Essential Skills for Travel Agent Jobs - Communication

Contrary to what those outside the travel industry think, travel agent jobs are more than just about closing sales, they are also about performing a service well. Whether you are looking at it from the service aspect or sales point of view, however, it cannot be denied that the ability to communicate well is a necessary factor in a job well done.

Here are a few general principles about communications that will serve you well, whether in the hunt for travel agent jobs, or doing the work after the job has been won.

Courtesy

Politeness, friendliness and respectfulness will go a long way in dealing with clients and potential clients- this is even more important when it comes to travel agent jobs. It is extremely important that each customer, big or small, be treated with the utmost respect, even the most trying ones. While being a travel agent can be a very stressful job at times, remembering this principle can go a long way in doing well in the travel business. Tip: a smile is always helpful- yes, even on the phone.

A timely response

Travel agent jobs often require doing many things at once; the reality is that despite your busy schedule, a client must not be made to wait longer than can possibly be helped. Even while attending to a customer, a friendly greeting or welcome coupled with " Excuse me, thank you for waiting, I shall be with you in a moment" can do wonders. Phone calls should be answered promptly, and returned in the soonest possible time. The same is true for email and other forms of correspondence.

Honesty and sincerity

The foundation of all business relationships- honesty and sincerity - become even more important in travel agent jobs. While there are those that will try to bluff their way in dealings with the client, avoid this at all costs. If rates for a recommended flight or accommodation are not the lowest possible, do not try to pass it off as such. Be honest, and patiently explain why your recommendation is better for your customer's needs. Chances are high that they will understand and agree. If your advice on something you are unfamiliar with is sought, bluffing is not the answer. Simply say, or write, "I will try to find out and get back to you as soon as I can". This is quite acceptable - but what's most important is that you do so, as promised.

Listen

This is one of the most crucial keys to effective communication. Listen to your customer's needs and concerns, in order to be able to address them sufficiently. What do they need? Are there food restrictions that must be considered? Are there accessibility issues you will need to factor in to planning their flights, accommodation and itineraries? Travel agent jobs often require tailor-made solutions for customers when it comes to making arrangements. How you respond to the needs they express can spell the difference between success and failure!

Keeping communication lines open

Be accessible and available to your client. In this faster and more mobile world, there are many tools available to use as part of travel agent jobs that provide opportunities for keeping in touch even easier: use your mobile phone to occasionally call, send SMS, or turn to the computer and keep in touch via email and social networking sites.

Barbara Kolosinska (MREC CertRP) is a Sales Director for C&M, a leading travel recruitment agency who specialise in finding their clients the perfect travel agent jobs across all sectors of the travel industry. C&M have access to the largest choice of travel agent jobs across the UK's top travel employers.

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