KHM Travel Agents Go Beyond the Basics at Boot Camp 2.0
Written by: Amanda Bailey on October 25, 2019
Last week, KHM Travel Group hosted their first Boot Camp 2.0 event for 22 of its independent travel agents. This live event, over a year in the making, is designed as an intermediate-level training to help experienced agents expand their business to new markets and products. As the name indicates, Boot Camp 2.0 is the second step in the progression from Boot Camp for established travel agents.
ALOHA TO LEARNING
A majority of the agents had visited Hawaii, but with such rich and varied experiences, our Tuesday morning sessions introduced them to new ways to approach selling this bucket-list destination.
Hawaii native Alexandra Roth from the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau kicked off the island vibes. Her stunning presentation brought the unique personality of each island to life and she even taught us a few words in Hawaiian. Bill and Chantelle from our Education Team added their personal experiences and knowledge of Hawaii in their walkthrough of Hawaii’s geography. In the afternoon, Beth Kitzman showed agents how easy it is to build a multi-island itinerary within the VAX VacationAccess booking engine.
I LOVED the overviews of each island. It was honest feedback about destinations. LOVED the top 2-3 hotel suggestions broken down by budget categories. I knew very little about Hawaii and this was a perfect session!Cassie S.
Our Norwegian Cruise Line team, Jane and Soleil, presented the “lei” of the islands from the cruising perspective. The Pride of America, which is unique among cruise ships in that it was built in the United States, gives travelers the chance to island hop around Hawaii without having to pack and unpack each time.
In the afternoon we headed up north to a second major bucket list spot, Alaska. Madeline Costa, our Princess Cruises BDM and a longtime visitor to the Last Frontier, painted a picture of what distinguishes Princess from other cruising options. To help agents qualify their clients for their Alaskan sailing, she also provided insights into each of the line’s Alaska-bound ships and what type of clients they are suited for.
EUROPE BY LAND & RIVER
Covering an entire continent’s worth of travel opportunities is daunting to do in a day. With the help of two of our Preferred Suppliers, Avanti and the Globus family of brands, agents gained a better understanding of how to help clients see Europe based on their travel style and preferences.
This included an overview of the most popular European destinations from Bill and Chantelle: Ireland, England, France, Italy and Germany. Tina Tiano, an enthusiastic traveler and our BDM from Globus then dove into the tour operators’ independent and escorted experiences in Europe. She followed it up in the afternoon with a full view of Avalon Waterways and its innovative Panorama Suite ships.
Avanti Destinations then introduced our agents to the customized Europe itineraries that can be built through Avanti. Tour operators like Avanti empower agents to put together outside of the box, tailor-made vacations for their clients.
One of the many interesting conversations among agents and the Education Team focused on the differences between river cruise lines and the perception among travelers. Viking and Avalon have been essential in building awareness about river cruising among Americans, and other lines like Tauck, Scenic, and Uniworld offer an elevated level of service and sophistication but aren’t as widely known.
The engagement around the topic at Boot Camp 2.0 reflected the excitement around river cruising in the travel industry at large. As the interest in river cruising grows, it’s important for agents to know how to qualify their clients for the right experience.
DEVELOPING A GROWTH MINDSET
Each agent at Boot Camp 2.0 has seen success in their business and attended this event in order to learn how to grow. The morning sessions were dedicated to sharing different ways to expand on marketing strategies, including creating email marketing segments, taking advantage of supplier marketing resources, and hosting a travel night.
One of the big questions agents at this stage ask is, “How am I going to grow my business?”
The answer to this question is not always obvious and it isn’t the same for every agent. In the afternoon, KHM Travel’s CFO Dave Gouttiere and Bill Coyle presented the potential models for business growth to agents. They used sample reports from myTravelCRM to help agents recognize potential areas for growth. We also sent agents home with sales reports from their past few years to make sure they can do their own analysis when they get home!
I liked that it made me think about where my business is at now and where I want it to be, then think about what needs to be done to get there.Laura B.
As each growth model plays to different personalities, Dave and Bill led a discussion that encouraged agents to reflect on their strengths, passions, and areas of improvement to determine how they can best set their individual businesses up for success. They stressed that the path to growth may change over the course of an agent’s career, so understanding each model will help agents evolve their business with their lifestyle.
BOOT CAMP 2.0 MOVING FORWARD
We were so fortunate to welcome this highly engaged and thoughtful group of agents to our first of many Boot Camp 2.0 events. We can’t thank you enough for your participation and feedback that will help us improve Boot Camp 2.0 in the future!