Having worked as a Travel Agent in Sydney, I’d like to share my knowledge about selling travel with you. I also give tips for getting better deals and discounts when booking through a travel agent.
In the first two posts in this series, I talked about the importance of getting to know your customers and how to sell travel to groups. When you get enough personal information about your customer, it makes it a lot easier to find a relevant travel product and sell it in the end.
Some travel agents work for years with the same customer and develop a great relationship that makes it easier for them to select a product they will love. But even if you work with an ever-changing group of customers, you can use your personal skills to get a better contact with the customerand help them find a travel product that fits them well.
Travel Agent Skills: Building Rapport
If the customer doesn’t like you personally or thinks you’re just there to take their money, they won’t buy anything. It’s as simple as that. They will listen to you, but then take the product and buy it somewhere else, probably.
If customers know you’re there to help them and that you take the time to listen and understand their travel plans, they will be far more likely to book anything, and they probably come back to you for more information as well.
TIP: Let the customer know you would like to hear how their trip went, to share their experience and photos on your companies Facebook Page / Website, etc.
Make the trip insightful
The customer needs to be able to picture themselves in the chosen destination. They need to feel the sand on their feet, the sun in their face and the wind in their hairs.
TIP: Explain exactly the kind of experience they can have and use photo’s, video’s, stories from other customers or your own experience to do that.
Know the product you’re selling
Nothing is more easy than selling a travel product you’ve tried and are excited about yourself. And I don’t mean that in a vacuum-selling-kind of way (‘I have the same one at home!’).
Take every chance you get to familiarize yourself with the travel products you sell. Write down customer experiences, go to travel shows/expo’s, so-called ‘famils’ (product tests, usually on invitation), product trainings and social events. Ask questions to the representatives of the company and let them know you’re interested in getting to know the product even better. Keep those business cards and don’t forget to hand out your own.
TIP: For those of you who really want to get into the travel industry, and maybe even pick up some good slang words, make sure you check out the Travel Industry Dictionary.
Don’t pretend to know it all
In times when customers have easy access to the internet and know so much about destinations and products, it’s almost impossible to know the answer to all of their questions. They don’t expect you to know it either, so whenever there is something you don’t know for sure, call someone who does, or explain to the customer that you’ll look it up for them and get back to them.
TIP: It’s better to check something than to pretend you know the answer and to give false information to your customer! They will find out.
Be clear and repeat yourself
Especially with customers that don’t speak the language of the country you’re in very well, it is very important that you are clear to the customer and that they understand what they book. But this counts for everyone you sell a product to, of course.
Make sure the customer leaves with a clear view on things such as: pick up time and location, what to bring, what to pay on arrival, extra (hidden) costs, etc.
TIP: Print them a checklist (usually comes with the product you sell) and get that marker pen out! Let them sign what you sold them, so there’s no mistake in what they booked and what the policy from the company is (about cancellations, etc.)