In an age where a travel agency’s trump card is premier, personalised, data-driven service, training the top agent talent is more important than ever.
Yet in an age where a travel agent is as much a technical wizard as a tourism sales person, nurturing the diverse skills demanded by the evolving profession can be a challenge.
Below we explore the critical areas junior travel agents must focus on if they are to safeguard their services into the future.
Encourage Management Skills
In a rapidly changing industry, one constant for travel agents is the demand for agile management skills. Wrangling individual itineraries, visas, corporate policies, correspondence and vendor information takes a keen eye if to be handled successfully.
It can be argued that many, if not most of the activities conducted by travel agents can be achieved by do-it-yourself travellers using free online platforms. At the very least, booking flights, accommodation and transport is now an achievable prospect from the comfort of your living room.
However, keeping track of the quickly-building stack of confirmations, itineraries and correspondence becomes overwhelming for travellers who’d rather focus on organising the first meeting of their trip.
So when a client approaches a travel agent for help, they expect these independent bookings to be managed seamlessly.
Thankfully, streamlined management platforms can systemise this information in a personalised workflow.
Aspiring travel agents should make honing their management skills a priority in their professional development.
Nurture Interpersonal Skills
Travel agencies rely on their ability to deliver a personalised, human-to-human service in order to win business.
So it’s no surprise that interpersonal skills rate highly on the checklist of required skills for aspiring agents. A travel agent’s client-facing duties can be their most important, so if you’re training a junior team member stress the significance of these interactions.
Travel agents are expected to understand the pain points and motivations of their clients. And remember, for many people business trips represent a career highlight. Good travel agents can capitalise on this enthusiasm, and instil confidence in their travellers.
Travel management platforms simplify and structure correspondence between clients and vendors. Travel agents should master the management of these, and strive to surprise and delight clients with the exceptional personal service expected of them.
Develop Technical Skills
Senior travel agents more versed in the traditional methods of conducting business may find their junior staff adopt the technical side of things with startling speed.
If so, fantastic - chances are their roles will becomes increasingly technical in years to come.
To deliver the best possible service to clients, travel agencies must use an effective travel management platform. Through this, agents can load negotiated rates with vendors, book itineraries, manage correspondence with vendors and clients, access policy insights and reporting and also adjust their workflow to suit their needs.
Mastering these features doesn’t come overnight, but a good platform is intuitive and holistic.
Encourage Industry Learning
Another pillar of success for budding travel agents is a genuine interest in how their industry is evolving.
Understanding how the travel agency landscape has changed in recent years, and where it’s heading in the future will arm the agents of tomorrow with a foundation for innovation.