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Rise to the Top

Written by  Katie Hultgren

HultgrenKatie
Not only are travel agents competing for business from online travel agencies, there is also healthy competition between travel agents themselves. As with most businesses, not all are created equally - some have advantages over others, but travelers don’t know what makes your business stand apart unless you tell them. How can you make your agency shine brighter than the rest, and be the best in this business that you can be?

For starters, you need to decide on who you are as a travel agent. What type of training and expertise do you have? What types of travel do you enjoy planning? What motivates you? People are best at what they enjoy and feel confident doing - so if you are a Caribbean sales expert, you may be less confident selling tours of India. But if you are an expert in the Caribbean - that sets you apart from all of the India experts!
Be different than everyone else. Stand out by doing things your own special way - decide what it is that sets you apart from other travel agents, and make that your focus in your marketing and sales efforts. For example, if you always remember and mention something personal about your client’s previous travel experiences, or something else that they have shared with you, they will feel special and your business relationship will become more of a personal one - so you provide Personal Service. People appreciate and remember the smallest things you do for them - add a small token of appreciation to their information packet, have a bottle of wine delivered to their room upon arrival to their destination, send birthday and holiday greeting cards - so you provide Added Value.
Be more visible. Volunteer to “talk travel” at church, school, or senior groups, anywhere people will listen. Use social media to spread your views. Share your love of the industry, spread your enthusiasm for what you do. You can inspire people to travel, and they will want to work with you to make it happen.
Be the best that you can be. It is so easy to fall into a routine, and lose inspiration. Don’t let that happen - keep your passion for helping people travel, and it will shine through. Anything worth doing is worth your best effort. People will take notice when you always come through with a smile. They will be more likely to refer you to anyone they know looking for a good travel agent.
There are people who question the need for a travel agent. You have the power to prove that not only do they need an agent, they need YOU to plan their travel.

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