Watch The Full Presentation Below:
Welcome to another edition of GTN’s Inside Scoop Series!
This 60-minute presentation is co-hosted by GTN’s Chief Sales & Marketing Officer Vanessa McGovern and Chief Visionary Officer Meredith Calloway. During this presentation, you will hear from GTN’s Travel Business University Mentors on their travel advisor start-up strategies and success stories.
To start, let us introduce our first guest (drum roll please...)
Kristin Matthews - Director of Professional Development
The first guest on our Inside Scoop series is Kristin Matthews. Kristin not only went through our Travel MBA program, but is now our Director of professional development here at GTN! She has her masters in education and was originally working with education professional development at the corporate level. After a while, she decided to take a personal re-brand and start her own luxury travel business!
Kristin was asked: What do you notice that surprises the new-to-industry advisors the most about starting their business for the first time?
1. This is a 12-month program.
This is a 12-month program for a reason! Remember this is a marathon, not a sprint!
2. You will grow not only professionally, but personally.
There is as much personal development as there is professional development. This is often times learning a brand new
3. The travel agency world is very nuanced.
There is a large misconception in the general public about what travel advisors do, so when you make the switch to booking as an advisor rather than a consumer, there is a lot to learn.
4. This business is based on relationships
Not only with your clients, but with partners, your host agency, other advisors, industry colleagues, etc. The real beauty of GTN is that when you start out, you grow with others as our learning is cohort based. You establish these relationships immediately!
To hear more from Kristin, watch the presentation here!
Meet The Mentors:
Amy Relihan - Lead Travel MBA Mentor
Amy is one of the first points of contact when a new-to-industry advisor joins the Trave MBA program.
Amy was asked: Tell us about the qualities you often see in Travel MBA’ers who go on to becoming a successful travel advisor.
The first quality is staying committed to continuous learning and growth.
Both professionally and personally. There is always something to learn whether that be a destination, partner, programs colleagues. The other part of this is truly the long personal growth journey.
The second is a deep need to provide a very high level of service combined with a deep heart of giving.
Every new member comes to us with a story about a travel experience that changed their life. They come with the need to give that gift to others. Our job as mentors is to help them monetize them. You can never lose what you started with which is the need to give the gift of travel.
The third is confidence.
Even if everything is absolutely insane you have to believe in your mission and your message. You are here for a reason!
To hear more from Amy, watch the presentation here!
Cathy Rowland - TBU Mentor
As a mentor in the TBU program, one point we would like to focus on with Cathy specifically is building a lead list.
Cathy was asked: What are some start-up strategies for building your lead list?
In the beginning, I did everything I could think of. I attended bridal shows, collected email addresses, sent out a weekly email. I joined a chamber of commerce and joined meet-up groups with other women owned businesses. Then I focused on nurturing and growing that list.
I then started to implement google ads and facebook ads. My mindset was that I am going to succeed. I would make it work and be successful. I wasn't going to stop until I was successful.
To hear more from Cathy, watch the presentation here!
Roseann Coyle - TBU mentor
Roseann has a travel business herself and is a mentor in the program! Her previous career was in the insurance industry, never thinking she would circle back, but as it turns out, there is a large need for it!
Roseanne was asked: How do you help a new advisor with insurance questions?
First, you have to qualify your client. A lot of people will throw every objection in the book at you, and as a brand new advisor, you may not know hot to overcome those objections. So, here are the three biggest objections I have heard, and how to overcome them:
"I dont need travel insurance, I already have it on my credit card"
Your credit card coverage is extra coverage. It is not meant to be your single source of travel insurance.
"Nothing has ever happened to me and I have traveled my whole life without travel insurance."
As human beings, we dont live our life with the past performance being the proof of what the future event is based on.
"I had it before and they didn’t pay a claim"
Insurance is supposed to cover the broad range, not the smallest. So it is important to know what policy you should buy, versus the cheapest option.
To hear more from Roseann, watch the presentation here!
Carol McKee - Travel Technology Mentor
Carol has a passion for process and organization, which these days is really technology. We asked Carol to elaborate on her expertise and what her most recent "mic drop" moment was when providing a travel tech tip:
When you are dealing with clients, but particularly luxury clients the expectation level is high.
You have to provide a high level of service and produce an extraordinary experience. Not just when they are traveling, but through the entire process. These are people who are used to getting what they want in a concise, organized and professional manner. The only way you can deal with more than one client of this caliber is by having an organized process and system to scale your business and handle people in a way where you make them feel like they are your only client and priority. That is do-able through technology.
As for her mic drop moment: Chat GPT Bonus Call -
Most recently I explained the concept of Chat GPT - what it is, and what it is not. There is so much this AI model can do for travel advisors and their travel businesses and I loved hosting a session on this. The advisors loved it!
To hear more from Carol, watch the presentation here!
Celeste Auger - Munshi - TBU Mentor
Celeste's expertise is cruising. As a travel advisor, there is a tremendous upside to selling cruises, so we asked Celeste what this upside is, specifically for someone who is new to the industry:
The upside is the value that crusing brings to families, couples, multigen, retireee's, etc and the value is hand down tops in the industry. Despite what happened during covid, the cruising industry came back with vengeance. Now, there are more cruise ships than we can even count and now more than ever cruise lines need travel advisors to help sell these cabins.
You dont need to go on a cruise to sell a cruise. The Travel MBA program has a whole module on cruising, from how to choose a cruise line that best fits your clients needs to actually booking the cruise.
To hear more from Celeste, watch the presentation here!
And that concludes another rendition of our Inside Scoop Series! Stay tuned for what is to come!
If you have any questions for our Travel Business University (TBU) mentors, please feel free to email us at email@example.com. For more information on TBU, please visit our Programs page. Ready to join our Travel MBA program? Apply now!