Three tips for travel agent success from an industry veteran

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Tisha Spencer’s career started when she was in college. After serving in the U.S. Army, Spencer attended Johnson & Wales University in South Carolina, majoring in hospitality and a minor in event planning, two majors that would eventually lend themselves very well to her future career. . While on campus, she joined a sorority (Zeta Phi Beta), which had a fraternity fraternity.

“I’m a planner by nature,” she said. So when the sorority was planning events, including shows and conferences, they took the lead. She started with small local trips and eventually graduated to booking entire hotels for conferences. It gave her an introduction to the things she would need to be successful as a travel consultant.

When she got out of school, she discovered that booking a trip was a “way to earn extra money for things I was going to do anyway”, helping her friends and family in the region to book regional trips. Mostly, she said, these were weekend cruises from Florida with friends or family she had within driving distance, including South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

Since then, Spencer has spent two decades as a travel consultant. His agency, Platinum Life Travels in San Antonio, a subsidiary of InteleTravel, specializes in groups and cruises. She recently spoke to TMR about her career and the trends she sees in the industry. Here is just part of what she said:

1. Find your place on social networks
It’s not for everyone, but Spencer is one of the travel consultants who have been able to build a business through social media. She estimates that 40% of her bookings come through social media in one way or another.

“I don’t use it as ad space,” she says, “Instead, I post information. I want them to know that I am very well educated in the fields I deal with. With COVID, customers wanted someone they knew to be informed of any changes. »

“I make sure to introduce myself to them as a person,” she added.

This includes her travel groups, which she also encourages other agents to do. Creating a closed group, a space where customers only see each other, allows people to be more comfortable both sharing information and being themselves.

Social media is also a place where she can get leads to add to her more traditional marketing lists.

“All I need is your name and email address and I’ll put you in my CRM and you’ll receive communications from me,” she said.

Social media, especially Facebook, is an easy place to start because building a presence there doesn’t require the kind of time, effort, or in some cases, money that building a professional website does. might require.

For those who want to go beyond that, Spencer suggests using a marketing landing page, like Linktree, which can put everything in one place (contact information, social media accounts, etc.) for advisors to refer potential clients.

2. Stay organized
Spencer’s career as a travel consultant has evolved into two roles: in addition to selling travel, she’s also the first certified ambassador and elite trainer with InteleTravel, the host agency she works with. Through her role as a trainer, she is able to communicate the lessons she has learned throughout her career, including what she considers most important: staying organized.

“When I started, it wasn’t something I did. But once I joined InteleTravel and was with a hospitality agency that was serious about booking travel, I thought about it,” she said.

“I had to organize myself with how I communicated, how I sent invoices, how I tracked commissions and income, because

She mentioned watching a virtual training and seeing the agent running the webinar struggling to find an email for 20 minutes as one of those a-ha moments. For her, one of the keys is Travel Joy, the CRM she uses, which takes care of a ton of these tasks.

“Once I have their email, I put them in my CRM,” she told TMR, and everything from marketing to sales to customer interactions stays up to date there.

“When I started getting organized, my whole business changed,” she said. “I didn’t realize how many clients I actually had until I organized or sold out or the fact that I was sending people to the same places because I could capture it all keeping track “, she said.

She also uses Google Calendars, which are tied to her clients, to track trips, payment dates, and more. And, to make marketing and communicating with her clients as easy and transparent as possible, she stores all documents in separate folders. , by supplier, on his desk.

“I can just go on file and get what I need and do what I do,” she said.

Ultimately, Spencer sees a keen sense of organization as key not only to her business, but also to other travel consultants who are just starting their careers.

“With so many home-based agents, especially some newbies who also have full-time jobs or are full-time parents, we need to learn how to organize ourselves and our time to be effective,” he said. she stated.

3. Think about your job differently than just booking travel
The travel industry is something that “has always been around me,” Spencer said.

“We have to get out of our neighborhood and visit someone else in order to expand our minds,” she said, adding that some of her earliest memories revolve around vacations she took with her family growing up.

Thinking about those memories, those experiences that stick with you, your family or your friends helps define the job of an advisor – to help people, whether they are families, couples, groups or travelers in solo, creating memories.

Part of that is fitting your customer into the right destination and the right supplier, but another part is adding the touches they wouldn’t get by booking online.

“I love surprising our guests, I really love doing that,” she said, mentioning that she arranged for a recent guest, on their honeymoon, to not only get a moon cake honeymoon halfway through their trip, but also their decorated resort room upon arrival.

Spencer added that more of the advisors she knows are making it a necessary part of their job, not only serving clients, but also connecting with them on a personal level through these little touches. It proves how much they love what they do.

“I love the industry and where it’s going – there are a lot of agents who are really passionate about doing it,” she said.

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