Rethinking the Site Inspection Process
JUST READ YOUR ARTICLE ("Site Inspections: A Good or Bad Thing?" November 12, 2007) and I had to comment. I've been an agent for 22 years and I've found that the best site inspections are at the hotels you actually stay at. A one-day inspection with dinner usually isn't realistic, as the client seldom has the same experience. Hoteliers are going all-out for the agents, and while this is great for agents (who are often more interested in the food and wine portion) and gives them an idea of what is possible, it really doesn't reflect reality. It does, however, afford the agent a chance to establish a relationship with the hoteliers/managers who can be very helpful when that agent books a guest and needs special services.
I'm all for inspections and go on JDB Escapes often, as they include as many hotels as possible during the week stay and give agents a chance to meet the managers and staff of each hotel. But expecting champagne and little place cards, while very nice, isn't what the client always gets.
A one-night stay will give an agent a better idea of how the operation works and how guests are actually treated. I often go on my own to experience a property and do not tell them I'm an agent. That's the real test!
STAR BELLEI Frosch Travel Northbrook, IL
Now as far as property inspections go, I agree that agents should be treated as clients should be treated. I also believe very strongly that an agent can sell a property better if they can experience it firsthand. I was at a property in Punta Cana and the experience was okay, I now know its good and bad points, but most of all I was able to experience it. I then stayed at a property in the Bahamas; I had sold this hotel to clients, but now I can sell with passion. You can't get that from a virtual course—being there is the best. I came back and booked a client at the same property, and now I'm now working on 10 rooms for the same hotel. The only drawback is that sometimes I can't get to [these hotels] because of the air charges. It would be nice if the properties and the airlines teamed up... more agents would be able to go on site inspections! Passion sells properties! Thank you for asking for my input.
CHRISTINE VAN VORST Blue Skies TravelEast Greenbush, NY
ON MY LAST TRIP, I got a chance to read the October 1, 2007, issue of Travel Agent during my plane rides. I believe it was your first of the "new" publication. I LOVED the new issue. Keep up the good work and thank you!
MELANIE ALEXANDER, CTC The MAAC Group (www.maacg.com)Arlington, MA
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