Being a professional in any occupation is a full-time endeavor. To reach the top of your field, you have to constantly assess your skills and work toward improvement. This self-evaluation should extend to even the most basic aspects of your job — everyday tasks that might easily be taken for granted. For travel agents, working with hotels is a crucial part of the service you provide to clients, but improving this service may be something many agents overlook.
This issue’s cover story, “Working With Hotels” (page 10), includes tips and tactics from hoteliers, consortia executives and fellow agents that will help you make the most of your clients’ hotel stays. If you are not following the suggestions in this story, then you are not doing everything you can when it comes to the hotel part of your business.
Whether they know it or not, your clients are paying you, in part, because of the value of your personal relationships. When it comes to hotels, agents have access to sales representatives, general managers and other executives that most travelers simply don’t have. These connections can be invaluable when it comes to showing your worth to clients. It’s important that agents take the time and do the extra legwork to develop and maintain an open flow of information with hoteliers. Whether these relationships are formed through an agent’s consortium or as the result of a fam trip or by attending a trade show, agents need to be able to call on someone in order to provide extra amenities, secure upgrades or satisfy the personal preferences of clients. Agents should understand that their goals and the goals of the hotel are often alike, according to Julian Cable-Treadwell, director of marketing at the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, in Puerto Rico.
“You’re both seeking the same thing — satisfying the customer,” Cable-Treadwell said in the story. “We encourage special requests from travel agents, and we’ll do anything we can to increase that perception of value.”
So don’t be shy when it comes to developing the personal relationships or pursuing the education that is necessary to do your job to the utmost professional standards. You and your business will be the better for it.