Plain and simple – the travel industry is not for the faint of heart. The role requires you to tap into both sides of your brain – creative & logical – in order to recommend, book and managed stellar travel experiences for your clients. You also wear multiple hats on a daily basis: sales pro, marketer, accountant and customer service rep. If you have what it takes, then the travel industry is one of the most exhilarating and rewarding jobs around! You get to both know and sell what you love…and the FAM trips are pretty awesome too! Whether you’re ready to grow as a business and hire another employee, or just looking to improve personally as a consultant, these are the characteristics that separate highly successful travel agents from the good ones.
Travelers who book through a travel consultant instead of booking a trip on their own are seeking out expertise. This means that you need to turn yourself into an information black hole and soak up everything there is to know about airlines, airports, destinations, dining, and accommodations. You can accomplish this by reading travel articles and publications to stay current. Don’t be afraid to ask your suppliers questions about the products that you’re promoting and selling.
It is essential that you set high expectations for yourself and your employees. Check the spelling on emails and quotes. PUt efficient processes into place for making and managing bookings instead of just making calls on the fly. Consider implementing, or following, a professional dress code to help you feel at the top of your game. This applies even if you work from home! The age-old saying that the difference is in the details couldn’t ring truer than with the travel industry.
Enthusiasm defines a successful travel agent
Did you know that enthusiasm is contagious? Well, it really is! Stay excited about what your selling and your clients will catch on. Be that insane person who flat out loves Mondays! Keep your standards high and your goals ahead of you. Make sure to save plenty of time throughout your year for your own travel adventures. This will keep your excited, passionate, and engaged with what you do.
Do you excel at picking up subtle communication cues? Can you unravel what a client really wants when they’re having a difficult time clearly expressing it? Do you know how and when to close a sale? Some of these skills come naturally, but much is learned by simply paying attention. It is essential that you become a student of human nature even when you’re not on the job and you will start to develop a sound ability to read people.
Integrity is key for a successful travel agent
Honesty and integrity are two qualities that are impossible to replace once they’re lost. That being said, be honest and upfront about fares, rules, and regulations. Steer clear of selling something you don’t think your client will love. Always take the high road. Recommendations and referrals are the best forms of advertising. However, they will not come about if you don’t maintain a high sense of integrity.
A successful travel agent has the ability to think on the fly and adapt to new situations. Whether we’re talking about a forced schedule change, an absurd request, or a missed connection, quick thinking is a must! Learn to maintain a calm presence and navigate emergencies like a pro. Figure out what resources you have at your disposal and make it work. If done correctly, your clients will think that you’re a miracle worker!
Empathy is a hallmark of a successful travel agent
Travel arrangements can go sideways fast even when you do all the right things throughout the booking process. Airlines are delayed, bags get lost, and clients get sick…things happen! Just because an incident is not your fault, doesn’t mean that you show zero compassion. Be your client’s advocate whenever you possibly can. Use your experience to take up their cause with airlines and travel insurance underwriters. If there is truly nothing that you can do, offer your best suggestions and your genuine empathy. Be a listening ear and make them feel both heard and understood.