Travel professionals must be engaged in public relations for their agencies and remind clients of the value they deliver, says John Werner, president and COO of MAST Travel Network. "You have to tell your clients what you are doing to help them because they don't know what you do. You have the power to change their minds."
Werner's comments came from his presentation during the annual MAST Sales Sensation meeting that drew a record 500 attendees. The trade fair also saw a record number of exhibitors with more than 90 companies represented.
"Your most faithful clients may return to you when its time to plan their next trip because they know what you do for them but many more customers and potential customers think they can do what you do. They don't know any better," Werner said.
MAST has also announced its winter meetings schedule, starting January 7 through February 6, 2014, in 14 locations throughout the Midwest. The dinner meetings will include preferred supplier education; training on new sales tools created by MAST to help agents compare river cruise products, tour experiences, and product differentiation; and a marketing think-tank.
Seminars and workshops were held during the Sales event including two destination seminars featuring Greece and Vallarta Nayarit. Celebrity Cruises presented an interactive session called Taste of Celebrity Cruises with food sampling.
ClientBase held two workshops aimed at different skill levels while Apple Vacations held a workshop on video marketing. Nancy Paredes, a cruise director for Avalon Waterways brought the river cruise experience to life in the eyes of a river cruise guess, MAST reports.
Other seminars included a session on comparing the styles between all-inclusive resorts and Lisa Sheldon from The Destination Wedding and Honeymoon Association presented a program on building business.
Industry veteran, Jack Mannix emphasized in his presentation that to beat the internet competition, agents must show more confidence in themselves by choosing to be extraordinary, constantly search for ways to deepen relationships, and promote themselves subtly but regularly.
Camille Olivere, Executive Vice President of Sales, the Americas, for Norwegian Cruise Lines said the Midwest market is a growth market for Norwegian and MAST is important in that strategy especially for sourcing first time cruisers such as resort travelers and families looking for value and the freestyle concept of cruising.