Subscribe RSS

Tag-Archive for "how to become a travel agent"

FAM’s Over…Now What Nov 06

FAM’s Over…Now What

For professional travel agents, FAM trips are useful tools to boost your product knowledge. But what you do AFTER the trip is vital to making the most of your FAM experience.

The first step is to organize all of the materials you brought home.

You probably collected business cards from resort staff members or tour operator representatives. On each card, jot down a quick note of the place, date, and circumstances of how you met each person. This will help you jog your memory if you need to make contact later on.

Sort through all of the brochures, manuals, or other promotional items you acquired. Keep some for client distribution, and others for your own personal reference. If you picked up resort maps, fact sheets, or other similar items, it is useful to scan these and save copies to your computer.

Review any notes that you took during your property tours, and decide how you want to store them for future use. You may want to write your thoughts and observations on the applicable pages of your own reference copy of a property brochure or training manual. Another option is to use note-taking software, such as Evernote or OneNote. These programs allow you to organize and categorize your personal notes, pictures, and other media. The key is to make the information easy to find when you need it.

Lastly, download any of the photos and videos that you took from your camera to your computer. Once again, organization is important. Sort them into folders that are labeled by property name and the date of your visit.

Now that you have organized your materials, it’s time to put them to use. You want to share your knowledge and experience with as many clients, and potential clients, as possible.

One way to do this effectively is through social media. Add photos to your personal and business Facebook pages. Place each property’s photos in its own unique folder.  You don’t need to use hundreds of images. Carefully select specific photos that highlight the property’s main features and room categories. Label each picture with a brief description so that viewers know what they are looking at.

Another way to share your experience is via a travel blog. This allows you to share more detailed thoughts and observations. You can add in tips such as specific types of travelers that would enjoy a property, differences in room categories, or other useful information. Add in a few key pictures, and don’t forget to include a link back to the complete album on your Facebook page.

If you think a specific client would benefit from learning about your trip, make an effort to contact them directly. Send an email with a personal invitation to view your Facebook album or blog post. Or call to tell them that you recently visited a property or destination they would love, and offer to meet up with them to share your experiences.

Finally, make an effort to follow-up with any of the key contacts that you made during the trip. Send an email or card thanking each person that gave you a guided tour or conducted a training session. Ask them any follow-up questions that came to mind after your visit. Send them a link to your Facebook page or blog, so that they can see how you are actively promoting their products. This will help you to establish a useful network of professional connections. Also ask the suppliers to add you to their email lists to be informed of any specials, booking incentives, or news about the properties and ships you toured.

Taking the time to properly follow-up after your trip will help you to turn your FAM experience into increased sales and greater client satisfaction.

Are you ready to go? KHM Travel Agents can look under “Meetings and Events” in their Agent Portal to view upcoming FAM opportunities. Not a KHM Travel Agent yet? Visit www.KHMTravel.com to learn more about the training and support available to start your own home-based travel business.

KHM Travel Agent Career Benefit: Money Matters Nov 01

KHM Travel Agent Career Benefit: Money Matters

There are many advantages to beginning a travel agent career with KHM Travel. As much fun and enjoyment as a travel agent career may provide, the bottom line for any business venture should be, well, the bottom line!

Working as a home-based travel agent with KHM Travel Group provides several financial advantages:

Unlimited Income Potential – Whether you are pursuing a full-time business or supplementing the earnings from another job, there is no limit to the amount of income you can earn in your travel agent career. It is up to you to decide how much time and effort you can invest in your business!

Higher Commission Rates – By combining the purchasing power of a nationwide network of home-based agents, KHM Travel helps you to qualify for higher commission percentages than an individual agent may receive. Commission levels for many major travel suppliers are at the industry maximum!

Cost Savings – Operating a home-based business cuts down on many employment-related expenses. Eliminating your daily commute saves money on gasoline and tolls, and you may find yourself spending less on work-related clothing and dining out. A tax professional can also advise you of potential tax deductions related to operating your vehicle, maintaining a home office space, and other business-related expenses.

Travel Discounts – Qualified agents may be able to take advantage of hotel, resort, and cruise discounts offered by travel suppliers. KHM Travel regularly schedules familiarization trips, often at reduced prices, so that agents can gain firsthand knowledge of the products they sell.

Want to learn more about starting a profitable career with KHM Travel? Contact us at 877-220-9260 ext. 2200 for more information, or visit www.KHMTravel.com and let the adventure begin!

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.

KHM Travel Agent Career Benefit: Flexibility Sep 30

KHM Travel Agent Career Benefit: Flexibility

One of the ultimate benefits of beginning your adventure with KHM Travel Group is the amount of flexibility that your travel agent career provides.  Forget the feeling of being chained to a desk or a slave to the time clock!  As a home-based travel agent, you have the ultimate control over when, where, and how you want to run your own business.

Whether you choose to pursue your travel agent career as a full- or part-time endeavor, you are not limited to working specific days or times.  You can arrange your schedule to allow time for taking care of personal or family obligations.  You can even begin your travel business a second career, perhaps while working around a traditional “9-to-5″ job.

Although we usually say that KHM Travel Agents work from home, they really can work almost anywhere!  With a mobile device, tablet, or laptop, almost any location with Internet service can become your temporary office.  You can even travel to tropical destinations and still keep in touch with your clients.

One of the most exciting aspects of flexibility as a work from home travel agent is the opportunity to create a business that is molded by your own preferences.  You can choose the type of travel products that you would like to sell, perhaps focusing on a destination or experience that you love.  You also have the opportunity to create your own brand, and select how you would like to market your travel business to potential clients.

When it comes to flexibility, you just can’t beat the opportunities provided by a travel agent career!

Are you ready to get started?  Contact KHM Travel Group at 877-220-9260 ext. 200 for more information or visit www.KHMTravel.com and let the adventure begin!

How To Create Your Home Office Sep 23

How To Create Your Home Office

As an independent KHM Travel Agent, you will enjoy the many benefits of working from home.  You are able to set your own hours, with no rigid schedule to keep or time clock to punch.  Your commute time may only be as long as it takes you to walk the few steps to your desk.

You also have control over how you would like to set up your office.  Creating a comfortable and organized workspace is key to making sure that your time spent working at home is as productive as possible.

First, choose a location in your home to use as your office.  Even if you can’t devote an entire room to your business, try to find an area that can be set aside exclusively as your workspace — even if it is just a quiet corner or a converted closet.  Having a dedicated spot where you can work and make phone calls without being interrupted is ideal.

Next, assemble the key equipment necessary for your business.  The main things you will need are:

  • Work surface – A desk or table that allows enough space for your electronics and keeping any vital paperwork close at hand.
  • Comfortable chair – You may spend a considerable amount of time sitting, so make sure to choose something that is comfortable and provides proper back support.
  • Computer – You will need reliable internet access, and the ability to print is a bonus.
  • Telephone – You may choose to have a dedicated landline, a cell phone, or both.  Consider purchasing a headset or other device for hands-free talking, which will come in handy if you are trying to take notes during a call or keep busy while on a lengthy hold.
  • File Storage – You will need to keep track of paperwork related to running your business, as well as client information.

There are many other items that can be added to help keep you organized:  A calendar or planner to keep track of appointments, a memo board on the wall to plan out projects, a spot to keep reference material from suppliers.  You may also consider shelves or bins to hold brochures and marketing materials, although these don’t necessarily have to be stored directly in your main workspace.

Your office décor doesn’t need to break the bank.  You may be able to find used furnishings at a thrift store or for sale online, or you could repurpose some items from other areas of your house.   Start off with a smaller space and basic equipment, which you can add to or upgrade as your business grows.

Once you have the basics in place, don’t forget to add a personal touch to your workspace.  Have some fun with it!  Display pictures from your travels, frame certifications you have earned, or add other decorative items that bring a smile to your face.  Being happy in your office will help you look forward to sitting down at your desk each day to work, and you will be off to a great start in your career as a KHM Travel Agent!

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.

How To Handle Competition Sep 16

How To Handle Competition

Competition – a dreaded word in any business. Most people don’t like to deal with “competition” as it means there may be someone out there that could sell the product or perform the function better. Competition in any form can be healthy. It keeps you sharp, on your toes, ensures you are always trained, and it encourages creativity and innovation.

Since the travel industry is not immune to competition, the key to overcoming it is to earn the competitive EDGE. It all starts with being “pro-active” and knowing how to deal with each competitive situation with confidence.

First you have to identify your competition. Once you recognize who your competition may be, it will be easier to strategize how you will overcome and win in each situation. Here a few examples of potential competitors.

Other Travel Agents – It won’t take long before you run into a client who may know or have used a travel agent before. Instead of looking at another agent as competition, view it as opportunity. Another travel agent is one more person out there that can sell the “value” of using a travel professional. Educating the public is important and you can’t do it all by yourself. Get to know the travel agents in your area, learn about their specialties, and you may even be able to send each other leads. But more importantly, learn their strengths and weaknesses so you can capitalize on them.

Travel Suppliers – It is no secret that the travel suppliers who train agents and pay commission can also be your biggest competitors. The best way to combat losing business to travel suppliers is to “nip it in the bud” from the very beginning. Let your client know that the supplier you are using sells directly to the consumer. Be sure to explain to them that suppliers always encourage the consumer to use a travel professional if at all possible. Since not all consumers know and understand the value of using travel agents, suppliers have to be prepared to work with travelers that call and book direct. Being aware of this issue and educating your client from the very beginning will ensure that your client will feel comfortable using your services.

Online Booking Engines – It’s a fact that online booking engines have been around for awhile, and will probably be your biggest competition. However, they can be one of the easiest competitive situations to overcome. This is where educating your prospect and selling yourself effectively will help beat the online booking engine almost every single time. Follow these few simple steps and online booking engines won’t even be an issue.

First, build a relationship before you start selling. This is key because online booking engines don’t have the ability to build relationships. And generally travelers want to work with people they know and like.

Second, educate your prospect on the history of online booking engines. A decade ago, the online booking engine was a viable option when storefront agencies started to close their doors. But now the world wide web of travel has become so populated, that it is a confusing place for any consumer to navigate. The consumer gets faced with far too many options and pictures and they can’t even tell what’s real and what’s not. Booking online has become an extremely overwhelming process for the traveler. This is where you can step in as a travel professional.

Finally, sell the value of using a travel professional versus booking it online themselves.  You will save your client time and money, and offer them sound advice based on your training and/or firsthand experiences.

Competition is basically a confidence game. And that confidence begins with YOU. Once you find your niche and get trained, your confidence will grow. Don’t be afraid to let others know how confident you are about your industry and the product that you sell, which is yourself. You will find that confidence is contagious and your prospects will want to do business with YOU! And more importantly you will be able to welcome and deal with the healthy competition the world of travel will bring you.

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.

How to Change Common Perceptions of Travel Agents Sep 09

How to Change Common Perceptions of Travel Agents

As a travel agent, the way your customers feel about you is important. The more you show you care about them, the more likely it is that you will get repeat clients that will provide valuable referrals. With that in mind, providing good customer service to your clients should naturally be a major priority in your day-to-day schedule. It is important to develop a reputation to live up to. And for many, it all begins with breaking away from the perception and stereotypes of what it means to be a travel agent.

Your clients‘ perceptions of being a travel agent can be different based on where they live, their ages, and their past experiences working with travel professionals. For many, you may find that their perception of a travel agent is someone who sifts through travel deals and websites behind a computer for hours at a time, trying to locate the best price for clients. People may even think what you do is easy and they could do it themselves, especially if they believe they could save some money.

Your friends and family may perceive travel agents differently especially if they observe you traveling to exotic destinations for training and site visits. However, this is where you will gain credentials, and firsthand experiences that will set you apart from your competition. Your friends and family may actually believe that you are always on “vacation” and what you do is more of a “hobby” it is than an actual career or business.

Society, in general, may believe that all travel agents do is book airline tickets and hotel rooms. Why? Because back in the 1990′s, the storefront travel agency did just that. They focused on corporate travel where the bulk of their business was airline ticketing. In fact, at that time, only about 20% of their travel business was leisure travel or vacations. Many people also think that using a travel agent costs more…that the commissions you are paid get added to the cost of their trip. You will need to help educate consumers on the fact that the commission comes directly from the suppliers, and booking through an agent does not increase the total cost of your their trip.

When you first became a travel agent, your initial perception of yourself is that you need to be “everything to everyone.” Some new agents may fall into this trap and actually become good at planning a lot of different types of travel, but not an “expert” at anything.  This overwhelming need to learn and do everything can be a dangerous and slippery climb to the top and generally the reward of success takes much longer.

To truly know how to break through all these different perceptions of what people think you do, it is important to really understand and appreciate the value of what you will actually offer your clients as a travel professional.  That’s right…you really aren’t a travel agent, you are a travel professional.  So, what does that mean?

As a travel professional, you are passionate about helping to plan memorable travel experiences for your clients.  It’s a vacation they may have saved years for that may even offer them a “lifetime of photos and memories.”  You will be a part of making all of that happen for your clients.

You may help plan that perfect destination wedding or honeymoon with all the amenities to offer exquisite romance.  Or perhaps you may be sending a struggling couple on a much needed vacation alone together to get reacquainted.  You may be involved in planning a “vow renewal ceremony” for a second wedding the couple will never forget.  Or you may even help plan that “affordable” summer vacation for a “family of 7″ that would have never been able to travel if it wasn’t for your help in making it happen.  They say just “one vacation can offer a lifetime of memories,” and YOU can be a part of all of that.

What you do as a travel professional breaks away from all the perceptions of what others may believe you do.  And part of the process of living up to that image of what you actually do for your clients starts with how you take care of them from the very beginning until they return home.  Remember, you are a travel professional, an expert, and a consultant that helps plan unforgettable getaways!

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.

How to Sell Value Over Price Jul 26

How to Sell Value Over Price

As a new travel agent, it is perceived that selling travel seems to be all about the “price.” Some new agents will scour the Internet and travel supplier sites to look for the cheapest prices, least-expensive excursions, lowest category cruise cabins, and off-the beaten path resorts, just so they can quote the lowest price to their potential client. Inexperience says “to be the best, you need to be the lowest.”

The phrase “you get what you pay for” is a cliché for a reason. Offering the lowest price, isn’t always the best. And trying to have the lowest price or setting yourself up to be known for “cheap travel” is a recipe for disaster.

When a travel agents focus on price and price alone, they end up being just a “vending machine” for travel, trying to compete with the travel megasites on the Internet. This is the worst mistake you can make as a travel agent when positioning yourself in the marketplace.

And besides, if your prices are the lowest, and your client chooses you because of it, they will probably only be loyal to finding that lowest price and not loyal to you as their agent. Your goal as a travel agent is to gain and retain clients, so you need to ask yourself, what about service and quality? What about YOU?

As you become more experienced, educated and confident with being a travel expert, what you sell becomes less about the price and more about the value you offer. A little tip…Instead of thinking of yourself as a travel agent, consider yourself a “travel professional.”

A travel professional is someone who is trained and experienced in planning travel and vacations for clients. Planning travel is about the services you are going to offer your client that will result in a stress-free vacation experience that will create memories to last a lifetime. These services can include researching and comparing vacation options, sharing your expert knowledge, coordinating excursions and arranging activities, answering questions, processing the booking, handling documents, and being your clients’ advocate before, during, and after their trip.

Over time as you become educated, try to visit destinations and resorts for trainings, so you can provide firsthand experiences on what is great and what just “looks great” on a website. Showing clients photos and videos that you personally took while being trained at these destinations, resorts, or cruises is the greatest marketing tool you can have when selling yourself, selling a destination and selling value, NOT price.

Remember, ultimately if you decide to sell on price, everyone loses. Your client loses because he or she may have not gotten the best service and product and you lose because you may not have gotten the sale. Warren Buffet said it best, “Price is what you pay, VALUE is what you get.”

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!