Demonstrating your value as a travel professional is one of the most important things you can do. You are so much more than a conduit to a booking engine. The most successful and profitable travel pros are experts at what they do and they understand their value and they aren’t shy about sharing it. But I know it is hard for a lot of people to “toot their own horn” so I wanted to share a few ways you can get the word out!
Show Clients How You Can Help Them. For too long travel agents have focused on the “booking” aspect of their job. That’s not at all what today’s travel advisor is about. Successful and profitable agents are consultants and advisors. They craft itineraries and save their clients time by handling the research. They utilize their resources and connections to get them opportunities they couldn’t get any other way. And equally important, they make sure they are getting the best value for their budget. You can demonstrate this in your conversations with them early in the booking process as well as in your social media posts!
Share What You’re Working On in Social Media Posts. People absolutely love to peek behind the scenes! Sharing the type of travel plans you are working is a great way to give them that insider access they love. Just a high-level description of a really cool trip or itinerary you are working on along with a picture or two is a great way to share with clients what you’re working on and give them ideas (they might want to do the same thing!). It’s also a great way to showcase your skills and the type of travel you want to specialize in.
Share Insider Tips & Tricks. Another people love: lists. And I bet as an experienced travel professional you can come up with lots of lists. Lists about packing, tips on maximizing efficiency at the airport, how to take the best vacation photos, and much more! When you are stuck for content try to come up with a list and watch your inspiration kick in! You can use this content in social media posts, in the emails you send to clients and prospects (you do send out your own emails to your list, right?), and even with document delivery if appropriate.
Finally, a word of warning:
Be Careful About What Vendor Offers/Promotions You Share. In my humble opinion, one of the worst things you can do as a travel agent is to just become seen as a “middle man” with particular vendors. Yes, we know you love that family-friendly property in Florida, but if what is going on there is the subject of most of your social media posts, don’t be disappointed when your clients only see you as able to handle that type of travel. You created the monster, so don’t be surprised when he bites you!
One of the most important things you need to do as a travel advisor is be crystal clear about what value you bring to travelers and what type of traveler needs your help. This will help you tremendously in promoting yourself in all sorts of ways and will give you the confidence to wow your clients. Agents who don’t specialize, but just do whatever comes along will always make less money, work harder, and struggle to grow their business. But remember it is never too late to course-correct.