There are some habits that all great travel experts have in common, like consistently providing standout service to customers. We have listed the top 10 tactics our agents have used to fulfil their travel dreams and earn a great living from it.
A major benefit of being a home-based travel agent is greater flexibility. You have complete control over your career and your life, which in-turn makes it easier for you to offer a flexible service to your customers.
Your customers might work long hours, have to suddenly reschedule, or want to meet at their home or local coffee shop; being able and willing to go the extra mile and accommodate this is all a part of providing a great service. Agents who work from home have a greater ability to meet their customer’s needs - elevating their level of service.
2. Choose a Niche
Choosing a niche or specialisation can help you take your travel business to the next level. Why? Because people want to work with travel agents who are experts in their field.
Choose a niche that you have a passion for and develop in-depth knowledge about the people, climate, food, culture, accommodation and things to do.Your niche could be a particular country you love or a specific type of holiday such as cruises, safaris or honeymoons.
If you are passionate about your specialisation, you will be able to position yourself as the go-to travel expert for these kinds of holidays. Customers who encounter your passion and subject matter expertise, will want to book with you.
Networking is extremely important for a Travel Agents success. It enables you to build relationships with travel providers and resort representatives so that you can offer the best deals to your customers. It also establishes you as a cut above your travel agent peers.
At Travel Counsellors, we make it easy to build a supportive network of people who understand you. We ensure that all our counsellors have an opportunity to engage with travel reps, each other and our head office frequently. With an intranet, regular webinars and message boards, all of our Travel Counsellors get to interact and share knowledge.
Our highly supportive community also meets in person regularly at star-studded annual conferences and supplier events, building the essential networks needed for success.
4. Jump at Travel
Your customers look to you as their go-to for advice about holiday destinations. That’s why you need to travel to the places you are selling and know them well.
As a Global travel franchise, we are often approached by suppliers, resorts and hotel chains offering low to no cost travel opportunities for our agents, as they seek to open their travel networks to their customers.
We encourage you to take as many of these travel opportunities as come your way. Travelling more widely enables you to provide experienced and reliable advice. You will be able to build trust and advise effectively if you are well travelled to the destinations you are selling.
5. Answer the Call
Answering the phone is the only way to get the sale. Customers have a short attention span and do not like to be kept waiting. If you want to be a successful travel agent, make yourself accessible and available to phone calls, and establish your easy availability as a USP with your customers.
6. Participate in Professional Development
The most successful travel agents actively engage in training and professional development on a regular basis. This helps them stay agile and on top of things in a competitive market, where customer expectations and preferences are always changing.
At Travel Counsellors, we offer personal business coaching for our travel agents, to support their specific version of success and personal goals.
7. Market yourself
Marketing yourself is essential if you want to succeed in any business. Get involved with your local community, take the time to talk to people at social events, and let everyone at the local coffee shop know about your services. Soon word will spread of your local and professional service.
We’ve taken things one step further at Travel Counsellors by building the MyTC App. A ground-breaking mobile app that your customers can use to employ your services, access their travel itinerary across multiple holidays and share your business card with friends and family directly from the app.
8. Connect. Be on Social Media
The modern traveller expects to connect with their favourite brands on social media – your brand should be included in this mix.
Set up pages on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn; and expand your reach by showing off just how amazing a holiday itinerary planned by you can be. Instagram, in particular, is ideal for travel consultants because it gives you the perfect platform to showcase all those amazing pictures and exotic destinations.
Expert tip - Don’t forget to post regularly. And if someone comments or messages you, respond with a timely and authentic message. Proactive communication is key to making social media work for you.
9. Encourage Feedback through Follow Up
You need to know what your customers think about your service to be successful as a travel agent. Follow up during their travel AND on their return. Check that everything was to their liking and ask what could be improved? If you are proactive, you might find ways to help them whilst they are still on their holiday.
Ask your satisfied customers to leave a review about your service online.
10. Save time
How well you can use your own time is a key aspect for success as a travel agent. The great news is that it is possible to find simple solutions to manage your time more effectively and streamline the more mundane aspects of the job, if you look in the right places and keep up with professional development.
A critical factor for a Travel Counsellors’ success is time management. Our admin support team take care of tedious functions like third party liaison, documentation and accounting, and can provide expert support 24/7. In addition, our tech systems help make a Travel Agents everyday easier. Our Phenix booking platform automates many aspects of the booking process so you can spend your time doing what you do best – servicing customers.
Owning a travel agency or being a home-based agent has fantastic perks - you’ll enjoy bespoke itineraries and trips to incredible places sponsored by hotels and travel companies. But before you can enjoy these benefits, you’ll need to think like an entrepreneur and build a successful travel business from the ground up.