Great Agents Go Exploring
Following the industry night of nights, what makes a great travel agent in 2018?
My first “what makes for a good agent story“ focused a lot more on agencies than agents. Since then have been hundreds more agent interactions and hundreds of thousands more bookings through roomsXML and now Stuba.
With directors and management in the UK, India, Australia and Dubai, Stuba has opened up a lot more conversations on what makes for a good agent, travel agency and travel agency group at a global level.
Great agents are searchers, explorers, discoverers. Here are four examples;
Been there, doing that
Generic “out of office” email responses are annoying. Slightly less frustrating is the “I’m currently on a trip” auto responder. The best is “I am currently in Botswana finding new ground operators for your next amazing adventure. Read about it here on my blog… Or I will be in touch when I’m next online!”.
Actively taking part in product development is exciting for customers. It shows your passion and excitement.
Locating new clients and winning the numbers game
Online travel agencies have created more complex patterns of customer churn. Global patterns suggest that if customers leave their agent, they book their own holiday once or twice and often end up back with an agent, but often not their own. Can you go back to your old hairdresser? Same for people coming back to agents.
Catch them on the rebound. An award-winning real estate agent told me once “It’s a numbers game Mark – I make hundreds of phone calls a week and hopefully you remember me when it comes to selling your house “. Be there, be available and be visible but also go searching
Sourcing product knowledge and options
Put it this way – good agents are not just booking Expedia because their customer requests an Expedia price match… They have multiple suppliers (for both price and product) and are not afraid to offer the “left of field” options which gives them a chance to show off their expertise and something that just a little exciting.
Maybe it’s the trip they go on next time.
Technology, reviews and building the narrative
It’s one thing to have thousands of options, but you don’t want to drown in a sea of plenty.
You’ve demonstrated you’re an active agent, you found your customer, you’ve got an idea of where they want to go and now the sorts of funky search tools that Stuba have built give agents access to narrative that builds a dream and finds the perfect match for each individual client.
It’s not just about locking in this sale, but about exciting them for the next. Get this one right and they will be back.