In the ever-expanding industry of travel and hospitality, it is critical to stay one step ahead of the game. Here are 6 ways you can build a reputation of excellence for your agency and be considered an expert in your field.
Be a Travel Expert
In order to keep clients loyal to your agency, travel agents need to do more than simply sell a ticket. Every aspect of your traveler’s journey matters. Help them avoid the common pitfalls of travel. Study airlines, flight routes, and even airport layouts. Take FAM trips as often as you can. Start your morning by reading travel publications and articles. Stay current on industry changes and trends. If you can show your clients you truly want them to have an incredible travel experience, you will build a solid foundation of trust that will keep them coming back to you year after year.
Focus on a Niche Market
If you really want to be an expert in your field, figure out what you do best and focus on it. This will allow you to streamline your marketing efforts and maximize your creative energy. Do you feel most confident booking trips to a certain region? Do you love handling cruises or tour groups? Finding a niche market you can truly “own” will help you stay motivated and passionate about your job as you immerse yourself in a field you truly love.
Listen, Listen, Listen
A great salesperson knows how to read between the lines. Find out how to ask the right questions when a client is having trouble expressing what they want. What is your client really saying? What are they not saying? The simple act of patiently listening and putting yourself in your client’s shoes goes a long way. If you want to improve your ability to read customers, invest in some books or online webinars by reputable sources.
Be Honest About Fares, Rules and Regulations
This is one area where your agency can easily outshine massive travel corporations. Clearly communicate the rules of the products you are selling and help your clients avoid any unforeseen frustrations. It might be helpful to send your travelers the fare rules twice – once when quoting their options (this might guide their decision) and once after they’ve made payment.
Rock Your Social Media
Two common misconceptions of social media for business are:
“It’s not worthwhile if you have a small business.”
Social media is a relatively low-cost and easy way to market your business. It allows you to engage and build trust with your clients, show off your expertise, and even provide speedy customer service. The hardest part is usually getting started and putting an effective, structured strategy into place. Once you get through the initial stages of planning and launching, maintaining your social platforms can become an easy, natural part of your marketing strategy.
“Your product isn’t interesting enough for social media.”
If a dentist can find a way to win with social media, you absolutely can! The travel industry practically begs for a social media presence. Share stories and visuals that inspire people to travel, expert tips, and travel advisories. Find your voice and let it be heard!
Respond to Criticism
The biggest mistake a business can make is to ignore criticism or get defensive. Listen carefully to what your clients are saying. Show empathy, even if you don’t feel you are in the wrong. Go above and beyond to turn a client’s negative experience around. Make the situation right and make any changes needed to prevent it from happening again.