Ask for referrals, specialize and know how to upsell
Travel Agents have made it through the Internet and OTAs, commission caps and cuts, and direct booking channels. They’re not only surviving, they’re thriving. So what should a travel agent do to stay successful in the years ahead?
Ask for referrals, specialize and know how to upsell.
Anyone who’s ever asked for a referral for their services knows how awkward it can be. Agents can feel like they’re tooting their own horn, or that they’re imposing, or worry that the client will turn them down, jeopardizing the relationship.
However, referrals are key to building a successful business, even though the vast majority of agencies don’t do it. An incentive can work wonders. There are agents who gives clients new business credits towards their next trip when they refer a friend.
A growing trend for many years now, specialties are the driver behind brands like Travel Leaders Network’s success. On TL Network members can post their contact details and specialties on the site as part of TL Network’s Agent Profiler lead generation tool.
One agent, who listed herself as a Costa Rica specialist in her profile, wound up with a group booking for 80 people to Costa Rica.
Agents need to perfect the art of upselling. It’s not a hard sell, it’s suggestive selling. With global economic cycles being what they are, travel and tourism are headed for a downturn, and that might be a wake up call for agents who have enjoyed several years of booming sales after the post-2008 recovery.
When the economy contracts, travel spending drops slightly. No matter what the client’s travel budget is, travel agents still have an edge on OTAs though, especially in the times of bespoke travel and the seemingly insatiable desire for one-of-a-kind travel experiences.
The social media posts prove that more and more people are looking for unique experiences. That is really hard to find online, it’s so much easier to call someone who’s an expert so take pride in your position and don’t be afraid to make some additional recommendations.
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