Making Sales Even Easier


Dear Travel Agents,

This blog post is for the newbies, the nice people, and those who like to go the extra mile to please their clients. If you are not in those categories, this blog will not make a difference in your business, but you are welcome to read as well. But for those who qualify, this is a MUST and hopefully these words will help you and your business.

I like to believe that the client is always right when they say nice things about me, when they are easy to work with, when their expectations are real, and when there is a mutual respect between all parties. In my mind, life would be best if we could always say that the “clients are always right.”

But truth to be told, they are human beings and some of them have incredible expectations. In other words, champagne tastes with less than a beer budget. Some try to bargain on everything and expect quality, or they are simply rude.

You, as a newbie, a nice person, or just in need of a client, think that by trying to accommodate that prospective client’s wishes, you will get a happy client. No! You will get upset, have regrets and ultimately a suffer from a headache or stomachache, and/or think about giving up, and/or believe you are not cut out for this job.

Guess what? Have you ever dealt with a toddler, or a bratty teenager, or even a dog that chews on your stuff? You need to nicely show them who is the boss by demonstrating that you know better. Use the words, “trust me on this one” or “in my experience” or “my best clients go” or “I am a travel agent, not a magician” and set your own limits.

I can tell you that most of my nightmare prospective clients became my best clients because I told them – without insulting them – that what they wanted from a commercial flight, for example, doesn’t exist so far, but I would let them know as soon as an airline created a flight from LAX to Morocco non-stop – just because they don’t like to change planes.

Joking with them helps a lot, because you can pretend that their rudeness, unrealistic expectations, or “stupidity” is an intentional joke on their part. Laugh and make it lighter. Don’t laugh at them, laugh with them, and make them your friend.

Feel free to pick my brain before you get a stomachache or feel like giving up.

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Agents or Advisors


Dear Travel Agents and Advisors,

Today, I began my blog by being inclusive and making sure to call you, my travel agents, also advisors.

Paraphrasing my friend Doug Cooke, I am glad ASTA didn’t have to change their name since “agent” and “advisor” both begin with “A.”

Some people prefer to be called Travel Advisors while others happily continue to consider themselves Travel Agents. If you want my opinion, and since I am ready to give it anyway, it doesn’t matter what we call ourselves. First of all, what matters most is that they do call. Then, they need to treat our jobs with respect, consider the amount of work that we do, and finally, show appreciation by booking.

This also reminds me the other side of the coin. I have heard the comment over and over again that if someone can book his/her own travel, that person is already a travel agent. With all due respect, even if I can cut my own hair, that doesn’t make me a hairdresser. Even if I think I can do a good job on myself; to be a considered a real hairdresser, I need proper training.

So, Travel Agents or Travel Advisors – have your name and preferred title on your business card, social media and everywhere else you want to promote yourself, but don’t forget that ASTA and other associations and even myself as a coach, are cheering and proud of you. Specialize, give 100%, and all prospective clients will come back and also refer you to friends, family and acquaintances. Maybe they will say my Travel Agent was awesome, or my Travel Advisor was incredible – but whichever they call you – take it as a compliment. Don’t correct them, after all the client is always right!

Wishing you all the best,

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Getting Commission


Dear Travel Agents,

In my last blog we talked about respecting the partnership between travel agents and tour operators.

It was then brought to my attention that cruise lines are approaching clients directly with discounts, trying to take the travel agent out of the equation.

I want to offer my 2 cents (hopefully worth more than that) about this matter: I don’t have a CLIA membership, nor do I sell cruises – but I love to go on them. I use my own travel agent to book cruises. And, I personally take advantage of discounts for future cruises offered during the cruise that I am on. I can tell for sure:

  • The cruise expert on the cruise does not get commission because I asked, and she/he told me I could go back with my bunch of paper offers, analyze which ones make the most sense for me, and come back to ANY ONE of his/her colleagues and put a down payment on the cruise of my choice.
  • The first thing they confirmed was the name of my travel agent, and they asked me if I wanted to keep the same agent. I asked if I went directly though the cruise line if I would get any discount or perk. The answer was NO.
  • They told me that I have 90 days to change the name of my travel agent, or the commission on the future cruise will go to the original travel agent on the file.

After I got my booking, I called my travel agent and I got an extra discount on the cruise.  Honestly, I was so excited to follow up with her, I didn’t give her a chance to get the booking first and call me.

My suggestion is to keep following up with your clients and let them know that on top of all the perks and discounts they can get directly from the cruise line, you can get them extra discounts.

Promote your name, and remind your clients of your agency’s name, there are lots of little gifts and promotions the cruise line can send on your behalf.

If the gifts are costly, and you’d rather give them in the form of discounts to your clients, send your clients an email telling them that.

I haven’t tried all cruise lines, but I’ve tried many of them. I am not going to say which one is my favorite because that is not the point of this blog post.  But, if you have had a different experience and a cruise line took your client, I would like to hear about that.

Meanwhile, keep cruising and selling cruises!

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Trust and be trusted!



Dear Travel Agents,

I want to discuss an important issue that comes up from time to time, for different reasons. The issue is what to do when you or your clients are approached by the tour guide at the end of the trip with a comment that suggests that the next time you’re booking travel, you should book directly with the tour guide or the company they work for, in order to save lots of money.

Sounds enticing, doesn’t it?

Let me give you my opinion on this matter, and don’t worry, I will not be judging the morals in this case, but simply analyzing the facts:

  • Most of these companies and people in these foreign countries have no representation in the US or Canada, so payments and money need to be wired to a foreign country.
  • These companies don’t pay commission, so you will need to add your profit, create a contract directly with your client, and you’ll then be 100% responsible for the tour package.
  • If any change needs to be made to the itinerary, you’ll need to contact them (good luck with that!)
  • In the event that your client has any problems during the trip, you’ll need to contact the foreign number, or even take a flight over there.
  • If the person or company disappears after you’ve paid or given a deposit, you’ll have a claim against you that hopefully, your insurance will pay.

Well, as I said, I won’t be judging the morals of this situation, but IF after you’ve read all these reasons and still believe it is a good idea, in order to make more money from your client or “save” money on your next trip by booking directly with someone who doesn’t respect his/her partnerships; think of how you would you feel if the tour company or cruise line approached your clients and tried to take you, the travel agent, out of the deal!

Honestly, I think that people should treat each other with more respect. The world – even the beautiful travel world – would be a better place.

With respect and gratitude,

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Let’s talk about Social Media


Dear Travel Agents,

Many of you have approached me to ask which social media channels are more effective, how to promote your businesses better and whether or not you should pay for advertising on them.

I also have been approached by many who “sell” followers, or those who have a special way to teach me/us to promote on social media.

This is how I feel about social media:

  • People behave in life the same way as they do on social media: integrity, caring, honesty, positivity, focus, etc.
  • What you give is what you get: don’t just post your “stuff” and expect others to “like,” “love,” and comment on your posts. You need to give back, show your “friends” and “followers” that you care about their posts as well.
  • Facebook and Instagram: I follow back all who follow me, but only those that have to do with travel agents or tour operators. I am not looking for anything else, such as hair extensions or fitness programs. It is about consistency, and not the number of followers. It makes it easier to like and comment on their posts!
  • I personally use the app “Mass Delete” for Instagram. I don’t know if this is the best, but I am pretty happy with it. I find many “smart” people following me on Instagram, and once I follow them back, they “dump” me. This way, their number of followers go up. With this app I know who is not following me anymore, so I can unfollow back. By the way, that is a way (not a nice one) to increase followers.
  • You can definitely promote yourself and your company with social media by giving more of yourself. Many people think that they can fool others and make-believe on social media but truly, like in real life, that is short lived.
  • The more you give, the more you get, and like with real friends, be honest, caring, trustworthy and respectful to all. Forget the negativity, and those who just need you to be one more follower.

Cheering for you!

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