How YOU can Travel Full Time & Make Money on Social Media - 10 Tips to become a Digital Nomad
How to Make Money As a Travel Agent
As a travel agent, you generally earn money on commissions and fees. While finding those commissions is important, it's equally important to draw customers in and meet their needs to the best of your ability. Without customers, you have no way of earning commissions, which is why networking and making sales should be one of the main focuses of your job.
Learning Your Trade to Earn Commissions
Focus on high-end customers.Most people use the internet to book travel these days.The exception to this rule is people who have more expendable cash. These people tend to have less time to make their own arrangements, and they are willing to spend the cash to have you do it. Focusing on this crowd will help you use your time and resources wisely.
Look for the commissions.Many companies, including some airlines, have stopped paying commissions to travel agents. You must look for the hotels, cruises, and resorts that do still pay commissions. Generally, the more expensive resorts and cruises are the ones that are more likely to pay commissions.
Be upfront about fees.Because commissions have become less commonplace, many agents now charge a fee to clients on certain packages or destinations, particularly if they don't want to go someplace where you'll be able to bank a commission. Tell the client upfront what you charge, so they won't be surprised later.
- Typically, you'll charge a fee for custom packages that require more extensive planning.
Make every interaction professional.From your emails to your phone calls, staying professional will help you stand out as a top-notch agent. You should, of course, still try to connect with your client, but make sure you keep your emails polished and poised and your conversations clean and engaging. Dirty jokes and cussing are off limits!
Train yourself to be an expert in your field.To help meet the customers' needs, you need to be able to discuss your destinations and packages with confidence. Traveling to the locations you book can help, but so can gathering stories and photos from other customers. Find industry shows, such as travel expos and product trainings you can attend. Read about the locations using travel books and informational websites. The more you know, the better prepared you'll be to serve your clients.
Specialize in a specific area.Narrowing down what you specialize in gives you a chance to become an expert in a certain area. Plus, it makes it easier for you to draw people in, as you have a niche they can connect to.
- You could specialize in certain kinds of trips or in specific areas or types of destinations. For instance, maybe your main focus could be European spa retreats, family vacations across the U.S., or East Asia excursions.
Provide complimentary extras to surprise your clients.Everyone loves getting something for free, so when you add little things to a trip for your clients, they'll remember it. For this to work, you must get to know your clients well and learn about what they need and want.
- For instance, you could set up a free small tour of the city or offer a complimentary glass of wine when they arrive at their hotel.
Meeting Customers' Needs
Build relationships instead of being a pushy salesperson.Being a travel agent is a sales job in part. However, most people want to feel like they know and trust their travel agent. They don't want to feel like you're always trying to sell them something they don't want.
- In other words, when you're networking and trying to gain new customers, spend time asking them about their job and home life before going into what you do.
Be responsive to what your customers want.When you're chatting with a new client, take time to ask them what they're ideal vacation is. Ask about the kinds of hotels and activities they prefer and the experiences they enjoy. Getting to know your customer means you can better meet their needs.
- Try asking them about an ideal vacation they've been on in the past, including what they liked and disliked about it.
Put together advanced packages.These days, anyone can go online and book a hotel or airplane ticket. What your customers need you for is the more complicated trips. Your clients are likely able to book a weekend getaway to a nearby city. However, a river cruise in a foreign country is a bit more complicated, and you're just the person to help clients navigate it.
Provide enough detail to your clients for them to feel comfortable.Most people prefer to know exactly what they're getting into. Once a person books with you, make sure you give them all the information they need, including how much things are going to cost, what they're going to need to take with them, and where and when they need to be places.
Marketing Your Services
Show customers the value you offer.Many people may not see why they should use a travel agent. However, you know that you can handle things like coordinating group travel and booking international trips more smoothly than the average person can. Use this to your advantage by marketing yourself as someone who can make trips hassle-free.
Use discounts to bring in customers.Most customers don't realize that as a travel agent, you can often get better deals than they can. Use this to help draw customers in. Few people can resist a good deal!
Have visual aids on hand.When you're working with a customer, you need to help them experience what the trip will be like. If you can have them picturing themselves on the beach with sand in their toes, they're more likely to commit.
- The best way to help someone visualize a trip is to have videos and photos from the location, either ones you took or ones a customer took.
- Anecdotes about the area also a great way to get someone interested. For instance, you could tell them about the best meal you had while there.
Memorize your elevator pitch.You should be able to say in 3 sentences or fewer exactly what makes your company different. That way, if you meet someone who's interested, you're ready to tell them what they need to know about you.
- For instance, you're pitch might be, "I'm actually a travel agent! I focus on adventure-filled trips filled with excursions that make you feel like a native! Most people love the packages I've created for places like Vietnam and Singapore, and I'd be happy to customize a package to your liking."
Use social media to your advantage.Social media is great for building a customer base and creating a community. Start by engaging customers with content they can use, such as information about various destinations or tips for traveling. As it grows, use the page to gently nudge your customers towards your products.
Create a professional web page.While social media is important, having your own website makes you seem like a consummate professional. Your website should make it clear what your travel focus is, and it should provide an introduction to you. It should also have a way for clients to get in contact with you.
- It's also a good idea to have a way for clients to book on your website. That way, they can do so at their convenience.
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