During a lunch last week with a representative from a top resort in Aruba, I mentioned that my sister was heading down to the island for a girlfriend getaway weekend. Immediately the rep took the pad I was using to take notes and began scribbling away—within minutes I had pages of insider tips to share with my sister for her upcoming trip, covering everything from shopping to nightlife to spas and restaurants.
Of course, not every agent can have that same kind of detailed inside info on every destination they sell. Still, it pays to do your homework, particularly on your top sellers. Know what new properties have opened and will open and what construction or renovations may be taking place. Be up to speed on the latest nightspots and what nights to go where. Being able to rattle off the best place to grab an inexpensive breakfast or recommending the friendliest—and safest—zipline operator goes a long way to building trust with a client—and offering them something that they simply can’t get by booking online: A travel professional with intimate knowledge of and personal experience with the destination.
One way to get that inside info on a destination is by checking out the Destinations section on the pulldown menu of our homepage. I clicked on "Caribbean," and was brought to our section wholly dedicated to Caribbean properties. Today the top story shows room shots of the Cuisinart Resort & Spa in Anguilla taken earlier today—with video to come later, offering agents an inside view of the accommodations. Throughout our destination pages are videos, photos, podcasts and stories that offer details that agents could only get from visiting the properties themselves. That’s the kind of service that brings clients back, and inspires them to recommend their travel agent.