Editor’s note: Codie Liermann is an Associate Editor with TravelPulse, but she initially began working in the travel industry as a travel agent. Codie’s Corner is a new column that will cover a range of topics specifically written with travel agents in mind. If there is a topic you’d like covered, shoot her an email at [email protected]
Every client that walks through the doors of a travel agency is different, and it’s important to help each one plan a dream vacation. A trip that works for one client may not necessarily work for the next, so be prepared to assist each person individually.
Travel agents position themselves as experts, and you’ll want to make sure your clients feel they are working with a travel expert when booking their vacation. As they explain to you what they are looking for in a trip, be sure to listen and take note of the type of traveler they might be.
For example, a honeymoon couple interested in visiting a quiet, remote area probably isn’t going to enjoy a trip to a theme park or staying at a busy resort in Cancun. Instead, they would be better off at a small, boutique hotel in an area that doesn’t get a ton of traffic.
However, a family traveling with children looking for several activities would love staying a few nights at Disney World, visiting an all-inclusive resort with lots of activities or heading aboard a cruise ship filled with fun things to do.
Pay attention to what the client is saying and what they mention throughout the consultation. If a client seems to enjoy luxurious things, consider suggesting an upgrade to an ocean view room at the resort they’re headed to or send a link to the property’s spa menu with their travel documents. They’ll appreciate the added touch.
On the other hand, if budget seems to be the deciding factor, be sure not to only provide expensive, high-end resorts, as you might scare the client away from working with you. Suggest lower cost tours and vacation packages, and let the client know there are always more options to consider if their budget changes.
Travel advisors obviously enjoy traveling themselves, and at times it can be hard not to picture yourself taking the trip you’re planning for a client. Keep in mind, though, what your clients are looking for in a vacation may not be exactly what you’d do.
Another thing to keep in mind is that every client isn’t always going to come home raving about their vacation. Whether it wasn’t the right resort for them or there was trouble with an airline, hiccups tend to come up when traveling and it’s okay.
Either way, be sure you’re following up with clients upon the return of a trip. Ask them questions about the destination, hotel, tour guides, food, etc. Make notes on their reviews, mark it in their files and use it to your advantage when booking future trips for them or serving future clients in general.
They’ll appreciate your continued interest and will most likely come back to book a future trip with you. And the more trips you book for them, the more you’ll know and understand just what type of traveler they are.
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