Travel Agents Help Clients Come In From The Storm
Winter Storm Jonas…we all read about it, and those of us traveling between Charlotte and New York City lived it!
I was down in Panama with some of our SmartFlyer team members at Sweet Bocas – an exclusive sustainable villa constructed on pilings adjacent to the Bocas del Toro nature reserve – enjoying the sun, snorkeling and eating well.
When information about the storm hit the news, our 24/7 team re-protected many in our group on alternate flights. Me? I rebooked myself from my iPad to San Juan, to meet with other SmartFlyer travel advisors who were there.
The key here is that as professional travel agents, the SmartFlyer team are thoroughly versed in all the finer nuances of the air ticketing process – as well as in how to provide our clients with the absolute highest levels of customer service.
We don’t give “all circuits busy” messages to our clients. We all know that the universe of potential clients is virtually unlimited, and that we need to differentiate ourselves from the competition. It’s all about service and ideas – which, in the world of luxury travel, invariably trumps price.
Think about it: if you compete on price, someone can always undercut you. However, if you compete on fresh ideas, service and creativity, you are arguably in a much better position to meet with success.
The type of service I’m talking about includes giving your cell phone number to your best clients. Everyone likes their hand being held, and believe it or not – as with a doctor – clients love being told what to do when you are dispensing great information to them.
And, for those of you who are not on Sabre, it might be wise to thoroughly learn it, or at least gain a basic understanding of it – because it can give you that competitive edge when grappling with unforeseen events such as Winter Storm Jonas.
One of the other services we provide during a situation like a blizzard is to ensure on an ongoing basis that all client records are complete and up to date.
For starters, that includes updating cell phone numbers in client profiles as well as frequent flyer numbers, which are the primary methods that carriers use to contact our travelers.
It gave me an immense sense of pride to watch our team adjust client flights on their laptops and iPhones from the warmth of Panama while the East Coast was taking a pounding from Jonas.
- Work toward ensuring that you are well versed in all the finer nuances of the air ticketing process.
- Be vigilant about updating cell phone numbers and other frequently used numbers in client profiles, which are the primary methods that carriers use to contact travelers.
- View service itself as an area of competition. And keep coming up with fresh ideas and creative solutions. If you compete on price, someone can undercut you.
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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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