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Industry leaders kick off 2022 with top tips for travel advisors

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“Experiences will reign in 2022 and there will be plenty of opportunities to upsell these to their clients,” shares Carilis Felipe, director of field sales, AIC Hotel Group.
“Experiences will reign in 2022 and there will be plenty of opportunities to upsell these to their clients,” shares Carilis Felipe, director of field sales, AIC Hotel Group. Photo Credit: Gettyimages/Kar-Tr

The travel landscape is ever-changing these days. It can be a bit unpredictable, which creates challenges for travel advisors.

While advisors are always there for their clients, the job certainly isn’t easy, especially in today’s times. Top executives in the travel industry share their best advice for travel advisors to start 2022.

Start slow, but stay on course

“There's lots of good tips. I think if I had to narrow it down, I would say it's a combination of now's the time for them to put a price to their expertise, then they should not be afraid to charge for their services and they should start even slow such as posting a cancellation fee,” Scott Wiseman, senior vice president and general manager of ALG Vacations Corporation, said.

"So they could say to the client: ‘I did all of this work and even though you cancelled, you might get your money back from the cancel for any reason insurance, I still need to be compensated for my work and my efforts.’ I think it's time to put a dollar amount to it and to really monetize what they're doing, and now is that the perfect opportunity to do that. So that would be my big advice. Make yourself earn more through all the things that you're actually doing for your client,” Wiseman added.

Patience is a virtue

“I would remind [advisors] of that old adage that patience is a virtue. I have heard from so many travel advisors about how many times they've had to rebook and rebook an experience due to this pandemic and my heart goes out to them because it's got to be challenging, but exhale, be patient. We will get through this,” Terry Dale, president and CEO of United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) said.

Stay agile and nimble to prepare for the unexpected

“In addition to just keeping flexibility and patience, have some backup plans in mind and even if they're templated for your clients. But if you're client is buying this, have something in mind to switch them to if something happens that whether it's a different destination, you know, moving from a river cruise to a land cruise or whatever it is just to have some backup plans," Elizabeth Crabill, CEO of CIE Tours International, said.

Stand out from the crowd

Jeff Roy, executive vice president of Collette believes advisors “should be selling the value that they provide, and they should differentiate themselves on service. There's a lot of changes all the time between booking and departure…there's a lot of information going out from us on pre-travel requirements to on tour requirements and re-entry requirements…take any of that pressure off their customers and differentiate their service and they would command probably a higher price for the package because that's really people looking for right now.”

Another way for travel agents to differentiate themselves, and to personally reach out to potential clients, according to Carilis Felipe, director of field sales at AIC Hotel Group would be to “engage with customers on social media, especially Instagram and TikTok. Experiences will reign in 2022 and there will be plenty of opportunities to upsell these to their clients.”

Choose the right partners

Charlie Ball, executive vice president of Holland America Group, said: “If your customers have an opportunity to carefully and accurately fill out any pre-trip information they [should] invest the time and energy to do it and to look at their itineraries carefully. For any travel agent who's choosing vacations, find partners that won’t leave the customer stranded. We're still in a period of time where difficult things happen to nobody's fault and different companies have different policies about getting their guests home. Choose people that will stand behind you as an agent."

Source: TravelPulse

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