by Mary Stein, Content Editor of Host Agency Reviews”
Half (if not more) of working as a travel agent is sales. Every agent knows the importance of customer service––going the extra mile to book a flawless trip so first-time clients become lifetime clients. But how do you set yourself apart from other agents in the ever-growing travel industry?
Step 1: Getting Personal
You Are a Special Snowflake. Yes, You. Before you shout out to the world about your awesome travel agent skills, take a moment to think about what your personal story is. When you’re selling travel, you have to sell yourself first.
Equally important to telling people what you do is to express your passion for the industry in a genuine way. If you do put thought into “pitching yourself,” then you will make a more memorable impression and when you follow up by handing them your business card, they’ll be more likely to remember you. So let’s look at some elevator pitch examples:
First, let’s get personal. Brainstorm and write down brief answers to these questions below:
- What is my personal connection to travel/ the travel industry? i.e. I work for my family owned host agency that was established in 1974.
- Why do I love travel? i.e. I saved up all my babysitting money for four years to travel to Italy with my grandparents, and I’ve been in love with culturally immersive travel ever since.
- What do I love about selling travel? i.e. Putting together a great FIT is like a logic puzzle for me, and I love the challenge of customizing flawless vacations for clients.
- What formative experience(s) impacted my decision to become a travel agent? i.e. Quite honestly, I had a horrible travel experience with an agent that did not qualify us for a trip, and I ended up being the one to fill in the potholes. I ended up having a ton of fun and wanted to bring that level of service and integrity to the industry.
- What’s my favorite thing about working with my clients? i.e. I absolutely love to see my client’s reactions after their trips! When they come back looking ten years younger, I know I did a good job.
- What kind of travel experience do I want them to have? i.e. I want my clients to discover something about themselves they didn’t know before they traveled!
- What is something that makes me unique as a person or a fun fact about myself? i.e. Nikki Miller from Travel with Nikki told me she had visited Disney World more times than years she’s been alive. Whoa.
So what is unique about you? I just came back from Cruise360 and maybe you’re an agent that has videos of suites from more than 20 different ships (I know some of you do!) Think of a fun fact or detail about yourself that you can put forward
Step 2: Just the Facts
Then you’ll want to mix those intangibles with a piece of concrete data. Here’s a few elevator pitch examples to get you going:
- How many years of experience do you have selling travel? i.e. 15 (are you new and worried about it? Just tell them you have 1 year experience going on 15).
- What is your niche/ travel interest? i.e Adaptive adventure travel with emphasis on Southeast Asia
- What certification/ trainings do you have? i.e. I have my MCC through CLIA or CTA, CTC or CTIE from The Travel Institute.
- What’s one piece of data you can give on clients/ client satisfaction? i.e. 90% of my clients are first-time travelers, and 95% of those clients say they will travel again.
- What huge obstacle have you helped a client overcome? i.e. A last-minute rebooking, offering extra perks, or helping them out with a Visa/Passport bind.
Step 3: Shorter is Sweeter
After you brainstorm on these questions, you won’t be able to fit them all into your talking points. But you can mix and match from the brainstorming you did above! Which details do you think are the most engaging? You’ll want to boil this down into about three sentences:
- Who you are what you do. i.e. I’m a CLIA ECC certified travel agent, with fifteen years of experience selling river cruises.
- What makes you unique as an agent: i.e I was inspired to sell river cruises when my spouse and I renewed our vows on an Avalon Cruise in the Danube, and my goal is to pass along the impact of those memories to my clients.
- Engage them with a question. What is one of your most memorable travel experiences?
Step 4: Putting it All Together
Now just mash those sentences together into something that sounds cohesive (usually it will work just to string them together). If you’d like to download this into a worksheet to help collect your thoughts, you can check it out at Host Agency Reviews!
Don’t be shy! Try it out! Practice it to your friends, or your dog, or at your own face in front of the mirror a bunch of times. Can you get through it in about 45 seconds? Does it need to be shorter? A little longer? Try out a few of your elevator pitch examples on your friends and see which one they like best. This will help boost your confidence and make your personal branding more unique!
Step 5: Come Say Hello!
There’s more where this came from! Download the Host Agency Reviews “Elevator Pitch Worksheet” here and check out other marketing articles that are geared toward travel agents. You can also find us on Facebook here!