How many times have you heard the phrase “information is power”? Pat Heathfield sales manager, Expedia CruiseShipCenters asks in a recent newsletter focused on the Travel Agent of The Future: High Tech and High Touch.
“A more accurate description should be ‘information, in the hands of a qualified interpreter, is powerful,’” Heathfield says. “Think about this, Google processes about 20 Petabytes of data each day. (One Petabyte equals one quadrillion bytes). That is a lot of information.”
“As travel agents, we now have access to more information than ever – but how we use it to make dream vacations come true is what really counts. That is where our “high touch” skills come in. It is our job to ask the right questions of our clients, interpret enormous amounts of product information, and use a high tech system to present the best solution for the client. To make things more interesting, they would like it now.
“The Travel Agent of today and the future will need to rely on these four components:
Professional Sales Skills – The ability to build rapport, credibility and trust; combined with ongoing training in the professional sales process.
Product Knowledge – As cruise specialists, we must know what we sell. This includes cruising on various lines, completing their online certification, watching the DVD’s and attending webinars whenever possible.
Systems – Time is of the essence so automation is key. The days of dual entry into the back office system are behind us.
Marketing – Finding new customers is as important as ensuring that your current clients continue
to book their vacations through you. Turn-key marketing programs are essential. As agents, we need to be talking to customers – not doing cut and paste or trying to be webmasters.”
Agents interested in learning more Expedia CruiseShipCenters are urged to attend upcoming webinars sponsored by Expedia CruiseShipCenetrs. Visit www.CruiseShipCenters.com