Today’s travel clients are looking for superb, individualized customer service, great value and easy website navigation. Because the Internet has made it easy for many to simply book a trip themselves, it is up to the individual agent to come up with strategies to set themselves apart by offering something different, whether catering to a specialized niche market, building a persuasive repertoire of experiences or maintaining a strong social media presence. Find out how to become affiliated with a host travel agency as a part of providing clients with an unforgettable travel experience.
Use a Host Travel Agency
Many independent agents find that using a host travel agency greatly expands the services they can offer their clients. Host agencies can take an independent agent’s services to the next level by offering exclusive services, overrides, quality control, automation and support. Affiliation with one of these agencies also gives an added boost to your clients’ confidence in your ability to provide them with the best trip at the best possible price.
Find a Niche
Often, top agents have a niche specialty that gives them name recognition for expertise in a particular segment of the travel market. While these may not be the only type of trip they book, an agent can become known as a go-to professional for certain types of holidays or business trips.
When today’s customers seek help, they are really looking for a specialist for their particular kind of travel needs. Develop a roster of unique destinations, experiences and contacts; the more access you can provide to exclusive experiences, the more specialized you become.
Offer Outstanding Customer Service
Providing exceptional customer service is a super way to build and keep a strong customer base. Satisfied customers become return customers who will refer other clients. Successful agents put forth the effort to get to know their clients, making customers feel they are being treated as individuals, not just another name on an account.
Always be friendly and polite in e-mails and phone calls, and give customers personalized help and recommendations right from the first point of contact. Know what’s most important to your client, whether it’s cost, dates, destination or just being able to get a direct flight.
Stay up-to-date on the latest destinations, resorts and travel news. Travel consultants provide invaluable, in-depth product knowledge that isn’t easily found just surfing solo on the web. Many wholesalers and tour operators offer webinars on their destinations and venues; try to attend as many of these as possible to build a more complete picture of the trips you’re selling. Airlines change, new resorts open and destinations may become unsafe for travel.
If you’re up on all these changes, you’ll have the know-how and confidence to sell your product to clients who may be sitting on the fence about a trip. Talk to clients after their return as their insight could be invaluable for future bookings. Immerse yourself in travel by reading reviews on travel websites, watching the Travel Channel on TV and reading books written for travel agents.
Use Effective Marketing Strategies
Make use of effective marketing strategies. Use direct mail and email advertising campaigns, and make face-to-face connections at seminars and conferences. Online, a Facebook page can be invaluable for posting tips and insights as well as getting customers to be your fans and post great reviews of your services. For a strong online presence, you need good design, compelling content and easy-to-find contact information.
You can improve your website in a number ways. Try including unique destination pictures, informative videos with destination experts or a collection of video testimonials from satisfied customers. Thumbnail images can link to related pages on your website to encourage longer visits. A good way to build trust is to join respected travel associations and be sure membership seals are clearly visible on your site.
By following these tips to go the extra mile, you can increase your customer base and deliver better-quality service for every trip.