Travel agents can decide to offer different types of services for clients. Whatever areas you specialize in some things are true for all agents. All travel agents will engage in booking both airline and hotel accommodations. Below are more specific tasks that will help you grow and maintain your travel agency.
- You have to qualify your clients: Just like in real estate you don’t want to spend a bunch of time researching travel arrangements just to find out they are ready to travel or worst don’t have the cash to pay. Take some time to talk to your prospective client. Learn about where your clients want to travel, how they want to travel (don’t assume) some activities they want to take part in, how much they want to pay. Don’t forget to ask how many people will be travelling and the age mix of the entire group. With all this information you can determine whether if you have the products to service this client.
- Record, record, record Consider creating a spreadsheet/ database to organize your client’s information This is when you really get to know your clients, do they need smoking/ non-smoking, are they a frequent flier (can you use those points to lower their costs?). What hotel amenities are a must? I absolutely need a kitchen in my unit when travelling, then a hotel that serves a hot breakfast. This is helpful when booking future trips for these clients and giving them a customized experience every time!
- Researching travel destinations: You should be a “know it all.” Your client will depend on you knowing what is trendy in the area, what is fun to do (beyond the visitor’s guide), places you must visit and places to avoid. Use the internet. Unconventional sites like groupon and living social help with finding local activities & services.
- Managing your leads: Leads are like an unrefined diamond, you have to work with it a bit before seeing its true value. Don’t let those leads just sit there, they must be nurtured and you will gain the full benefit. You should have a website or social media platform to attract new clients. Check your email & messages to keep up with new requests & client questions. Create an email that will answer the FAQs most people have to send as an auto-responder.
- Home office: Well you may have to be an administration assistant including answering phones, checking email and snail mail (lol), handling accounts payables/receivables and paying bills. You’ll also have to track profit/loss +file and store paperwork, stock office supplies like brochures, business cards, promo guides, ink etc. . .
- Managing Staff Members: The best problem your business can have is to need to hire staff. When you are at the point when your one man show must expand prepare yourself for some of the responsibilities of an owner/ manager. You’ll have to interview, hire & train employees, create work schedules, manage payroll and resolve arising issues that can occur with a growing staff.
- Pursuing professional development opportunities: This can run the gamut from taking a seminar at your local community college to pursuing a degree in hospitality services.
- Networking: No matter what industry you choose getting to know other professionals in your area can be key to you becoming successful. Consider becoming involved in groups/ organizations for travel agents. ABC—Always be Curious! What’s new? What’s available? They more you know the better you can serve your clients.
Bellascove.com offers a database of 1,000’s of destinations worldwide. You can truly be an independent agent, no relationships to build and unlimited booking access for as long as you are a member. You can start your agency for less than $100.