The travel landscape is ever-changing these days.
It can be a bit unpredictable, which creates challenges for travel advisors.
While advisors are always there for their clients, the job certainly isn’t easy, especially in today’s times.
We asked multiple top executives in the travel industry to share their best advice for travel advisors to start 2022.
Scott Wiseman, Senior Vice President & General Manager of ALG Vacations Corporation, said:
“There’s lots of good tips. I think if I had to narrow it down, I would say it’s a combination of now’s the time for them to put a price to their expertise, then they should not be afraid to charge for their services and they should start even slow such as posting a cancellation fee.”
“So they could say to the client: ‘I did all of this work and even though you canceled, you might get your money back from the cancel for any reason insurance, I still need to be compensated for my work and my efforts.’ I think it’s time to put a dollar amount to it and to really monetize what they’re doing, and now is that the perfect opportunity to do that. So that would be my big advice. Make yourself earn more through all the things that you’re actually doing for your client.”
Terry Dale, President and CEO of USTOA, said:
“I would remind [advisors] of that old adage that patience is a virtue. I have heard from so many travel advisors about how many times they’ve had to rebook and rebook an experience due to this pandemic and my heart goes out to them because it’s got to be challenging, but exhale, be patient. We will get through this.”
Elizabeth Crabill, CEO of CIE Tours International, said:
“In addition to just keeping flexibility and patience have some backup plans in mind and even if they’re templated for your clients. But if you’re client is buying this, have something in mind to switch them to if something happens that whether it’s a different destination, you know, moving from a river cruise to a land cruise or whatever it is just to have some backup plans.”
Madhvi Buch, Senior Vice President of The Travel Corporation USA, said she would endorse patience as well but also technology and educating clients, advising agents to get “comfortable with using technology that is already provided. All of those tools that are out there could probably be a huge time saver for the travel advisor community. It is in the mutual interest of the USTOA member as well as the travel advisor to condition the customers as early as possible about needing to learn as much as they can.”
Jeff Roy, Executive Vice President of Collette says advisors “should be selling the value that they provide, and they should differentiate themselves on service. There’s a lot of changes all the time between booking and departure…there’s a lot of information going out from us on pre-travel requirements to on tour requirements and re-entry requirements…take any of that pressure off their customers and differentiate their service and they would command probably a higher price for the package because that’s really people looking for right now.”
Charlie Ball, Executive Vice President of Holland America Group, said:
“If your customers have an opportunity to carefully and accurately fill out any pre-trip information they [should] invest the time and energy to do it and to look at their itineraries carefully. For any travel agent who’s choosing vacations, find partners that won’t leave the customer stranded. We’re still in a period of time where difficult things happen to nobody’s fault and different companies have different policies about getting their guests home. Choose people that will stand behind you as an agent.”
Carilis Felipe, AIC Hotel Group Director of Field Sales, said:
“My top piece of advice for travel advisors is to engage with customers on social media, especially Instagram and TikTok. Experiences will reign in 2022 and there will be plenty of opportunities to upsell these to their clients, particularly for weddings. The United States will have 2.5 million weddings in 2022 and the number one request wedding planners are receiving from couples is that they want their wedding to be different. Help them stand out.”