Eight Tips For New Travel Agents by Marilee Crocker <https://www.travelmarketreport.com/tmrsearchresults?st=1&sr=Marilee%20Crocker> / July 28, 2016
Ongoing skills development is very important to success in almost any profession. But what happens if your career selling leisure travel is at its infancy? Where if you ever focus your company and professional development?
We position the question to eight of the very most powerful and successful women in retail travel. If we were accountable for looking for a simplistic answer, they didn’t grab the bait. As their responses suggest, no skill or maybe set of skills is sufficient create success within this multifaceted and demanding profession.
“Being a leisure travel advisor is usually a complex career. But it is really a career that may be incredibly rewarding, if you are very organized and detail-oriented, a highly effective written and verbal communicator, a substantial people-person with enthusiasm, the need to provide service, an interest in travel plus a desire to constantly find out about new places, destinations and product,” said Kimberly Wilson Wetty, co-president of Valerie Wilson Travel in New York.
Here’s some other advice from top female travel executives regarding how to build success to be a leisure travel consultant.
1. Master basic principles. “The most rudimentry skill is communication. I’ve always said, ‘She who calls a customer back in time or responds in an email with clear information generally wins.’ Get to the point, be clear, remain professional, make it personal, under-promise and over-deliver. Create your own system of organization therefore you stay on the surface of client projects. If you develop this in the beginning, you are going to reap productivity gains while you grow your small business. Never ignore customers. Follow up on every piece of information and never assume something are certain to get done for your customer if you do not have it in some recoverable format. Get everything in making.” - Andi Mysza, president, MTravel, Montrose, CA
2. Learn to make connections. “Networking skills really are a valuable tool in a business. Be approachable. Get your name in existence and network with several people as you can to increase your database. Get linked to local Chamber of Commerce programs; network with the local country club. Network while being very sales-focused and intensely service-oriented.” - Kathryn Mazza-Burney, executive v . p ., global sales, TRAVELSAVERS and The Affluent Traveler; president, NEST, Oyster Bay, NY
3. Focus on a specialty. “When you firstly start out, you should focus as much as you possibly can. Select a creation that you can study and turn into an expert. By focusing on a product you differentiate yourself from your competition. Most importantly, see the product you might be selling. Take advantage of local travel agent rates, fam trips and even more. The best way to sell a program is to go through it firsthand and share those experiences with the customers. They will recognize and many thanks for authentic desire for the product.” - Debbie Fiorino, senior vice chairman, CruiseOne/Dream Vacations and Cruises Inc., Wilmington, MA
4. Take advantage of training opportunities. “Get training and coaching early in your work. Attend programs such as the Travel Institute Travel Academy; many TMCs have training programs also. It is often a great way to get acclimated, learn product and purchases tools, plus produce a professional network yourself.” - Kimberly Wilson Wetty, Valerie Wilson Travel
5. Get customers speaking about what matters. “Really knowing your profits skills makes perfect. It’s making a relationship and being able to converse. It’s probing regarding their needs and wants by asking open-ended questions and becoming them focused. If you’re looking forward to them to seek advice, you’ll lose them. Have them describe their last vacation, ask them to say what you liked and didn’t like therefore the picture is made and they’re doing the talking.” - Elaine San Juan, director western region, leisure, Worldview Travel, Santa Ana, CA
6. Make the proper match. “It isn't enough to just find out about your client’s wants and needs. You have to make sure that you apply what you’ve learned to make the right vacation recommendations. Remember you might be in the partnership business and your customers are your greatest asset. Do not treat a booking to be a transaction. It is the possibility to build a continuing relationship that ends up with future bookings and referrals.” - Jackie Friedman, president, Nexion, Southlake, TX
7. Develop your brand identity. “Create your very own brand so people in your community start recognizing you as being the go-to person for booking vacations. Determine what your value proposition is-why is someone likely to book along with you over somebody else?-and communicate that in your customer base. The best way to accomplish that is by becoming included in your community.' - Debbie Fiorino, Senior Vice President of CruiseOne/Dream Vacations and Cruises Inc., Wilmington, MA
8. Use technology creatively. “One of the extremely important skills a very good agent must possess will be the ability to creatively conform to new technologies without losing the private touch. There are creative uses of technology that can still feel high touch and personalized to your customers.” - Claire Bennett, executive v . p ., American Express Travel, New York