In almost every workshop I present, I ask a question: “why should anyone use a travel agent?”
Sadly, I rarely hear the kind of persuasive statements that would motivate a skeptic to ditch their apps and websites. It’s understandable since travel pros are mostly trained to sell OTHER companies’ products.
I hope the following tips will help you promote your professionalism by telling the WHOLE story of just how valuable you really are.
1. Say Goodbye to “Price Quotes”
- Deposits: you can offer the option of a paying deposit to hold space. Websites and apps demand payment in full.
- Supplier Relationships: most travel consultants have, at some point, used supplier connections to help a client solve a problem. It’s a priceless benefit they’ll forget or never know about until you tell them.
- Your Humanity: any cheap gadget can book a cruise, but only a human can care that it’s the right cruise. Only a human can care enough to help out if something goes wrong. Never assume your clients remember this.
When an app or website displays a price, its software assumes that the correct buttons were clicked, the destination and supplier are good choices, and any mistakes are the fault of the user. This is a price quote.
When a travel consultant offers a price, it is the result of training, skills, and expertise in finding the RIGHT price, for the RIGHT supplier, in the RIGHT destination, all carefully chosen to make their clients happy. So, start calling it what it really is: the results of your professional research (which includes a price quote).
2. Reveal Your Hard Work
The average traveler has no idea how you do your job. Most are clueless about the amount of time, energy and effort that goes into it. They know nothing about the resources used, the relationships leveraged, or the training that was applied. Tell them every time.
“I’m thrilled to show you what I’ve found. I spent 3 hours researching websites, speaking with the most reliable travel suppliers, and comparing numerous options. Luckily, I’m a certified specialist in this destination so I know what to look for and what to avoid.”
3. Take All The Credit
With all the time and careful investigation you put into finding deals, savings, upgrades and extras, you should start credit for it!
So, stop saying: “this cruise is offering a one category upgrade and a $200 shipboard credit” and starting saying “I got you an upgrade and I’ve even arranged for you to have $200 to spend onboard any way you like.”
4. Emphasize Your Exclusive Benefits
Always highlight these three things not available without a travel consultant:
5. Make Your Credentials Matter: Achievements like CTC, CTA and destination or supplier certifications, can help in promoting your professionalism. However, their value is diminished until you tell your clients why they matter to them – not in a boastful way, but in-context within your consultation.
“I’m really happy to help you with your trip. I spent lot of time becoming a Certified Travel Counselor, so you can relax and know that you’re in good hands. It was hard work, but totally worth it. Let’s get started!”
We hope you enjoyed Nolan Burris’ Friday Five, the first post during July’s “Promote Your Professionalism” campaign.