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Hi there! I am really excited to be launching a special place just for Colesville Travel Agents. Here you’ll be able to find resources, marketing tools, and lots of knowledge to help run a succesfull travel business. If you have any questions feel free to reach out.

Best,

Cindy


 
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You’re not in this alone! Be sure to visit our teams Facebook group regularly to discuss your progress and challenges, offer and recieve feedback and advice, and meet other travel agents.

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Chargeback Training

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Finding a Travel Niche

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Finding a Travel Niche

I highly recommend that you find a travel niche.  Having a travel niche makes it easier to grow your business which allows you to make more money. 

Having a niche does not have to be something off the wall.  It does not have to be complicated or rare. Niche travel can mean that you are specializing in a certain demographic area, a certain type of travel, a destination, or any other number of things.

To put it simply, having a travel niche means you put limits on what you sell. It can be a broad niche such as luxury travel or a niche with a narrow focus like educational tours for students. Remember, you can’t be an expert on everything, so narrow it down and decide what you would like to focus on.  With so much competition on the internet, being an expert in a field can help you differentiate yourself from the competition. 

Be Passionate about Your Niche

Finding a travel niche is not that hard.  With the millions of hobbies, destinations, and types of travelers the possibilities are endless. The key to finding a successful niche for your business is making sure it’s not only a niche, but something that you love and are passionate about. 

Confusion said:  Do what you love and you will never have to work a day in your life. 

Let’s Brainstorm about Finding a Travel Niche

You may be saying, how can I find my travel niche? Don’t worry; I have some suggestions for you

Take a piece of paper and create 4 columns. Label the columns, Hobbies, Network, Destinations, Type of Travel.  You’re going to fill in each column using the guide questions below.

What are your hobbies?

Hobbies:  tennis, baking, gardening, cooking

What networks do you belong to?

Network:  college alumni, outdoor lovers, ski club, church, firefighters, policemen

What destinations do you love or want to get to know?

Destinations: Caribbean, South America, Asia, Africa, Dubai

What type of travel do you like?

Type of Travel:  Destination Weddings and Honeymoons, Adventure Travel, Group Travel, Educational

How to Find a Travel Niche

Look at Hobbies Column

We know to have a successful travel niche, you must be passionate. The hobby column helps you identify what you love to do, your strengths, and where you’re considered an expert already.

What are you passionate about? (E.g. cooking, skiing, gardening)

What do you have an in-depth knowledge of?  (E.g. wines, gardening,)

What are you good at?  (E.g. cooking, gardening, skiing)

What do you do in your free time?  (E.g. read books, watch TV, knit, crochet)

Network Column

You can be successful without a network but it’s much harder since you have to build trust and establish your expertise. Utilizing the networks you already have in place—or ones you can easily break into—is going to save you a lot of time, energy, and money. The most successful agents have an existing network that they were immediately able to market to. This column helps you recognize your connections.

What business networks do you belong to? (E.g. BNI, PTA,)

What events have you attended recently? (E.g. PTO meeting, meetup groups)

What are common hobbies of your friend groups? (E.g.  Hiking, golfing, drinking, dancing)

What groups do you currently belong to? (E.g. Cancer support group, ski club, bible study)

What groups/networks do your close family/friends belong to? (E.g. Your kids, partner, parents, neighbors)

Destinations Column

A travel niche can be a certain destination.  Where have you travelled? Have you travelled anywhere that you fell in love in?  Is there a place you always wanted to visit?

Type of Travel Column

What type of travel you enjoy?  Is there a particular demographic you’d like to sell to?  For example, brides, families, groups, seniors, music lovers. 

Are you comfortable selling high end products?  Don’t be afraid to push your comfort zone. Many agents make the mistake of pushing their spending habits on their clients.  Don’t sell with your own pocket. 

What type of travel do you enjoy?  Do you like adventure travel, all-inclusive vacations, escorted tours, groups, or independent travel? 

Narrowing it down and Finding Your Travel Niche

After reviewing your notes and looking at all your possibilities, what have you decided?  What kind of travel do you want to sell?   Does your current list fit into the type of travel you want to sell? For instance, my love of international destinations and group travel works well with my love of adventure. 

The Final Test

This little exercise should help you narrow down your possibilities.   The final test is to see if your list is realistic and how easy it’s going to be to find clients.  In order to test this you must look into your existing network. 

Usually your friends and associates have common interests, so you should have some networks already in place that see you as the expert for your niche.  They may already participate in your hobby with you.

If you don’t have a network, don’t worry.  Having an existing network helps tremendously but not having one shouldn’t deter you. Brainstorm ways you can break into that niche’s target market.  Join meetup or Facebook groups to find people who share your common interests.

In Closing

I hope I have helped you to find a travel niche for your business and helped you decide how to find one you love. When starting up, it’s easy to fall prey to the “I’ll take any booking I can get” mentality and avoid a niche. Start out strong and know exactly what your business is and where you want to go with it. If you need help deciding on a travel niche please contact Colesville Travel. 

Agent Checklist

Did you fill out the Client Information Sheet?

Did you fill out the Booking Notification Form?

Did you confirm the spelling of the client name and address? 

Did you confirm that it is the name listed on the passport?

Did you get the client date of birth of client?

Have you confirmed the client city of departure?

Have you offered the client travel insurance?

Have you checked and recorded deadlines and critical penalty dates?


 
 

How Do You Qualify a Client?

You have just gained a new travel prospect and you are excited about the potential new business. Once you answer the call and move beyond getting a name, what comes next?

Many times when speaking with others in all types of sales, they don’t know how to properly qualify their potential client. Qualifying a new client can be the difference between success and failure. If you plan a trip for your client the first time and miss, chances are they will not return. Do a great job, not only will they return, but they will also send referrals.

After you establish yourself with introductions, set the expectations. Let the prospective client know you are going to ask several questions intended to best match them to their dream vacation. Create a list or a worksheet for each prospect. Hang onto the list for future reference as well.

 
 

Who is Traveling?

First ask who will be accompanying you on this vacation.  What are the ages of those travelling?   This lets you know if this is a family vacation, and adult vacation or friend’s group. Find out where they traveled before and where they stayed.  Find out what they liked or disliked about their last vacation.  If they have never traveled before, you will have a few more steps to take and more questions to ask.  What is the purpose of this vacation?  Do they want to relax, rekindle their relationship with a loved one, spend time with the family?

 

Budget

Next, ask when they want to travel and for how long. Then inquire about their budget. These two factors together let you know if there requests are reasonable. If they tell you they don’t have a budget, give them some parameters and begin with a higher level and going down by increments. For example, if they say 7 nights, start with $2,000 - $3,000 per person and work downwards. Despite what they may say, everyone has a budget!

You will learn a lot by asking questions. The client may want something that is not in your field of expertise and might not fit your niche.  Also their budget might be insufficient for the type or length of vacation desired.

 

Destination

Have they chosen a destination? Find out why they choose that destination.  It is critical to know why a destination or type of travel has been requested. This is where your professional experience will comes into play. 

Don’t forget to find out about their activity requests. The level of activity needs to meet their expectations. Over stimulation on a high energy vacation may not be a good fit for an executive who just wants to relax with a good book and stare at the ocean. Conversely, the person behind a desk may need to use their energy hiking, biking or zipping down a canopy.  If they are seniors, they make want some soft adventure like a catamaran ride. Don’t forget to include some activity into your travel package. 

Shopping is a fun part of most vacations. Would you be more interested in good values on gold, diamonds, jewelry, and cameras/electronics or handmade items, leather goods, coral and silver?

If they are traveling outside of the US, ask if they have a passport. Remind them to check the expiration date. Anything less than six months from their date of travel may need to be renewed. Each country has their parameters and most cruises outside of US ports require six months or more. It is up to you to know the facts. And a best practice for international travel is to never take a client’s word on the passport information—do your best to secure a photocopy or at least to see it in person. Frank may really be Franklin and he may have an issue.  Remember that everyone needs a passport, including the infants and children. 

 
 

More Suggestions on How to Qualify Clients

  • If you were going to dine out locally to celebrate something really special (50th birthday, 25th anniversary, retirement, etc.) where would you go?

  • Don't dismiss someone out of hand because of the way he or she is dressed.

  • Avoid selling what you like rather than what the client prefers.

  • When you travel on vacation, what types of hotels do you prefer?

  • What types of evening entertainment do you like?

  • Do you want a vacation with visits to lots of places or to stay in one place?

  • Is the main purpose of your vacation to rest and relax (recharge your batteries) or to be out on a new adventure every day?

  • Once you take the time to know your clients, it will be easier to satisfy them and make your job easier.

  • Happy selling!

 

Top 10 Reasons to Sell Travel Insurance

There are hundreds of circumstances that could cause your clients to cancel their trip, return home early or force them to seek emergency medical treatment while traveling.

 

Listed below are 10 common examples of things that could go wrong.  These examples will demonstrate the importance of selling travel insurance, and emergency travel services to your clients.

 

1

It's 10 p.m. and you and your immediate family arrive at the airport for a connecting flight, only to find that your flight has been cancelled. Who can assist you with finding new flights to get everyone home?

2

Your bag was lost with your insulin inside. You need help to locate your bag as soon as possible and have your emergency prescription filled. Who do you call?

 
 

3

You are on vacation, and your passport and wallet are stolen. Where do you turn for assistance in obtaining emergency cash, and how will you get your passport replaced?

 
 

4

You're involved in an accident and adequate medical treatment is not available. Who will help coordinate a medical evacuation?

 
 

5

You or your travelling companion becomes seriously ill and you must cancel your trip, what happens to your non-refundable deposits or pre-payments?

 
 

6

You arrive at your destination and your luggage doesn't. If it's lost, who will help you find it? If it's delayed who will reimburse you for covered necessities? If it's stolen, who will reimburse you for its contents?

 
 

7

Your cruise line, airline or tour operator goes bankrupt. Who will pay for your non-refundable expenses? Who is able to assist in getting you to your destination?

 
 

8

You're walking down a street while on vacation in a foreign destination and twist your ankle. Who is able to assist you in finding an English-speaking physician?

 
 

9

Three weeks before your scheduled arrival, a terrorist incident occurs in the city to which you are planning to visit. Who will reimburse you if you want to cancel your trip?

 
 

10

You are at a beach resort and you are forced to evacuate due to a hurricane which has made your resort uninhabitable. Who can assist you in being evacuated? Who will reimburse you for your lost vacation investment?

 
 

In addition to the reasons above to sell travel insurance it is also commissionable. You can sell it through the vendor you are booking the trip thorough or you can use Travel Guard. To install the travel insurance app on your laptop go to: http://www.travelguard.com/eztips/downloads.aspx

If you need assitance feel free to reach out to us.

 
 

Travel Agent Websites

ARC/IATA/CLIA:  21709472 Agency Phone Number:  301-989-1654 Agency Address: 13708 Hobart Drive, Silver Spring, MD  20904

Vax Vacation Access

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Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines

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Keytours Vacations 

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Classic Vacations

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Europe Express

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AIR CONSOLIDATORS – airfare

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Carnival Cruise Lines

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Travelbound 

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