Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,
Revisiting the age-old question: which came first, the chicken or the egg?
When I first started my career as a travel agent, the only countries I had ever been to were Brazil (born and raised) and the U.S. (Los Angeles), where I moved in 1988. How could I sell another destination without “experiencing” it?
The use of computers was in the earliest stages, so I used books, videos and maps as resources and even more importantly, CREATIVITY! I FAKED IT UNTIL I COULD AFFORD TO VISIT IT! This is also how I became a country collector; so far, I have been to 86. Not a shabby number!
I definitely believe in taking advantage of FAM Trips in order to sell a destination, but I trust those who do their due diligence by learning all of the information they need to help a client much more. I did it myself, and I know that it is not only possible, but seeing a place is not enough to teach ourselves all we need to know and make sure everything is covered in order to help a client have the best trip.
Caring and life experience are two essential factors that make using a travel advisor a more successful experience for your client. By caring, you will better understand your client’s expectations, and with your own life experience, you will know that many times what the client is saying is not necessarily what he/she really means. These components carry much more weight than knowing what the temperature of the water on the beach is, or how many restaurants are open in the resort. Knowing that your client needs a resort that will take care of their kids full time and finding the perfect kid friendly/safe resort for their family is much more important.
Once you have the opportunity to visit all the places on your bucket list you will do it, in your own time. Know that this will not only be a legitimate business expense, but also the cherry on top of your cake!