my best foot forward.  Although, a couple of days ago I felt that if I talked shop to one more person I was always going to spontaneously combust! Read the rest of this entry »

Alamo Travel Group – #TravelTuesday

Did you notice that the Travel Agent Diaries come out every Tuesday which just so happens to be #TravelTuesday. It just dawned on me! What is #TravelTuesday?  For those that may not be into hashtagging or the latest trending topics, #TravelTuesday posts or pictures are hashtagged and categorized with other travel topics or images.  The best thing for a travel agent is that it’s a very quick and easy way to join the conversation on social media sites every Tuesday.  We all have a TON of travel images, quotes, ideas, excerpts and more at the tip of our fingers because we talk travel all day.  One of my favorite apps on social media is Instagram.  I love pictures, especially pictures of travel.  When #TravelTuesday started trending it took me a while to realize this was the easiest way to be “trending” every Tuesday at work.  Read the rest of this entry »

For the past two weeks, I have wondered if my agency name had been changed to Last Minute Bookings.  I will be honest and say these are my least favorite of any bookings.  I can definitely relate to the busy professional who can’t afford the time to plan their vacation, but nonetheless they are on the bottom of the list of my favorite things to do.  I have been lucky to build a solid client base that book with me frequently, and we plan these trips at least two months out.  Thanks to my CRM I was able to mine that nugget of information.  I also learned that 75% of my clients book summer trips.  Read the rest of this entry »

Last month I had networking events, a FAM, and some industry meetings.  In shooting the breeze with fellow agents, there was a recurring question– how do you let people know you are here?  Now I am going to preface this diary entry with that I can only share what has worked for me in my short time in the industry.  Anything I do, I like to take the “organic” approach.  We are who we are and I believe that by the things I do, people will get a genuine feel of what I am all about.  Specialties and niches are great because things flow naturally when you work with clients that have similar interests in the types of experiences you like to put together.  It makes things simpler on your day to day bookings and your clients can naturally gravitate towards you.  Read the rest of this entry »

I believe the very basis of being a travel consultant is that we have a gift to create a trip, a vacation, a honeymoon…an experience. I can recall a couple of instances where clients specifically told me “Honestly the reason we booked with you, was because you got me excited about my own trip.”

We use that exuberance as part of our toolbox to differentiate ourselves from an online booking engine. Genuine excitement, enthusiasm and care are some of the ingredients we use in crafting a great itinerary and again…experience. I have a pretty candid relationship with one of my repeat clients who recently questioned me about not using “fabulous” or “amazing” while planning their latest trip. I smiled and caught myself questioning–had I lost my mojo? Read the rest of this entry »

The other day I was asked, “what do you do all day?”  Usually it’s someone outside the travel industry that asks me this.  I usually give the same vague answer, “I book people their vacations, honeymoon or destination wedding.”  I then got the stinging reply of “well can’t they just do that online?”  So the next day I came into the office all fired up and decided to write down everything it was, that I did in a day! Read the rest of this entry »

I recently attended a supplier workshop and during their presentation they touched on social media.  We watched a video on social media and then had a 15 minute break.  During the break the chatter amongst agents was about the video we just saw and how they don’t understand all the platforms out there, how most felt intimidated by using social media for their businesses.  I could not help but feel really disheartened by all those comments.

Being a millennial, social media is organic for me.  It is a part of my life professionally and personally.  It literally is my newspaper, social calendar, postcards, Rolodex, photo album, and the pulse of my daily life.  What I really like about social media is that for travel, I feel it’s such a great fit. Read the rest of this entry »

With a New Year come new things and in my experience it’s a packed reception area of new walk-ins.  That’s good right?  Yes but I learned early on that new clients really meant stepping back for a bit and explaining the dynamic of the travel consultant-client relationship before even opening a brochure.

As I mentioned in my previous entry, when I got into the industry I quickly noticed that many things had changed from when my agency first opened or my colleagues had first started.  One of the main things that had changed was the role of travel consultants in the whole equation.  I’ve read many great articles on this subject; but how do I explain this change in relationship to the client? Read the rest of this entry »

Hi! It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m Mary Jo Salas with the Alamo Travel Group and I’m thrilled to introduce myself to a group that know what it’s like to be a travel consultant today.

I came into the industry 3 years ago with an open mind and a part time position; and was very curious about what exactly a travel consultant did. When I began working on itineraries, it was obvious to others that I had apparently been born with the travel bug. My company President noticed my natural love for travel and assisting others in their travel planning and suggested I do this full time. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but I went with my gut and I dove in headfirst. I haven’t looked back since! Read the rest of this entry »