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.
While many people are turning to online booking sites like Expedia and Google Flights, others are missing the other pieces of the puzzle. Not only do travel advisors support clients if something goes wrong, but they are especially useful for researching additional portions of a vacation. Whether that includes bundling hotel reservations, car reservations, and air tickets, or working with the client to determine other benefits they want included, travel advisors work hard to produce a product that is undeniably better than the rest.
If you hope to stand out among the other online travel booking sites and advisors, there are a few key strategies you should be doing right now.
- Create an Engaging Website
The travel industry is vastly overrun by large conglomerates that make booking travel seem easy. 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 for clients as well as a system that simply flows from one function to another.
You don’t need to be a coding genius to create a website with Andavo Travel. Travel advisors’ part of our network can work with our marketing team to develop optimal web exposure. Our host agency also features training and resources to help you maximize your digital potential.
- Personalize Your Services
Get to know your clients. If there is one thing that can help you stand out, it is having a personal touch with each of your clients. As a one-on-one travel advisor, you can offer highly personalized travel solutions. Make sure you give this impression on your first impression, whether that is over the phone, in-person, or online. Engage with your clients and get to know what matters most to them. Then, you can customize your packages to fit their needs better.
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- Maximize Value
As the CNN article discussed, travel advisors can typically out-benefit all of the 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. You can offer the best of the best to your clients when you work with what you have at Andavo.
- 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. Stay active and up to date on all your clients, especially while they are traveling. 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 supporting you through the entire thing. Our advisor support team are there to help you with whatever you and your clients need.
- Manage Client Reviews
You have heard us say it before; reviews are a significant part of all today’s businesses, including travel. Client engagement and reviews can make your business look more credible to potential customers. Having good reviews and genuine interaction linked to your business, not only increases publicity—it enhances your credibility with new and returning customers. Ask your current client base to leave online reviews. 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.
6. Establish Strategic Partnerships
Teaming up with a host agency can be a make it or break your travel business. A strategic partnership 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 into the Virtuoso network, preferred vendors, multiple GDS systems, AndavoMart, and more.
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- Market to Your Audience
Another essential strategy every travel advisor needs in their arsenal is knowing their audience and marketing to their needs. Try and understand what your clients want and creating a product that speaks to them. Along with customized travel plans, you should also speak their language.
If you want to draw in more young adults, then use social media to draw them in. You should also mention things that they care about, including a budget, destination, unique experiences, etc.
If you cater to an older demographic, then flight insurance, safety, and hotel benefits might be of more interest to them.
Knowing who your audience is and catering your message to them will do wonders for your business.
For additional help with your travel advisor business, ask the experts at Andavo Travel. We would love to help you take your business to the next level. Contact us to learn more.