How much does your time cost?

Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,

Last week we talked about not wasting your time with prospective clients who are not serious about your efforts. Those who shop around and expect you to work for “free.”

This time I want to address the suppliers you reach out to in order to book trips for your clients. Lately, I have seen many posts showing pictures or screenshots of how long you have spent on the phone waiting to book, or to change a booking with a “vendor,” a cruise line, a hotel chain, resort, etc.

Since the pandemic, the number of phone calls has increased astronomically, and to help with the demand, many new “agents” have been hired with very little training. Every time you are being put on hold, this “new” agent is trying to get the information through a colleague (who is also busy on another call) or through a manager (who is overwhelmed by so many requests). It depends on the phone system – but while you are on hold, the same agent is answering another call until he/she gets an answer to help with your call. Can you visualize this situation now?

By the end of this call, you are frustrated. By the time you get your commission and divide it by the number of hours you have invested in this booking (not even getting paid for pain and suffering!) you probably made $2/hour.

How can you avoid this? First and foremost, on every phone call, identify yourself with your first and last name and ask the other person for their first and last name. Ask them to spell it for you. Be nice, say something cute, like: Oh, what a lovely name, or I like how your name is spelled. Write their name, the date and time on a note pad (Yes, I am an old fashioned) or on the computer. Start to ask your question and IF you feel that this person does not know enough, ask for their supervisor or simply hang up. Don’t get frustrated! Start the same process again until you get someone with lots of knowledge within that company. If you are calling to change a booking, make sure you get a confirmation number (even joke that you want their blood type as well!) to make sure EVERYTHING was documented in the computer.

With their complete name, date and time, you can send a written compliment or complain to the supplier. This is the one tool you have to make sure they keep the good employees and get rid of or give the right training to the bad ones. SPEAK UP to your BDMs give them your list of the bad agents and the good ones. Ask for the direct number for the good ones. Until you and everyone else SPEAKS UP, there is no reason for the supplier to invest in proper training if they can just hire enough people to answer the enormous volume of phone calls.

Now you decide. How much does your time cost?

Cheering for you!

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What turns you off?

Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,

Did the subject of this blog make you wonder what am I talking about? Well, it is about dealing with clients and prospective ones.

I will start by telling you what used to turn me off. It was when prospective clients would call and before we could develop a nice conversation, the first thing I heard was that they were already working with another travel agent, but they wanted to give me a chance to beat that price.

Well, that really ticked me off. I used to say that I was sure they had gotten the best price, but I wasn’t sure about the service. That would make them very curious, and they then wanted to know why my service would be better than the other travel agent’s. I went to say that my kind of clients don’t go shopping around for price or service, and I do not work with shoppers. I would ask them to please call me back when they were serious to get the right service and price and pay my service fee of (advised my price).

Sometimes I would get an itinerary by email with price and the name of another company with a request to reprice it and send it back. I would simply send it back with a note: “Great job! Good for you!”

I understand that travel agents/advisors need clients and it is hard to set boundaries when we depend on the good word of clients to say how nice, kind and caring we are. But there is a big difference between being nice and feeling used. If you ever feel used or that someone is wasting your time, STOP, and set the boundaries. The right clients and prospective ones will respect you and the ones who are there only to use and take advantage of you are the wrong ones – let them go!

Cheering for you!

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Blogs @ http://www.travelwithrosana.com

 

Give me more reasons, please

Here it is – me again, bragging about travel agents. Why do I want travel agents to shine? What is it that travel agents have so much more of than search engines do? If you ask my opinion, I believe it is everything!

Travel agents have a sense of humor, empathy, feelings and opinions.  They really care for their clients and want to succeed for them. They love their clients and want that feeling to be mutual. They want their clients to refer them to friends and family. They will go to battle for their clients. When their clients are abroad, they are only a “WhatsApp” or a phone call away.

They build relationships, and learn all they can about destinations, hotels, airlines and other trip details to prevent stress for their clients before their wonderful trip. Travel agents treat their client’s trip as carefully as they would for their own family, and will work hard to make everything perfect.

Travel agents spend hours learning how to be the best they can be, and will talk to other travel agents to find the best vendors, the best hotels, and airlines. They will look for mentors, coaches and experienced travel advisors for tips and guidance.

Search engines “may be” cheaper (I am only saying that they “may be” because they very often don’t point out the fine print that travelers later learn about at the destination!) And forget about opinions, feelings and all the other qualities of an agent I describe above; by using a search engine, travelers are basically on their own! Smart travelers look for travel agents, and will keep coming back!

Travel agents shine, no matter who the President is, what economy we have, or even what budget the clients are working with. Travel agents SHINE!

Feel free to repost or copy and paste this on your site! Prospective clients deserve to know better, and your clients should know how smart they are!

Proud of you!
Rosana


Follow me at:
Facebook @travelwithrosana
Instagram @travelwithrosana
Blogs @ http://www.travelwithrosana.com