Is that expensive?


Dear Travel Agent,

Let’s talk about a very common mistake that people make when they use the word expensive. Every time someone uses the word expensive, they are also making a judgement. A judgement is a characteristic that is determined by a person, but not by a search engine.

As travel agents, we need to get rid of any judgement when quoting a price to a client or a prospective one. The only thing we are entitled to do is provide is a reality check (when the budget is too small for what they are requesting), so we do not waste anyone’s time.

But, the word or notion of expensive should be erased from any travel agent’s brain. I have seen clients coming in with a budget of $10,000 per person to destinations like Tanzania in high season (migration), and who then ended up spending over $20,000 per person for accommodations, private tours and vehicles, once everything else was included.

Remember that what someone else’s priority is, may not necessarily be yours. What someone else’s lifestyle is, is not necessarily yours, so do not pass any judgement by thinking that anything is expensive, or even worse – saying it!

I strongly believe that this is one important factor for the success of any travel agent. Once all judgement is off the table, clients will feel much more understood and comfortable in recommending their travel agent to friends and family they really like.

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Show it off!


Dear Travel Agent,

We all know that travel agents get their commission when they sell a tour. But how do travel agents tell their prospective clients how different they are from an average sales person, and from search engines? They need to SHOW IT OFF!


Let’s make a list of many attributes of a good travel agent, as compared to just a salesperson, or a search engine:

  • knowledge
  • caring
  • communication
  • some can offer specialization
  • time
  • patience
  • sense of humor
  • offering opinions and ideas
  • truthfulness

Some travel agents are stronger in some areas than others, but all travel agents definitely have greater strengths in these areas as compared to a simple sales person or a search engine.

My recommendation is to learn more about yourself, explore more about who you really are, and SHOW IT OFF to everyone, everywhere. Let your clients and prospective ones know where you shine, and they will come to you.

In my opinion, a great attribute to have is a sense of humor. Working with a travel agent who has a sense of humor makes planning any trip much more fun. A nice way for you to show off your sense of humor would be to show pictures or funny cartoons about travel, fun facts about different destinations, and funny quotes about travel or life experience on your different social media platforms. Combining that with other attributes you have, enable you to show how special you are without using a CV or a resume.

People can read between the lines. You will attract the right clients by posting clues about your attributes in a creative way. Be positive and pleasant – after all, there is too much negativity on social media. The more positive you stay, the more you will reach the right target.

Remember that it is not the number of clients you have, but the quality of those clients who will bring you greater results. At the end of the day, it is better to feel rewarded, and not overwhelmed by the wrong type of clients.

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Twitter @travelRosana


Be yourself, it works!


Dear Travel Agents,

I’d be rich if I got $1 every time I heard someone make one of the following statements: if only I could be more like her/him; be more assertive; charge a fee for my services; tell clients upfront not to waste my time; or…  Every time a travel agent comes to me for an advice with matters like these, I tell them – be yourself, everyone else is already taken. DO, SAY and TREAT your clients the way you would feel comfortable being treated. Don’t try to imitate someone else, otherwise, you will not be YOU.

Learn from your own mistakes and try to correct the best way you can, not by being someone else, but by being you.

For those who are not comfortable charging fees for your services, take my advice to avoid feeling used.

I always tell travel agents not to multitask when talking to a client or prospective ones; be 100% present and listen to them. Ask the important questions:

  • where?
  • when?
  • how many people?
  • how much is the budget?

How does the client (or prospective one) sound?

  • very assertive with their answers?
  • flaky and not so sure?
  • so automatic it sounds like they have said this over and over?
  • multitasking and not 100% there?

The answers to these questions provide you with big clues about who is seriously booking, who is shopping around, and who is just browsing and wasting a travel agent’s time.

For the flaky ones I usually say with my sarcastic sense of humor (that is who I am!) to call me back when they are ready to book, and have done all of the “homework” (answering my questions).

For the ones who speak like an automated computer, I ask them to send me what they perceive to be a good itinerary. About 90% of the time, they will forward me another travel agent’s itinerary. Then I ask if they are looking for a better price or service. Now we know who we are dealing with.

For the multi-tasking ones, I ask when is a better time to talk so we can both be totally present with no distractions during this important conversation.

Most of the time, when you will get the assertive and ready to book ones, after listening carefully you’ll be able to get them a quote.

Follow up on the same day with your quote, and if it will take few days to prepare, keep them posted and in the loop.

Sometimes you will be wrong, and the ones you thought were so ready to book will never respond to you, even after you have followed up a few times. It is normal to take it personally. After all, we are humans – I have felt that feeling many times. But for a moment, consider how childish and scared this person is behaving. Instead of wearing the big-boy pants and saying something like: Sorry, I am not interested now, or, Something came up, but I will get back to you in the future. Instead, this childish and immature person would rather burn all bridges with you, and not respond at all. Shame on her/him.

You have now learned about that person – not to work with him/her for free again, or not to work with them again at all. But you shouldn’t change yourself. After all, there are a lot of people very eager to have a travel agent just like YOU!

Follow me at:
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Instagram @travelwithrosana
Twitter @travelRosana
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First Time Travelers


Dear Travel Agents,

I love following the threads on Facebook in the different groups I belong to. It is fun to see other people’s opinions, and I love to learn from them.

An interesting question recently discussed was what do you, as a travel agent, suggest to a person who has never traveled before?

I like to believe that a person who has never travel before and is looking for a travel agent, is thinking about traveling to a foreign country much more than traveling locally.

My reply in that online discussion was to suggest travel to an English-speaking country. To be perfectly honest, my opinion would be to suggest travel to any country where the person feels comfortable with the language. So, for Spanish speakers I would suggest a Spanish speaking country, and so on.

I remember the first time my husband and I went abroad after coming to the US from Brazil. We traveled to Spain and Portugal because we are both fluent in Portuguese and Spanish. Even though we had a tour package, we felt comfortable knowing we could speak to the locals and understand them.

Some travel agents suggested a cruise. That is a very specific suggestion. Some travelers would be uncomfortable thinking about being on water all the time. Others find a large ship overwhelming and sometimes crowded. Honestly, one only knows after having the experience, but it would not be my first choice. They will either love it, or hate you for suggesting it. LOL!

I was interested to note that some travel agents suggested local places, or countries where one doesn’t need a passport for entry. To me, this compares to when a kid is about 16 and starting to drive with a permit. They always need a responsible adult or someone with a driver’s license next to them while driving. How great it then feels to finally pass the exam and have your own driver’s license! They can then drive freeways, roads, and anywhere they want to.  Having a passport is important for all citizens. It allows them to feel the freedom to book a trip anywhere they can visualize and dream. The expiration date is as long as a person’s dream and bucket list. Each page holds the secret of a destination, and the owner of that passport has the right to fill it.

Follow me at:
Facebook @travelwithrosana
Instagram @travelwithrosana
Twitter @travelRosana