Hermes Travel Group
It’s all about respect!
When meeting with the suppliers at this event, travel agents should show interest in the product by asking specific questions about kids clubs, connecting rooms, dining options for families, etc.
In addition to these obvious questions, try to build a relationship with them and their brand. Ask them if they have a BDM in your area. Is the BDM willing to come to your office and conduct a short training for the rest of the staff and agents in your office? Can they mail you a sales manual and email you an e-brochure that you can send directly to your clients for marketing? Ask if you can perhaps get “advance sale” knowledge, therefore giving you an edge in booking your clients before the sale becomes public. Ask if they are part of any Travel Agent organizations like TANQ, LITAA, LIASTA, etc., and if they are, you should attend these meetings where they are present and are conducting their training, hence showing your support of their product and a respect towards their position.
Building and nurturing this relationship with your supplier or BDM is essential in growing and nurturing your business. In the future, there may be a client you want to VIP at the resort. There may also be an issue with a booking or while your client is on site that the BDM can help you with. This relationship with your BDM goes further than the one you have with your wholesaler. It can end up saving a sale, or securing a client for life!
How often do some agents reach out to their supplier or BDM only when they need something, and then ignore invitations to events on product training? By supporting them at times when you do not need their help, you advance your standing with them and they will be more inclined to help you when the need arises. Being in contact with the supplier and their BDM is a way to get yourself noticed and remembered! They will be glad to see you at their events and will appreciate your support!
Off the showcase floor I would suggest that agents sit down at meals with the suppliers! Network, socialize, or hang out by the pool together! Try to venture outside your circle of agent friends or associates and mingle! In a relaxed setting, especially over food or drinks, the professional walls come down somewhat, and you can really get to know a person. You also get to talk about some issues that have come up with another supplier or a client in the form of a “funny story” or a “nightmare scenario.” These shared experiences are actually a perfect learning opportunity for agents, no matter their level of experience. You discover things that you would try to either emulate or avoid, thus ensuring your future success. All knowledge is good knowledge and the nuggets of information gathered over the course of your time at the forum is invaluable for your future sales and business transactions with clients and suppliers alike.
Listen closely, show interest, be respectful, and pay attention to the details.
Wonderland Family Vacations
Building Your Peer Network at the FTA Forum
Why make contacts with your Family Travel peers?
We in the Travel Industry are always learning, taking the training from our suppliers or our mentors. But did you ever consider your peers as an important resource for learning?
Your peers are people that share similar interests and are in similar situations that you are. We all work differently, but can learn helpful things from each other. Some of your peers specialize in things that you can learn more about. This may be a destination, or a mindset that keeps them optimistically moving forward. This event has been put together specifically for Family Travel experts and everyone is excited that you are there!
How to make contacts with your Family Travel peers
Four easy things to do that will have the most impact on you and your business;
- Participate – Be available! Being in the right place at the right time can be important to move your business forward. The event has been tailored to your specialty. Attendees, suppliers, and activities are provided to help you make the most of your time. Meeting other people will help you see everything with new eyes. This creates a great learning opportunity.
- Be Open minded – Come ready to learn and share! Come with your planned questions and be ready to share your specific ideas with others. Listen to different ideas and have a tip or two about something that has worked well for your business. Share and learn favorite suppliers, back office organization tips, marketing, or ideas that have worked for you.
- Be ready to share – Be Curious! Remember, no one knows your market like you do. Share the way you work with others. Communicate your needs so that you can help them help you. Bring business cards to share so you have your contact information accessible. Expect to return home with new ideas. Help your peers by being open to sharing your best tips.
- Follow Up is important – Keep in contact! After you return home, make sure that you have notes about topics you want to learn more about. This could be a supplier or even an accountability partner. Organize your business cards. Make a plan for the future using what you learned at the Forum. Send notes to people and suppliers that you met. Thanks them and ask your questions. Keep the lines of communication open.
Much of the time, learning from your peers happens informally, so participating in activities is important. Explaining your ideas to others and participating in activities will help you learn even more. Make the most of your time with people in the Travel Industry so that you and your business can move forward and grow!
Getting the Most Out of the Peer-to-Peer Sessions and Educational Offerings
1. So many great ideas were shared at last year’s conference it can be a bit overwhelming.
Make a “great ideas” list in your notes of all the things you hear that will help grow your business.
BUT, even more important….
Commit to picking the top three “BEST” ideas and putting them into practice.
Give yourself a “get it done” deadline for each.
Great ideas aren’t as great if you don’t put them into practice.
2. Everyone should come to the forum with their own 3 “top” lists…..
a. top Family Travel tips
b. Top challenges for selling Family Travel
c. Top family travel destinations
If you feel a wee bit nervous meeting other agents at cocktail parties or during scheduled outing
You can always start the conversation by saying….HI, my name is…..What’s your top 3 family destinations?
3. If you meet other agents that sell destinations that you’d like to know more about,
Ask to see if they would be willing to mentor you.
4. Make it a point to sit next to someone new and introduce yourself at every session, meal and coffee break
5. At session breaks, remember to share all the great stuff you’re learning with your clients back home on social media.
6. At trade show events, agents love to visit with BDM partners they know and learn all the latest updates.
Also, make it a point to strike up conversations with new vendors and destinations that you don’t normally sell.
You never know when a client may ask and you’ll have all the answers.
7. Continue your training and networking resources the entire year thru by joining organizations such as
The Family Travel Association as an Agent Member.
Magical Storybook Travels
Destination Immersion: Top “Hot Tips” for Experiencing and Conveying Your Island Experience to Your Clients
1. Do Your Homework. When traveling to a resort for Site Inspections, it’s always a good idea to research the resorts you will be touring ahead of time. Explore their website. Be sure to complete any Travel Agent courses the destination has to offer, and familiarize yourself as much as possible with the resort before you arrive.
2. Alert your client’s to your upcoming Site Inspections. Let them know via social media about your trip and get them excited about your updates and impressions of the resort destinations.
3. Record everything. Whether you are writing down the resort details in a notebook you carry with you during the Site Inspection, or you are taking photos and videos, be sure to capture as much as possible on your Site Inspections.
4. With your Site Inspection photos and videos, create an album for each resort. Be sure to take photos of the sign outside each Resort, so that you know the photos that immediately follow them are from that specific destination. In addition to the standard resort room and pool photos, also consider taking photos of restaurants, kid’s clubs, and the children’s menus, so that clients will know more about what to expect when they arrive.
5. Social media, social media, social media. Whether its FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or all of the above, use social media to share your island experience with your clients. Post your Site Inspection albums. Go Live and film a walking tour of the resort, narrating as you go and answering any questions your clients might pose. Use Adobe Spark and create a short video tour of the resort and post it to your many social media outlets.
6. Once your home from the Site Inspections, organize your photos, videos and notes, and then slowly roll out reviews of each resort you visited. Whether its a Facebook post, or a blog dedicated to each resort, use your reviews to generate client’s interest in the resorts. Blogs make great marketing pieces!