Airlines & Airports
Crafting Your Agent Studio Website
Susan Leonidas, of Your Travel and Cruise Concierge in Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla., is a home-based travel agent and member of Travel Planners International (TPI). Leonidas welcomed TPI’s association with Agent Studio, which has enabled her to craft her own Agent Studio website. Here’s what Leonidas (pictured above) has to say about Agent Studio.
What do you think about TPI's move to offer its members Agent Studio?
I’m very excited that TPI gave us the opportunity to have an Agent Studio website. I don’t have any headaches. I can customize it the way I want and select which suppliers I want to highlight. Clients can get news feeds; if they hear about something, they can do research on it. My phone and email address are right there.
What had you done for a website before?
Prior to having Agent Studio, TPI made available both Agent Hub (AH), as well as Passport Online (PO) for our business websites. I originally had AH, and was in the process of upgrading to PO when they announced that we now had access to Agent Studio. Agent Hub had its plusses and minuses but to customize and personalize it, the fonts came out wonky. I came from an IT background. If I was pulling my hair out on this, others’ frustration level must be through the roof. I was going to spend $3,000 on a personalized website; that’s ridiculous. I now have a premium Agent Studio website. [The cost] is a drop in the bucket had I gone out on my own to get a website.
What do you like about Agent Studio?
I like the simplicity of Agent Studio. Someone can go to the website, click on the cruises tab and do a search on a particular cruise line, destination and price point. All the information is preloaded so I don’t have to do anything. I also like the fact that it’s customizable. I have a beachyfeel logo; the colors are dark blue and greens. It’s a soothing website because booking travel and doing travel research can be stressful. Clients are also getting news. [Agent Studio provides content from Agent@ Home and Vacation Agent magazines and TravelPulse.com, including the latest news, offers, destination information and featured articles.] For example, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Harvest Caye port in Belize was supposed to open in February. [Located off Belize’s southern coast, the debut of the $100 million development was postponed until November.] Clients would have to Google Norwegian Harvest Caye to find out more – but they can access the information on Agent Studio.
Do you expect the Agent Studio website will lead to increased business for you?
I’m getting some business from the website, but the bulk of my business now is coming from social media, Facebook, my private Facebook group and Twitter. There’s a way on the Agent Studio home page to have your Facebook page, Twitter feed, Pinterest and linked in. I think eventually the site will definitely send me more business. I have to get my personal photos and blog up on my Agent Studio site. The person I hire to do this will be creating blog posts centered around our previous cruises, complete with pictures now that I’ve found all of them, as well as blog posts regarding timely issues such as travel insurance, and pre-paying gratuities, excursions, spa treatments, specialty dining reservations versus doing this on board the ship. Our target to start this [project] is the second quarter of 2016.
How important do you think it is for an agent to have a website?
How else will someone else get to know you? It’s a very important part of your marketing. And being home-based, I find that people don’t know I exist. I’m a member of several networking groups. One of the people at an event said to me, “I didn’t know agents exist.” You still get that.
More by Robin Amster
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A version of this article appears in print in the February 2016 issue of Agent@Home Magazine.
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