|Vice President—Content/Editorial Director, Ruthanne Terrero|
Are you just starting out as a travel advisor, or are you seeking to reignite your path to becoming extremely successful at a job you love? Either way, here are some tips to becoming a superstar in the industry.
There’s no limit as to how far you can take yourself as travel advisor. This is an entrepreneurial business, where talented and passionate individuals can rise to the top.
It will take hard work. The rising stars I know are putting long hours into building detailed itineraries for their clients. If you ask me if there’s a shortcut to being at the top of your game, I’d have to say no. Put in the time to be the best you can be.
Seek out a mentor to help you learn the ropes. Even if you’re simply brilliant, you won’t know all the answers that others have learned by having been in the industry longer than you. Ask your manager if you can be paired off with a veteran colleague. If you’re working on your own, ask supplier sales reps if there are other agents in your area who might be interested in mentoring you. Be sure to be ready to provide some service in exchange that will help them with their operations.
Let your enthusiasm show, whether it’s with clients or suppliers. A great attitude is infectious; people will want to do business with you if you’re a joy to work with.
Be professional. You might be new at this but that doesn’t mean the client has to know that. Be contained, knowledgeable and take good notes. Double-check every detail the customer tells you about themselves. Don’t assume anything.
The one thing you can assume is that the client has forgotten to tell you at least one vital piece of information about the trip they want to take. Circle back again and again to ensure they haven’t failed to inform you that two people in their party have to leave early or depart from a different airport.
Over-deliver, and deliver on time. If you’ve been asked to do something, do what you were asked to do and provide several alternatives. Perhaps it’s an itinerary you were asked to build, or it may have simply been destination research. If you show early on that you’re not good at meeting deadlines, your manager or client may simply write you off.
What other attributes will make you rise? Be creative. Ask suppliers for ways you can show off their products to your clients. Lay awake at night wondering how you can do things differently from the way they’ve ever been done before. As long as you’re professional and diligent about ensuring your client has a good vacation, there are really no rules.
Become a genius about the industry. There’s plenty of reading material available. Absorb it, analyze it and discuss it with colleagues. Next time you’re in the proximity of an industry executive, show off your knowledge and your point of view. You’ll be sure to stand out as someone sharp and word will spread.
Set up social networking accounts for your business, get an abundance of followers, and nurture your relationship with them by ensuring they have a dynamic experience when they’re with you virtually online.
Lastly, recognize when you need help. Don’t ever be afraid to raise your hand to ask for guidance or downright assistance for getting out of a jam. Everyone’s been there. Fix it and move on.
Luckily, you’re in an industry that seeks out and nurtures fresh talent, but being new or young isn’t the golden ticket. You’ve got to take the first steps to get yourself noticed and then prove your worth.