Subscribe RSS

Archive for the Category "Marketing Your Travel Agency"

How to Sell All-Inclusive Vacations to Cruise Clients Oct 23

How to Sell All-Inclusive Vacations to Cruise Clients

Cruising is a popular way to travel, and many agents build successful businesses around cruise travel. But what if your cruise clients are ready to try something different? If you are ready to tap into a new source of potential income, consider these reasons why you should offer all-inclusive vacations to your cruise clients.

Familiarity
There are many similarities between cruises and all-inclusive vacations. Clients will appreciate that their resort price includes meals, daytime activities, and evening entertainment … just like a vacation at sea! They can also add on tours, excursions, and spa treatments to customize their experience.

Value
An all-inclusive vacation provides the added benefit of having beverages, including alcohol, included in the package price. Some resorts offer additional bonuses such as resort credits, included excursions, or a gratuity-free experience. Make sure your cruise clients appreciate the value of these inclusions.

Convenience
Booking an all-inclusive vacation wraps airfare, hotel, and transfers into one, easy-to-plan package. Using a tour operator streamlines the process, with representatives available to offer assistance at the destination airport and resort. Your clients can just relax and enjoy their trip, without having to stress about the logistics.

Flexibility
Cruise ships operate on set schedules, limiting your clients to specific departure dates and trip lengths. All-inclusive vacations can be planned for almost any date and length combination, offering your clients greater scheduling flexibility.

Unique Experiences
Staying in one location for a longer period of time offers a different travel experience than the shorter time spent at most cruise ports. Your clients will appreciate opportunities to explore their destination in depth, experience more of the local culture, and perhaps participate in tours that wouldn’t be possible due to a ship’s scheduled itinerary.

Many frequent cruisers are looking for a new and different vacation experience.  Presenting the benefits of all-inclusive travel will help your clients to view you as a trusted expert, and ensure that they will return to you again and again for all of their travel needs.

Not a KHM Travel Agent yet? Visit www.KHMTravel.com to learn more about the training and support available to start your career as a home-based travel agent.

10 Tips for Networking Effectively Oct 16

10 Tips for Networking Effectively

Once you have chosen and joined your networking groups, you are on the road to building a strong prospect list. But joining is only the first step towards making that group work for you. It is important to effectively “work your group” to build relationships, get referrals, grow your prospect list, and ultimately gain more clients that will result in repeat business. Let us share with you 10 tips on how to effectively utilize your time at any networking event.

1. Obtain a membership roster.
When you join a networking group, try to obtain a roster of all the members and their email addresses. This way, you can email a letter of introduction to the members and also share with them your desire to get to know them and their businesses. You can also use this opportunity to gain permission to put them on your email list to receive your monthly agency newsletter.

2. Develop quality relationships.
Think quality not quantity. In other words, attending a networking event and coming back with 50 business cards really doesn’t do anything for your business. All you have is 50 business cards. However, attending the same networking group and coming back with 5 business cards, from individuals with whom you spent time, got to know, and began building the foundation of a relationship, is far more effective. Remember you are not attending a networking meeting to just sit or eat. You are there to get to know others.

3. Learn something about each person you meet.
Remember to also add those key people that you spent time with at these events to your ongoing prospect list. Also, send an email to those with whom you spent time. Try to include something personal in the email to jog their memory or trigger a connection with that new prospect and again build upon this new relationship.

4. Be an active participant.
Never miss a scheduled meeting or event. If you join a networking group, be sure to always be an active participant. And if you need to miss a meeting or event, always be sure to send a substitute in your place so you still have exposure.

5. Meet someone new.
At each scheduled networking luncheon and/or meeting, try to sit with someone new so you will put yourself in a position to get to know more people within your group.

6. Take on leadership roles.
Accept and apply for leadership roles within the organization. By doing so, you will not only increase your exposure, you will also gain respect from fellow members and build new relationships.

7. Support other members’ businesses.
Think about giving back to the other members. In other words, don’t let this be “all about you” and your business. Learn about other members’ businesses and strategize how you may be able to bring business back to them. It all goes back to the old adage…give and you shall receive!

8. Sell yourself.
Develop, memorize and practice your 60-second commercial, or elevator pitch. When you have the opportunity to stand up and introduce yourself, be prepared to sell yourself and the advantages of doing business with you.

9. Make a good first impression.
Are you memorable? First impressions can be lasting impressions. Think about how you dress and appear to others. Be professional, outgoing, and be prepared to step up when the opportunity arises and “sell yourself” to others. Remember people do business with people whom they like.

10. Be prepared.
Be prepared. Make sure you have plenty of business cards, your agency flyer, and your monthly newsletter to hand out at every meeting.

Putting these steps into practice will help expand your business within your community and enhance your professional networking skills.

How to Qualify Your Client May 13

How to Qualify Your Client

One of the most critical steps in working with your clients in planning that perfect destination getaway is properly qualifying them before you make a recommendation. Qualifying your client can also establish your reputation and credentials as a travel professional. Why is this so important? Imagine going to your family physician, and they try to give you advice and write a prescription when they really didn’t take the time to understand all of your symptoms. Wouldn’t you walk away wondering if you need a second opinion? Of course you would. At the very least you would wonder how much that doctor even cares.

Before you can make recommendations, it really is important as a travel professional, to understand the experience your clients would like to capture from their vacation. Of course there are the common questions any travel agent would ask. Where do you want to go? What type of vacation experience are you seeking? What are the dates you want to travel? What is your budget?

Obviously you need the answers to these types of questions BEFORE you make a booking. But have you ever thought about asking qualifying questions that you don’t really need to know the answers to? These types of questions will not only show you care about your clients’ travel experience, but will establish yourself as a professional, and will probably secure the booking for you and eliminate your competition.

This is where thinking “out of the box” helps establish you not only as a travel agent, but as a travel expert. You want to show your clients that you are someone that cares about helping them achieve the maximum value. Which isn’t necessarily just a vacation, but a travel experience…an adventure…a memory that will last a lifetime.

These types of questions will help you make a recommendation, but they will also tell your clients that you care enough to capture the essence of what they would like for their travel experience. Perhaps it is a time for de-stressing, spending time with family, revitalizing a stale marriage, or seeking adventure and fulfillment.

Remember that vacations aren’t just where and when you want to travel. Vacations are about adding to your repertoire of life experiences.

So what kind of qualifying questions should a Travel Expert ask? Here are some of the questions we recommend to get your client talking about their vacation desires.

What are some of your past vacation likes and dislikes? Would you consider yourself a beach person or a pool person? Which is more important: staying at a nicer resort with a downgraded room, or, staying at a mid-range resort with an upgraded room? Do you like the idea of being able to eat and drink as much as you want for one price? What are your favorite foods? Do you enjoy eating island cuisine (or trying local cultural foods?) Are you looking for a more intimate experience or would you prefer more action and nightlife? Is room service important to you? Is beach service important to you? What kind of attire would you like to wear for evening wear? Would it be important to you to stay at a resort that has activities and nightlife after 11PM? What type of water activities do you like? Are long walks on the beach important to you? What do you like about your chosen destination? Are you certified to scuba dive? Would you like to get certified while on vacation? What types of family vacation activities are important to you? What is your goal for this vacation?

Also remember it is not enough to just ask the right questions. Don’t forget how important it is to listen to their responses, as well. You will find when you take the time to get to know your prospects, you will leave them with feelings of excitement and anticipation about their upcoming vacation.

And chances are you have also now secured them as your next client.

Interested in starting an exciting new career as a KHM Travel Group Agent? Visit www.KHMTravel.com to learn more about our unique and comprehensive travel agent program that can be the gateway for you to start your own business, earn money and travel the world!

Finding the Perfect Trade Show Apr 26

Finding the Perfect Trade Show

Gaining targeted, relationship-driven travel sales is very important to your business. One of the best ways to obtain these sales is by participating in a trade show.

When you first start seeking out trade shows, try thinking like your potential travel client and look where they are looking. Consider their age, gender and spending ability. If you’re looking to tap into the bridal market, consider sponsoring a bridal show. Shopping malls, bridal boutiques, radio stations, and wedding reception venues are also known to host bridal shows. You can usually find event listings for local bridal shows online. If you’re looking to sell to families, consider sponsoring seasonal and family-oriented events like craft fairs, community fairs and outdoors events. Check your city or local chamber of commerce’s website and event listings for events in your community.

The bottom line is—don’t participate in a trade show if you don’t think that your potential clients will be there.

Now that you’ve found some shows in your area that will attract your potential clients, how do you decide whether or not to participate? There are several qualifying questions and factors to take into consideration.

First, you should consider the location and size of the show. If it is close to your home or office, future client meetings will be easy and convenient. Be sure to see if there is free parking at the show, as the cost of parking may deter people from attending.

Secondly, your booth size and location is also an important factor. Ask yourself questions like “What is the size of the space I will get to market my business? Will my booth be located in a heavy-traffic area? What does the show producer provide vendors in terms of tables, table-skirting, lighting and flooring? What will be required for set-up and teardown?” Asking these questions are important because extensive set-up needs may raise your overall costs and make the show less profitable to you in the long run. The answers to these questions will help you determine if the trade show is right for you.

The third factor is cost and it is key in figuring out if the event will contribute to an increase in profits for your agency. It’s always a benefit to get access to the names and contact information of the attendees. That way you can follow up with them by using a direct mail piece or an email campaign. Also, some shows may give you the option to purchase space to have your company or name mentioned in any of the show’s printed or advertising materials, like a show guide, program or the flyer promoting the show, which means more eyes and ears on your company name and logo. If advertising is included with the cost of your booth…even better as these types of ads on their own may become costly!

Additional aspects to consider are the time of year, week, or even the day that the show takes place, the number of attendees expected, and the number of other travel vendors that you will be competing with at the show. Large shows that are heavily promoted in the media will attract more potential clients, but you may need to recruit additional help to staff your booth and you will have less time to interact with potential clients. Smaller shows may result in higher quality leads and allow for more time for you to sell your services to those in attendance.

Don’t agree to sponsor a show or buy a booth without first determining the maximum amount you are willing to spend. Smaller shows can cost anywhere from $50 to $500 per table or booth and larger shows can go into the thousands. But, don’t worry. You don’t have to spend a lot to make this work for you! Decide how many shows you will do in the next year and budget accordingly. Count everything from booth setup and display costs, to giveaways, printed materials and signage. Be sure to talk to your tax accountant because there is a good chance that most of these business costs can be written off!

If you have difficulty finding the potential in your trade show investment, then participating in that specific show may not be worth your time, money or effort. But don’t let that discourage you; there are plenty of trade shows out there, so you’re sure to find the perfect one for you and your business!

Interested in starting an exciting new career as a KHM Travel Group Agent? Visit www.KHMTravel.com to learn more about our unique and comprehensive travel agent program that can be the gateway for you to start your own business, earn money and travel the world!

 

Developing Relationships Mar 22

Developing Relationships

There are so many different facets to developing and marketing a business. In this series of videos, we are going to look at the building blocks of sales, promotion, marketing and development of your new travel business. Each building block you use to build your agency is critical to a strong structure. So it is important that your structure, which is your travel agency, is strong and secure from your foundation all the way up. As a travel agent, your foundation will be secure if you have the ability to build strong relationships with your potential clients.

Before you can sell yourself, your business, and travel to your prospective clients, it is important to develop a good rapport and credibility with them first. For some people, it comes naturally. Almost like an “art form” which they have developed in their personality. However, for others it can be a struggle. If you fall into the latter, take a deep breath because building relationships is easier than you think. In fact you don’t even need to say a word. That’s right…all you need to do is “listen.”

You might have heard your Mother say, “Use your ears, not your mouth.” And it’s true. Dale Carnegie, a pioneer in public speaking and personality development, preached “You can get more business in two months by getting to know the other person, than you can in two years by trying to get them to know you.” In other words, don’t be so quick to sell yourself, what you do, and who you are to the other person. Take the time to get to know them first. A simple technique of “asking questions” and getting them to talk about themselves is actually much easier than you think.

Questions like, “Where did you grow up?” “What is your line of work?” “What do you like to do for fun?”

All of these types of questions will stimulate conversation between you and your prospect. This type of conversation allows the other person to talk about themselves first. And it is human nature for individuals to want to talk about their lives, their families, and their line of work. It makes them feel good. You will also find that by allowing others to talk about themselves, a positive opinion of who you are and the type of person you are will be formed almost immediately. You will be perceived as someone that cares about others and not just their own personal agenda.

This type of conversation takes practice to ensure you are not just “hearing” them and going through the motions, but really listening to their stories. It’s natural to always be thinking about “what’s in it for me.” But listen with the intent of… “what’s in it for them.” You will be amazed how this courtesy is generally returned.

Being a good listener sets you apart! And you will find, by doing so, people’s perception of you will be that you are likeable, and you make others feel comfortable and valuable when they’re with you. Cultivating this skill will bring you more prospects and more satisfied customers.

Connecting effectively with others takes time and effort, and it means putting others before yourself. We know this can be more difficult for some, especially if you consider yourself an introvert. So start practicing today, and once you begin connecting with others, you won’t regret it. Your reputation will be elevated, your relationships will be more defined and rewarding, and this will ultimately bring you success.

How to Follow-Up After a Networking Event Jun 18

 How To Follow-Up After a Networking Event

In the first two “how-to” videos, you learned how to find networking groups, and how to effectively use the time you spend networking.  However, if there is no “follow up” after a face-to-face networking event; quite frankly, it’s a waste of your time.  That is why we say that the “follow up” is the most critical part of any networking event.

But how do you follow up after an event in a way that doesn’t appear pushy? And more importantly, how do you develop the relationship that you have begun to build and gain “trust” as a business professional?

Too many people walk away from networking events feeling good, but then do nothing. And in most situations, if you don’t follow up on a timely basis, the people with whom you spent time at the event probably won’t remember you or your conversation.  So, you should make it a personal goal to take decisive action after every single networking event you participate in.

Here a few suggestions for “follow up” that only take a little strategic planning and an effort on your part, but are proven to take your networking events to a new level:

  • [Send a follow-up email or note] Follow up by email or even the old-fashioned note in the mail.  Simply let the person know that it was great to meet them and that you will keep them in mind if you meet anyone that is looking for the services or products that they offer. This shows that you took an interest in their business and will make a personal investment of your time to help them gain new clients.
  • [Build upon the conversation you had at the event] Try to include something in your follow up email or note that is personal to show that you found them interesting. For example, maybe they shared with you that their daughter just graduated or that they are a marathon runner.  Let them know that you enjoyed hearing their story or give them a sincere “congratulations” on their success.  You can even decide to keep personal notes, observations, and new contact introductions after each event as well.  You may be able to use these notes for long-term strategic planning. Remember that your follow up email or note gives you the opportunity to build upon the relationship you began creating during the networking event.
  • [Follow up within 24 hours] Make sure that you follow up within 24 hours.  If you don’t, that individual may not remember who you are, or you may forget to do the follow up altogether. Following up quickly also shows that you are taking the networking opportunity and their business seriously.
  • [Add them to your contact database] Don’t forget to add this person’s contact information into your database. In your follow up email or note, let them know that you would like to email or mail them your monthly newsletter and try to gain permission to add them to your email list.  At this point, you will want to request to be put on their email list as well so you can stay updated on their business.  This shows the sincere desire once again to learn more about what they do.
  • [Sell yourself first, then your business] Leave your new contact with a feeling that you are more interested in them and their business than selling “your” travel products. You are still selling “YOU” and building a relationship. If this is done effectively in the beginning, you will get the opportunity to promote your business soon enough. In the meantime, you are building a strong relationship to build upon in the future.
  • [Use social media to make a connection] Send a Linked-in or Facebook invitation after your initial follow-up. This is a great way to stay connected both personally and professionally.  Using social media for your business has become the standard and you will find your request to connect in this way will be accepted by the majority of people you interact with.
  • [Suggest another face-to-face meeting] Suggest meeting for coffee or lunch so you can get the opportunity to learn about THEIR business. A win-win relationship is generally most appealing to a business contact. It will give you the opportunity to get to know them as an individual, learn more about their business and build a relationship. The benefit of this type of meeting is that they ultimately will want to learn more about you and your business in return.

Remember to approach networking as an opportunity to build relationships and widen your possibilities to grow your prospect list. Face-to-face networking becomes the most effective when you have fine-tuned your follow-up procedures and actions.

If you do these few simple steps when following up, you will find that not only have you separated yourself from the competition, but you have begun defining yourself as a person with whom they want to do business. And the bottom line is: People will do business with people they like.

Do you have what it takes to sell travel? Contact Call Burt Kramer at 1-877-220-9260 (ext. 101) and/or visit KHMTravel.com to learn more about the training and support available to start your own home-based travel business.

 

How to Find Networking Groups Jun 08

How to Find Networking Groups

Face-to-face networking can be one of the most effective ways to build relationships and your credibility as a small business owner. For a home-based travel agent, this type of networking should be a priority when it comes to looking at ways to meet new people and grow your contact base.

But how much should you network and how many networking groups should you join? Answering this question will vary from agent to agent depending on if you are operating your business full-time or part-time and what your personal and professional goals are for your travel agency. As a rule of thumb, however, you should attend a minimum of 2 networking events a month if you work part-time and 4 networking events, or one a week, if you operate your travel agency on a full time basis.

So, where do you start to find networking groups? The first place you should investigate is your local chamber of commerce. Keep in mind that each local chamber serves the community and the businesses that reside in that community. Their goal is to help business owners grow, build and develop their businesses. Most chambers have wonderful resources and networking opportunities for the small business owner. Research your local chamber of commerce’s website and investigate what they may have to offer. Monthly networking events, business after business events, trade shows, advertising opportunities, and education workshops are just a sample of the types of resources that your chamber can provide you.

Young Professionals, Women in Business, Business Network International (BNI), National Association of Small Business Owners (NASBO), and Toastmasters are all nationally recognized networking avenues for the small business owner. Search online to locate your local chapter for these organizations and see what it takes to join.

Most of these networking organizations will charge nominal annual or monthly dues. However, in most cases, the return on your investment happens quickly. Check with your tax accountant as these types of dues are generally considered a tax write-off.

If you are on a tight budget, check out Meetup at Meetup.com for free networking opportunities available in your community. Keep in mind that not all networking groups need to be business in nature. Even social networking groups will give you the opportunity to meet new people to add to your prospect list and build long-term professional relationships.

Everyone will vacation sooner or later, so whether you’re at a professional business event, gathering of fellow moms at a playdate or even enjoying time at a classic car show, there’s always an opportunity for you to talk about what you do and gain new clients. Once you begin to network, you’ll be amazed at how fast your list of clients will grow!

——————————————————————————————-

 Interested in starting an exciting new career as a KHM Travel Group Agent? Visit www.KHMTravel.com to learn more about our unique and comprehensive travel agent program that can be the gateway for you to start your own business, earn money and travel the world! Find out more about the best way to start a fun career as a home based travel business owner at www.KHMTravel.com or call Burt Kramer at 1-877-220-9260.