Did you know the travel agency industry is forecast to generate $17.3 billion by 2020, up from about $12.2 billion in 2010?
Did you also know that, as of spring 2017, 14 million people in the U.S. had used a travel agency?
Even as the number of travelers who want to discover new destinations on their own increases, travel agencies are still booming. But it’s not every agency that’s turning out tidy profits. While a number of small agencies struggle, the big ones are making all the cash.
If you own a travel agency and what to make it big, you have to learn from the masters. In this article, we’re sharing crucial business skills you can learn from the best travel agency.
Digital marketing has evolved from a technical skill to a crucial business skill. Here is why.
A 2015 study established that, on average, about 180 million people visit online travel sites a month. With smartphone and internet penetration increasing by the day, we can only expect the number of users visiting travel sites to keep trending upwards.
As a travel agency, you must have a solid digital market strategy if you want to reach your fair share of these users.
Look at the websites of the best travel agency, like TripADeal. How long did it take to load? Not more than 4 seconds, right? What about the user-friendliness, visual design, and responsiveness?
In addition to the technical aspects of digital marketing, the best travel sites invest time and money in search engine optimization, social media marketing, pay per click (PPC) adverting, content marketing and even influencer marketing.
With savvy digital marketing skills, you can improve the online visibility of your travel site without spending lots of money.
When you’re planning to go to a certain destination, one of the first things that come to mind include airlines, hotels and tourist attractions.
But because booking all these services on your own can be challenging (and you will likely not get the best deals), a savvy traveler leaves the work to the best travel agency.
The best agency has built strong connections with hotels, airlines and local tourist attraction providers around the globe. So it will easily meet all your travel needs without much hassle, and you’re likely to get some discounts!
If you’re building your travel agency, you must master the art of shaking hands and maintaining relationships with people who can help your business grow.
When you network with an airline, for instance, they can let your agency in on travel discounts and deals that may not be available to the public. This means that for every booking your agency makes with the airline, the traveler will get a price cut.
And guess what? Travelers really love travel agencies that can hook them up with cheap flights.
In addition to networking with transport and hospitality providers, connect with other travel agencies.
Top Notch Customer Service
The best travel agency knows how to take care of its customers.
Picture this: You booked a flight through Travel Agency A. You get to the airport only to find the flight has been canceled. Unfortunately for you, this isn’t a trip you can postpone.
You call the travel agency and ask if they can help. To your pleasant surprise, the call goes through on your first dial, and they ask you to hang on as they work something out. Long story short, the agency gets you on another flight without any additional expense on your side.
How would you rate their customer service? Excellent, no doubt.
Would you recommend it to friends and relatives and anyone else who wants your opinion? Heck, yeah.
The quality of customer service can make or break your travel agency. If you want to compete with the big industry players, you have to go the extra mile to put a smile on your customer’s face.
Staying on Top of Industry News and Trends
Traveling involves many moving parts. Even a small change can cut short a regular domestic business trip.
The best travel agency is always on top of local, national and global industry news. It knows which country has just changed its visa regulations for people from certain countries, knows which new restaurant hotel has opened in a certain location, and more.
Staying abreast of industry news and trends helps to ensure you can guarantee smooth travels. Ultimately, this will increase customer service quality, and the more customers love your reliability, the more they will use your agency.
So, how do you keep up with news and trends in a fast-paced industry?
Watch cable news, read travel magazines and blogs, and follow travel journalists on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social networking platforms. Also, attend national industry events as well as local events.
Business Management /Entrepreneurial Skills
No matter how good you are at keeping up with trends, attending to customers, networking or marketing, it’ll all come to nothing if you aren’t an excellent business manager.
The best travel agency has a competent manager at the helm. Someone who can bring on board talented travel agents, invest in the right marketing channels, delegate duties, and keep the agency steps ahead of competitors.
This skill is even more crucial if your agency is a one-man show right now. You need a solid grasp of business management to grow it from a one-agent business to the best travel agency around.
Even as you work on nurturing other skills that will keep customers flocking to your agency, don’t neglect the one that will help you manage your profits properly.
Now Go Build the Best Travel Agency
With these 5 business skills, you now have what it takes to build an exceptional travel agency that will not only make lots of money, but also help travelers have memorable trips.
Remember, it takes learning and practice to acquire and nurture these skills. Don’t give up if you think a certain skill isn’t for you. Keep at it, and you will reach perfection in no time.
Do you have any questions? Ask away in the comments section below!