Today’s travel agents can often get a bad rap from tech-savvy consumers who ask, “why would I pay you to do what I can do myself?”
The truth is, today’s corporate travel agents can wield technology with the best of them and deliver a service that is well worth paying for. Travel agents play an incredibly valuable role in the corporate travel industry today, but the best of the best share some common qualities.
Below we examine four qualities that the best modern travel agents have, and outline how up and coming agents can sharpen their skills.
1. The Best Travel Agents Are Expert Communicators
In our article, “Top Tips for Training Travel Agents,” we discussed the importance of interpersonal skills to the modern corporate travel agent. After all, a travel agent’s key point of difference is the personal service they provide.
Ann Scully of McCabe World Travel sums this up well where she says, “If [travellers] book themselves, they’re just a credit card number.”
So when a client engages the service of a travel agency, they are looking for something more than they can do themselves online - they are looking for the human-to-human interaction and tailored solutions to their travel challenges. For this reason, the best travel agents are expert communicators. This communication is easily conducted through their online platform. The platform provides avenues to communicate easily without needing to leave the online booking platform.
2. The Best Travel Agents Are Management Professionals
In a profession that has changed substantially, one thing stays the same for travel agents: the need for top shelf management abilities.
Even seemingly straightforward domestic business trips can have a lot of moving parts, so travel managers need to stay on top of their management games to ensure the room for error is minimal. Whether it be managing itineraries, visas, policy parameters, communication with travellers, clients and suppliers, agents have a lot on their plate and can’t afford to drop any of it. Thankfully, streamlined corporate travel management platforms like Locomote can simplify and consolidate these tasks.
3. The Best Travel Agents Are Technical Masters
The only way for agents to compete in today’s hyper-technical travel industry is to flex their technology skills with the best of them. After all, why would a client pay an agent to complete a task they can do themselves?
From strategic booking, risk management, communication, insight and policy analysis, travel agents need a full stack of tools to deliver the best service they can.
The Locomote platform features all of these powerful tools and more, so travel agents can delight their current clients and attract future business in the process. Simply put, travel agents with an effective corporate travel management platform can provide a level of service that ordinary, do-it-yourself travellers (or businesses) can’t.
4. The Best Travel Agents Are Always Learning
Travel agents have seen firsthand just how substantially an industry can change in a decade. Picture the travel industry in the year 2000, and picture it today, almost two decades later. The infant industry of 2000 is almost unrecognisable to the one we currently work in.
The exciting and daunting prospect for everyone in the travel industry is that it will only change further. Whether it be wearable technologies, the internet of things, more sophisticated tracking technologies or robot automation, the travel agents of the future need a sound understanding of where the industry is today and where it’ll be tomorrow.
The best travel agents are using the best technologies to enhance the service they provide.
Which is why the best travel agents are always learning. Subscribing to these six email newsletters is a good first step for agents who hope to safeguard their services into the future.