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Tammy the Travel Agent - Inspiration is key to designing travel dreams for your clientsAugust 20, 2015 By: Vacation.com
Some of you may recall, Tammy the Travel Agent, the bright-eyed rookie who was getting the hang of the ropes on her first day a few months ago. At the moment, Tammy is really focused on selling travel, however, is encountering the usual challenges and objection of from clients: time off constraints, budget constraints, why-use-a-travel-agent constraints. We interviewed your fellow travel agents about their most exciting experience based on client feedback and have combined these true stories into Tammy’s fictional sales orientation.
Tammy: Molly, old-wise one, how do I boost my sales? As office manager, this seems to come so easy for you.
Molly: Firstly, if you ever want to sell anything, never use the word “old” on me. Matters concerning sales, consult your fellow agents about their most memorable vacation they booked for a client. You’ll find the secret in their stories.
Tammy: Hi, Roger. Molly referred me to you concerning the most memorable trip you old-timers, urhm, experienced agents have booked. Althought I’m not sure how that is going to help me sell when no one seems to have the time to travel.
Roger: It’s not just about days and numbers. While I am not a number’s guy, did you know the average worker left 3.2 vacation days unused last year? That is 429 million days of earned leave left on the table every year.
You have to educate your clients about the benefits of time off. U.S. Travel has found that employees who take more vacations directly correlate with better performance.
If the U.S. workforce actually used all of their paid-time off, the travel economy would benefit from another $118B in direct spending.
Roger: Take one of my favorite trips for example:
I booked a heritage tour to Portugal for a family of 16. The grandparents wanted a memorable family trip to show their children and grandchildren first hand the history of their ancestors. source: Mary L. of Apex Travel
Roger: The trip forced many of them to take a full week off of work given the travel distance but they resumed their work refreshed and benefitted from the mental reset they needed. Sell more than the numbers, kid - 82% of the time it works.
Tammy: Did you just use numbers to disapprove a focus on numbers?
Roger: Scram! You’re bothering me.
Tammy: Sarah! Hi, I’m hoping to get help overcoming the price constraint I’m hearing from potential clients but Molly asked me to learn about your favorite trip you booked for a client instead.
Sarah: One of the key to success is to not focus on price. That will just be a race to the bottom. You need to bring out the wonders of travel. Don’t talk about the $2,500 spent on the vacation, focus on the memories that they will always be able to keep with them. Most consumer possessions go out of fashion as they age, whereas retelling great travel experiences is always stylish. It’s been scientifically proven that spending money on experiences ‘provide[s] more enduring happiness1”. I’ve never been more proud of my clients that chose to make more memories in one trip than others have in a lifetime:
I had a couple return from an epic bucket list trip. 36 days, 30 cities, 11 flights, 9 hotels, 7 countries, 4 new states, 3 trains, and 2 carry on bags! They made incredible memories! Dancing to "Tale as old as time" in the "Beauty and the Beast" castle, running with the bulls in Spain, putting their love lock on the bridge in Paris, riding bicycles to Versailles, throwing coins in Trevi fountain, a private romantic gondola ride and dinner in Venice, Tuscany by Vespa, bottling their own "private label" Jameson whiskey, and a dinner cruise on the Thames are just a few highlights. I was privileged to watch from home as the entire journey unfolded online. An amazing experience for both of us. source: Paula C. of Camelot World Travel
Cathy: What are you all talking about?
Tammy: Sarah was just telling me about how to handle price objections but I still feel that clients might not see our need as travel agents when they can book the trip themselves.
Cathy: As travel agents, we always hear that OTAs and computers have taken the need for our jobs. If only we just booked trips, that might be true. Some travel moments need a personal touch. The best example I have was when:
I had a young mother come into my office and asked me to assist her in booking a Tahiti Trip. As I asked for her details, she said she would be going alone as her husband was killed on a training mission the night before he was to deploy, the only booking I can say was booked with tears instead of love. source: Janine E. of Travelseeker4u
Cathy: Based on her situation, you can realize this was a very emotional process for my client. She was going on an outward journey to be able to look inward at her soul. You wouldn’t want to leave a trip of this magnitude to a recommendation site that can’t take in all of her factors. As the experts, we know first-hand how to pair experiences and our client’s needs perfectly.
Tammy: Wow. These stories were all great insights. Molly really is an old wise soul.
Molly: I HEARD THAT!!!
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While Tammy's story is fictional, the agent stories intertwined are real experiences that agents shared with us. For many agents the greatest benefit of belonging to a consortium is the feeling of community and bing able to reach out to fellow agents via social media to ask questions, provide advice, and share stories. "Belonging" is one of the foundations of Vacation.com.
Belong. Inspire. Grow. That's Vacation.com.
This article is brought to you by Vacation.com and was produced in partnership with Travel Agent Central's sales team. Travel Agent Central's editorial team played no part in developing the article.