Going on a big vacation used to mean stepping through the doors of a travel agency with a checkbook and letting an agent handle the rest. Now, thanks to the accessibility of the internet, many travelers use search engines and online hubs to book their own trips. But that doesn’t mean that travel agencies are a relic of the past—you know better than anyone they’re alive and well, ready to serve customers in a unique way. In fact, 22 percent of consumers brooked through a travel agent last year, which is the highest share in the past three years!
The key for travel agencies looking to stay relevant is to offer stellar service and support for clients throughout their entire journey. Well, that and having travel agency business insurance to back up your professional advice, services and insure your commercial space.
Here are three areas in which travel agents can offer an unparalleled experience to customers.
Booking a flexible variety of trips
Agents with experience in a variety of areas—corporate, leisure, student, etc.—can provide more comprehensive service to clients. Or, an agency that staffs a variety of agents with niche specialties can also work because it makes referrals easy. The key to excelling in travel sales is to really know the product you’re selling: how to purchase the best packages on behalf of your customers, what each traveler needs out of a given trip and how to score deals.
If your travel agents have only ever booked family getaways, what happens when someone contacts your agency about scheduling a regimented corporate trip? You can’t afford to turn away business, but you need to be aware of the differences. The Atlantic quotes one travel agent who now works in corporate travel after a stint in every area: “They're going to a particular destination, so especially if they're going to a meeting— ‘I need to be at this place, on these dates, at this time’—it's within certain parameters we follow depending on the account we're working on.” You’ll also need to respect the fact that some businesses have partnerships with certain airlines and hotel chains.”
Demonstrating the difference between price and value
Most people’s argument for using an online service is that it’s free. And besides, who needs a professional to pick out the lowest price from a list? Well, as travel agents know, price and value are very different. Once you factor in those extra baggage fees… the additional travel time… the non-changeable tickets… the convenience fee… suddenly the “cheapest” option is not really the cheapest. Travel agencies know what to look for so they can scope out deals that are truly a great value, not just an appealing sticker price. And they have the inside scoop on discounts and promotions, so clients can score extra “freebies.”
Offering real, human support
Isn’t it comforting to know if something unexpected were to pop up during a trip, you’d be able to pick up the phone and reach an actual human on the other end of the line? As Nomadic Matt, a best-selling travel author, writes, one of a travel agency’s best assets is “its ability to problem-solve for its clients in real time, 24/7… When you’re in trouble, there is no substitute for a knowledgeable, reliable, and leveraged travel agent.”
And of course, in order to support clients, travel agencies need business insurance to protect their own operations. CoverHound has the expertise (and quick quotes) to help. Explore policy options today!