It’s not surprising that many travellers want to go abroad right now. So what’s stopping them booking direct via the internet?
We asked Not Just Travel consultant Andy Richardson the top 4 reasons he believes travel agents are back in fashion… and why good ones are worth their weight in gold.
1/ Being there for the customer
Flight cancelled? Hotel overbooked? Holiday firm gone under?
The pandemic taught many online bookers that when things go wrong, the computer says no and no one picks up the phone.
Trying to sort things out can be incredibly stressful, not to mention time consuming.
“Since the pandemic, people have become wary about booking via the internet where no one is at the other end of the phone if things go wrong.
We’ve just helped a customer after their flight from Luton was cancelled at 4am on a Sunday morning, rebooking them on a flight departing just a couple of hours later from Heathrow.
We also contacted a couple backpacking in the middle of Asia to tell them they had to get home fast or be stuck abroad when the pandemic hit and flew another couple home via Qatar when Brits weren’t allowed to travel through Dubai.”
2/ Going the extra mile
It’s nice to know that someone cares.
Even simple things like checking clients onto flights and calling to know if customers had a good trip or how it could have been better.
Some of our consultants like to send personalised gifts. And others just quickly step in to fix problems when the client is abroad.
“We tell our clients to WhatsApp us if there is an issue abroad rather than just be disgruntled. For example, if the room isn’t satisfactory we’ll contact the manager of the hotel and request another room for them. We’ll make sure that the client likes the new room and that they have help moving to it.”
3/ Offering time, insight and expertise
Want to book a holiday on a remote island, adjoining rooms on a cruise ship, a safari with a couple of internal flights to see The Big Five?
While some people are happy to spend hours researching online, our travel consultants can quickly use their knowledge and contacts to suggest options.
“We had someone who wanted to book a walking holiday in Croatia for their dad. They had spent hours trying to find something whereas it took me five minutes to give them a number of choices because I immediately had a good idea of reputable suppliers.
We build fantastic relationships with operators who are happy to pick up the phone and jump online to confirm a booking even after office hours because they know that we have clients ready to book.”
When you join, rest assured you won’t need to be an expert in all kinds of destinations. You’ll have direct access to travel suppliers and your business development manager who’ll be there to provide all the information you need.
4/ Knowing what holidays offer value for money
Travel consultants don’t charge additional fees to earn their commission.
The travel supplier pays for them to help provide the holiday.
That means you’ll normally be providing holidays at the same price or less than they can find elsewhere.
Travel consultants are also able to save clients money. Not by discounting, but through their knowledge of which destinations offer good value for money at any given time.
“As we are full time consultants, we know which destinations and holidays offer good value for money. For example, we are seeing huge demand for cruising with some great offers on new ships, while Mauritius can offer better value for money than the Med, even at the luxury end.
We just recently found a 14-night luxury Mauritius holiday for a client for the same price as 10 nights in Croatia. Bargain!”
If you want to be a travel consultant, find out just 2 reasons why Andy recommends The Travel Franchise below.
1/ Getting the highest commissions of any franchise
“We’ve just signed our third contract. We are older, wiser and I can’t see the grass being greener than anywhere else. If you perform, you get the best commissions out there. And that’s what you have to work towards.”
2/ Fantastic support and the potential to scale up
“Bookings are so high it would take me three days to book all our clients into their flights. So we are signing up to Not Just Travel’s enhanced concierge service, to pass on some of the admin tasks. It means we can concentrate on growing the business.”