Travel Counsellor Matthew Morgan looks back on a busy wave season, with the signs pointing to a greater appreciation for the expertise and value of a travel agent.
For me, this wave has not only been my busiest ever, but I’ve noticed clients are truly valuing my service and advice.
When we’re busy and time poor, conversations can be more direct and I’ve been able to talk with new clients at the beginning of the enquiry to let them know how much experience I have, what that means for them and their holiday and how I’ll look after them before and during their trip.
Several existing clients who have never cruised before are starting to ask me if I think it’s right for them, how it all works and if cruising is as good as everyone says – that’s great news for the industry as a whole.
It’s the small details that count and my ‘top tips for cruisers’ information gets great feedback from clients, especially those who have never stepped foot on board a ship.
Often a WhatsApp message is sent by them to say thanks while they are enjoying their cruise, and that really does make all the hard work worth it.
The travel agent selling journey
When I’m speaking to clients, I often advise them to check in online to get on the ship quicker. It’s about helping clients understand how they can do this and ensuring their first impression of their ship, and therefore their cruise experience, is a positive one.
These days, a cruise line app is a must, to book restaurants, see the daily planners and so on, so I always take time to sit down and go through the ins and out of how to make technology work for clients.
When it comes to speaking to new-to-cruise clients, I also remind them that it’s not a requirement to get off the ship at every port, as they can make equally great holiday memories on board the ship.
However, with excursions, I usually go through the itinerary with clients and help them decide in what ports they can get off and do their own thing and where they would be best to get an excursion – especially for first timers, as they don’t understand the process, or where the ships dock and so on.
Some of this may seem obvious, but as travel agents we must always strive to provide that expertise and give people a reason to come back and book again and again.
This also helps with word-of-mouth recommendations and bringing in new clients to the sector.