Voting is open for the 2018 Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards and only you can choose – but how? We look at how to identify the cream of the crop, with the help of some cat and dog pictures, just because… Here are five things you may want to consider when you're choosing the best in travel:
Are they top of their game? Whether you’re deciding on an airline, destination or tour operator, you need to consider where they stand against the competition in their category. They may be a real specialist or they could have a diverse range of product but really excel in this region or arena, what matters is the confidence you have in this brand or destination. Who would you choose for your most difficult customer without hesitation? You could consider how they contribute to the travel industry as a whole too – are they champions for hospitality or committed to sustainable tourism?
Is your loyalty rewarded? Brands that champion the trade always give back to loyal agents. It doesn’t have to be huge cash prizes (although that’s always nice!), perhaps they offer generous trade discounts on their product which allow you to test it out yourself, run regular fam trips for top-sellers, always pop in to your agency personally to tell you about their new product and bring cup cakes too, or simply send a note to say thank you for a big booking. It’s nice to feel appreciated.
Do they offer you training? Travel brands which value the trade often offer some kind of training or education, whether it’s a flash online training programme with a certificate for you at the end or a face-to-face session with one of their sales team. Do they invite you to events where you can meet the team and learn more about the brand and its products? Or perhaps they are always out and about, taking part in various trade events and roadshows and making sure they get face-time with the trade.
Who makes your job easier? Think about the experience you have with this brand. If something goes wrong or you have an urgent query do you spend half an hour waiting on the phone tearing your hair out or can you get hold of someone quickly? Is there a dedicated team for trade sales? Do they have a special trade area on their website where you can download marketing collateral to promote them or access brochures?
Do they leave your customers happy? Having said all that, who cares what you think (sort of). A happy customer means a repeat customer, in theory, so their joy is your joy! What have your clients reported back to you? It could be outstanding service and staff or little touches which weren’t asked for but topped off the experience they had. Perhaps they reported impressive value-for-money or just downright quality. If your customers took the time to gush about something, the chances are they were seriously impressed!
The Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards are the only industry accolades both nominated and voted for by travel agents alone so we really need you! You dont need to vote in every category - just the ones that are relevant to you - and everyone who votes will be eligable for a host pf prizes including hotel stays, theme park tickets and spa products!
Look out for a spike in bookings to Thailand because the cast of The Only Way is Essex has just finished filming two episodes in Koh Samui for series 24 of TOWIE, hitting TV screens on March 17 (9pm, ITVBe).
Julie Baxter finds herself stranded in the rocky Channel Isles, closer to France than England, partly stuck in the past and captivated by the sea with its beautiful bays and history of savage shipwrecks.
UK passport holders don’t have to pay a penny to enter Vietnam until June 2018, but that’s not the only reason to visit this fascinating country, says Nina Farrimond.In the first of two blogs, she explores Hanoi, Halong Bay and Hue.
The fair city of Dublin is known for its musical pubs, heavy-drinking locals and literary legends. The Irish capital can be a tourist trap and the Pound to Euro exchange rate isn’t great at the moment but here’s how to enjoy yourself, even if your bucket list has a budget.
Abu Dhabi's profile had risen steadily over the last few years and 2016 saw some notable achievments. We quiz Nabeel Al Zarouni from the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority on what agents can expect in 2017.
Julie Baxter walks the medieval ramparts of this beautiful hilltop city in Languedoc, southern France, searching for the romantic knights and tortured witches of her imagination and finding much more than she bargained for.
Missed our Selling Travel Dialogue on Oman? Never fear because we summed it up here. Read on to find out what the sultanate can offer your clients and how you can harness new flight routes from Oman Air.
Do you love James Bond films for their exotic locations as much as the action man himself? We certainly do! Here's a list of our favourite locations, ranging from iconic cities to ingenious baddie lairs.
Travel trend spotters constantly talk about authenic experiences but when it comes to Canada, how many travellers have First Nation culture on their itinerary? Find out why they should and how to find it.