Tammy Levent | August 24, 2016 12:00 PM ET
Where Are All The Travel Agents?
Dear Tammy: I need to hire more travel agents to increase my business. What do you suggest?
Tammy: The good news is that I’ve stepped out of the box to find new talent for my agency, but it’s not what you think. The bad news is that in today’s travel agent world, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook has employment of travel agents projected to decline a whopping 12 percent from 2014 to 2024.
The problem in this industry is that everyone thinks they can be a travel agent. They go to work for a host agency, book one trip and, as famed chef Emeril would always say, “Bam!” they think they are a travel agent. Sorry Charlie, booking one trip does not make you a travel agent.
So what makes a good travel agent? A successful travel agent hustles and books multiple trips, per day, per week, per month and per year. Who works that hard? Salespeople. Just recently, I hired four salespeople to work for me because they know how to sell and the travel agency is buying and selling, just like any other commodity. They are doing an amazing job. One of the salespeople just booked 150 people on a cruise. I asked her how she did it and she said that she just knew people at a company and put feelers out. She brought a fresh attitude to my company.
Also, many travel agents want to work on salary, but many travel agencies cannot afford a full-time salaried employee. Instead, salespeople are used to working on commission and have the hustle to make it work. So you can spend time training a travel agent, or you can spend time working with a salesperson.
I’m not saying that there aren’t some travel agents out there who can do the hustle of the job, but salespeople are definitely skilled to handle it. So if you’re looking to hire more travel agents to increase your business, think out of the box and hire some qualified salespeople. You’ll be glad you did.
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