Services like Expedia, Travelocity, and Airbnb have empowered travelers to take travel into their own hands; but word is getting out that travel experiences are still more rewarding when done so in partnership with a dedicated travel professional. In fact, earlier this year, CNN reported that travel advisors are in high demand for the “incomparable benefit” they afford travelers and consumers.
In “The Perks of Booking Your Trip Through a Travel Advisor,” CNN writer Shivani Vora wrote, “At a time when travel booking sites and apps are a dime a dozen, and travelers can plan an entire trip without speaking to a real person, travel professionals are actually in high demand.”
Along with praising the efforts travel advisors make in their client’s behalf, the article found that the overall travel experience is better with the help of an advisor.
CNN points to “a real-life example” of an online search for three nights at Le Royal Monceau in Paris this October. During this travel booking, online travel agencies returned an average price of $930 a night without any additional amenities such as breakfast. Instead of booking that original price, CNN used a travel advisory that is part of the Virtuoso network to book the same hotel at the same time for $832. They also received a guaranteed room upgrade, daily breakfast, a welcome amenity such as a bottle of champagne, a $100 food and beverage credit, and a late 4 p.m. check-out.
As more and more travelers realize the value of a travel advisor, it’s important you differentiate yourself from the crowd of contenders. Below, we offer a few tips for how to position your travel agency as the most approachable, experienced, and capable agency in for your target market — and show why partnering with a host travel agency can be one of the most strategic marketing moves you make.
Create an Engaging Website
The travel industry is vastly overrun by large conglomerates that do everything they can to simplify travel booking. If you want to compete against these sites, you need a website that is easy-to-use and engages your clients. Your website should include all the services you provide as well as a simplified and intuitive user experience.
Luckily, you don’t need to be a coding genius when you have a host travel agency partnership with Andavo Travel. Travel advisors in our network can work with our marketing team to develop an engaging digital presence that reflects their personal brand. Our host agency also features training and resources to help you maximize your potential.
Personalize Your Services
Get to know your clients. One thing that can help you stand out is having a personal touch with each and every one of your clients. As a one-on-one travel advisor, you can offer highly personalized travel solutions. Make sure you convey this value in your first impression, whether that is over the phone, in person, or online. Engage with your clients, get to know what matters most, and don’t forget to take notes. Then, you can customize your packages to fit their needs better.
As the CNN article mentioned above discussed, the overall value of luxury travel advisors outweighs any “quick and easy” value of top booking sites. Use your industry connections and network to provide exclusive benefits to your clients. As your host agency, Andavo Travel provides you with exclusive access to some of the top hotel and resort programs, cruise travel, flight benefits, travel experiences, and more. Double check to make sure you’re maximizing every perk available to you. When you partner with Andavo, you can build your reputation by consistently offering the best of the best to your clients.
Be Incredibly Responsive
In the world of instant communication, your clients want someone available 24/7. While it isn’t entirely realistic for you to answer your phone on the first ring, set up a program where you can respond to your clients as quickly as possible — and stick to it. Stay active and up to date on all your clients, especially while they are traveling internationally or domestically. If they need your help during an emergency, do everything you can to resolve the situation.
Fortunately, with Andavo Travel as your host agency, you will have someone helping you as you help your clients. Our advisor support team is there to help you with whatever you and your clients need.
Manage Client Reviews
You have heard us say it before; online reviews are critical for your success. Client engagement and reviews can make your business look more credible to potential customers. Good reviews and genuine interaction with clients not only increases publicity, but enhances your credibility with new and returning customers. Send a personalized email that requests your current client base to leave online reviews on Google, Facebook, or Yelp. You should also respond to all of these reviews, thanking them for their input. If any client posts a negative review, quickly respond and resolve the issue. Doing so will show your clients that you care about them and that you are improving your business. All in all, by focusing on the gathering of positive online reviews, your business will build trust and drive your business towards success.
Establish Strategic Partnerships
Teaming up with a host travel agency can open doors for your business that seemed like they were permanently shut. Host agencies like Andavo Travel give you the expertise you need to showcase the latest travel offerings and provide you with access to all of their exclusive partnerships. The partnerships you gain when working with Andavo Travel include a membership in the Virtuoso network, preferred vendors, multiple GDS systems, AndavoMart, and more. On top of that, you’ll gain access to Andavo and Virtuoso’s valuable marketing programs and resources (see below).
Market to Your Audience
Another essential strategy every travel advisor needs in their arsenal is knowing their audience and marketing to their needs. With a host travel agency, you don’t have to go this alone. Virtuoso has a full suite of professional marketing materials that you can personalize and use with your own clients. They’ll be “wow-ed” by the beautiful photography, curated recommendations, and luxury options, and you’ll be better engaged with your travelers in the long run.
Here are just a few of the marketing resources you’ll gain access to when you team up with Andavo as a host travel agency:
Virtuoso Life: an award-winning travel magazine, Virtuoso Life arrives in your clients’ homes personalized with your name and contact information.
Best of the Best: an annual directory of Virtuoso’s preferred hotels, resorts, spas, and lodges, this mailing details the complimentary Virtuoso amenities your clients will have access to.
Virtuoso Traveler: this powerful prospecting magazine converts qualified prospects into devoted clients.
Direct mail marketing and email marketing: sent in your name, these campaigns look and feel high-end and offer regular touchpoints with your clientele.
Stand Out from the Crowd with Andavo Travel
You work hard to build your business, but you can’t do it alone. The most efficient and effective way to help your travel agency stand out from the crowd is to partner with an experienced host travel agency. Not only will you gain access to a network of travel professionals invested in your success, but you will gain greater access to travel experiences and benefits to improve your clients’ satisfaction. And, you can do it all with absolutely zero start-up fees.
To learn more about our host travel agency, or learn about what a partnership with us would look like, contact our team! We would love to help you take your business to the next level.