More than ever, travelers are approaching travel agents with their own research, thanks to Google, TripAdvisor, and other websites that offer ratings and suggestions from food to sightseeing and hotels. Agents must be one step ahead in terms of knowledge to be able to secure business and be able to anticipate travelers’ demands. Agents can learn more through webinars and online programs offered by tourist boards and tour operators to truly immerse themselves in knowledge about Asia.
Understand Hotel Categories
Hotel categories differ depending on the country of travel. For example, a three-star hotel in Bali is not the same as a three-star hotel in New York City, and shouldn’t be treated as such. Many agents make the mistake of booking their clients in a budget hotel without realizing that there are many deals in luxury resorts and 5-star hotels in Asia. Agents should use the expertise of tour operators and take advantage of deals and promotions to secure a luxury experience for their clients at a budget-friendly price. A five-star beachfront resort could coast as low as $100 per night working with the right tour operator. Agents end up with happy clients who can experience luxury at such a low price when they book the right property.
Use Tour Operators’ Local Experts
Local DMCs (destination management companies) in Asia may save clients’ money, but language and cultural barriers may make traveling more difficult for those who are visiting Asia for the first time. Instead, agents should work with tour operators who have their own local experts in Asia. TravelBound, for instance, has over 200 market managers who live in the countries they source hotels and services for. In Asia alone, TravelBound has over 65 experts who share their expertise with the sales and marketing team to ensure that agents have the best information at their fingertips.
Look for Rewards and Upsell Opportunities
Some tour operators, including TravelBound, have rewards programs, offering agents the opportunity to earn more for booking a trip with a high value or to an exotic destination. Agents should book with operators that offer bonus commission, gift cards or other rewards to increase their earning potential. Working with one tour operator will also help boost your commission when you package the hotel, sightseeing and transfers with the same tour operator company instead of multiple companies.