At the recent PATA International Conference in New Delhi, I gave an
address about the state of the travel agency industry. I said that
times are tough for most agents, but some still make a decent
living. Who are they and how do they do it? It’s not rocket
science. They believe in, and practice, the principles of high-tech
and high-touch, and you can, too. How many of these good business
techniques do you use?
High-tech Do you have a good Web site? Is it updated frequently,
listed on search engines, stationery and business cards, and
promoted in advertising? Do you have an excellent database? How
well do you know your clients’ past travel histories, including
destinations, activities, per-diem budgets and future plans? Can
you query that database for a list of all clients who have said
they would like to go to Hong Kong? How well do you know the Web?
The Web is an excellent source of information for you and your
clients. The more familiar you are with the resources available on
the Web, the more valuable you are to your clients.
High-touch Provide excellent customer service. Would you want to
do business with you? Are you available when your customers want to
talk to you? Do you make house calls? Exceed their expectations.
Why should clients do business with you? Do you offer more than
your competition? Do you try to sell them the cheapest price or the
Find a niche There are thousands of travel agencies out there,
so how do you differentiate your firm? What can you offer clients
that your competition can’t? What do you do to stand out in the
crowd? Become an expert in a particular aspect of travel that will
attract customers looking for your expertise.
Even in a down market, you can more than hold your own with a
daily dose of high-tech and high-touch. And when the market comes
back as it will you’ll be way ahead.