BUSINESS MANAGEMENT Daily management of your business is critical to your success. Lack of processes, policies, and procedures can be instrumental in the demise of your business and even more important, make you look unprofessional in the eyes of your clients and suppliers. We strongly recommend that you work on putting these components in place before you begin booking clients. Do your research beyond what is provided to you as CTG Travel staff members are not attorneys or accountants. We will provide you with "Best Practices" for management of your business, but how you ultimately decide to do so, is your decision and should be based on the best legal and financial advice you can obtain. Setting Up Your Business - First StepsOne of the most important things that a professional travel agent must do when operating from home is set up an efficient office environment. Starting a home-based business can be a complicated undertaking. The following checklist covers the most important points that you will need to consider and will help you stay focused as you try and get your business off the ground.
CREATE A BUSINESS PLAN Even if you are the only one who will ever read it, it is important to plan out your business and the important milestones you hope to accomplish. Your business plan should include who your target market is, and what type of travel you intend on selling. A professional accountant can assist you with this.
ESTABLISH YOUR BUSINESS ENTITY
You will need to decide if you want to operate your business as a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a corporation. There are pros and cons to each type of business structure. Currently 90%+ of new agents operate as a sole proprietorship. You can contact a Lawyer to get more information.
GET YOUR BUSINESS LICENSE OR RESELLER CERTIFICATE Make sure you are in compliance with your province, city’s laws and get a business license or a reseller certificate if your province requires one.
CHECK WITH YOUR LOCAL ZONING COMMISSION Most communities are recognizing the growth of the home-based business model. Technology allows you to run your business from anywhere you can get an Internet connection. Even so, make sure you can legally run your business from your home before you put in too much time and effort. Additionally, there also may be various permits and/or licenses you will need to file. PURCHASE INSURANCE Determine what kind of insurance you need, and purchase this before you actually open your new business. This is especially true if you plan on having clients on your property. CTG holds Errors and omissions insurance which will cover your business practice however liability and personal business insurance is your responsibility. ORGANIZE YOUR OFFICE A well-organized office space leads to a successful business. Make sure that your office is in a place in your home where you will be able to focus on running your business with minimal distractions.
PURCHASE YOUR EQUIPMENT Make sure that you purchase any required office equipment ahead of time. You will avoid embarrassing moments if a customer wants to fax you a document and you do not have the proper equipment ready. You can use many things including fax online. SET UP YOUR WEBSITE You will need to purchase a domain name and set up your website so that it is ready to go live when you open for business. By planning your website concurrently with starting your business, you will be able to include your domain name on your promotional material. Check with CTG Travel Staff for discounts on domain name pricing and availability as well as website development. MAKE YOUR SCHEDULE Even if you do not want to work 9 to 5, you will need to create a schedule that ensures your customers can reach you. GET YOUR SHIPPING SUPPLIES READY Gather all of the supplies you will need such as envelopes, boxes, bubble wrap, shipping tape, and labels ahead of time. OPEN YOUR VIRTUAL DOORS Now that you are completely prepared, you are ready to open your business up to the public.
CONTACT MANAGEMENT Who are your contacts? Potential clients, active clients, suppliers and BDMs, travel agent-only phone numbers, and many more likely make up your list. TESS is a great option for you to store your list. You can identify each contact by type, i.e., inactive client, active client, supplier, etc. And, since TESS is accessible on any type of mobile device, you may find this works for you. Besides, you may want to merge your client list to a marketing list for e-mail blasts and the like - this makes it very simple. If you are looking for recommendations for other Apps that may help you manage your contacts, do some research to find the best option for you. Here is one link that provides some information on the different apps.
Again, CTG Travel Host Agency has not vetted any of these and therefore makes no recommendation as to which is a better product, if any.drfone.wondershare.com/contacts/iphone-android-contacts-backup-apps.html Here is some great advice from Brenda Llamas Young, Marketing Strategist at marketyourthing.com "We’ve all heard the saying, “Build it and they will come”...I have news for you, that's not true. If you just started your business, have been doing it for a while or recently decided to take it in another direction you know what I mean. Just because you launched a beautiful website announcing to the world what your expertise is it doesn’t mean clients will show up. You have to do the plan and tweak, tweak, tweak. You have to be very strategic about how to get those ideal clients to show up and buy from you. It doesn’t matter if you provide a service or sell a product you still need to know who your ideal client is." We agree! Knowing your client and the value you provide to them is perhaps the most important concept we must all master in order for our business to grow and be successful. In this section you will find resources that may be helpful to you in growing your business through various types of marketing strategies and techniques. Who is your client? Does your client choose you or do you choose your client? What are the demographics of your client? Why would you want to work with this client? Why would this client choose to work with you? Below are some links to resources that may help you determine who your clients really are, who they should be based on your expertise, and whether or not you really want to work with them. www.asta.org/Education/content.cfm?ItemNumber=1608www.travelresearchonline.com/blog/index.php/2015/08/find-your-niche/ www.entrepreneur.com/article/226360 edwardlowe.org/how-to-identify-a-target-market-and-prepare-a-customer-profile/
Where and how to market on social media can not only be confusing, but also overwhelming. What's the difference between boosting posts on Facebook or paying for ad words on Google? Should you be promoting your business on LinkedIn or Pinterest or Instagram? How effective is blogging? What does the word "algorithm" even mean? Even more complex are the hundreds of emails you'll probably get from all kinds of companies that promise to deliver automatic posts or increase your SEO visibility. Before you spend a dime in marketing, read further: Brenda Llamas Young; Now that you know who your ideal client is you can determine where they “hang out” in both offline and online channels. This is great information to have as you can focus your marketing to just those they use consistently. If your target client is not on Twitter then why waste your time on Twitter? If they prefer to find new products and services on Instagram you should probably spend more time on Instagram. What if your client is a baby boomer that still likes to form a personal connection and appreciates direct mail? Knowing your clients at an emotional level will also allow you to know their shopping behaviour. If your ideal client is a cycling enthusiast they have very specific brands they love. Those brands can be found in specific websites and stores therefore you want to advertise where they frequently purchase. There are also certain online channels they use to network with fellow enthusiasts, it is your job to learn all you can about what those channels are. What if your ideal client hates holiday shopping? They get overwhelmed at the many gift giving possibilities and can't make a decision. However they turn to Google frequently to search for help. They often find new businesses online therefore your website should be prominent on their Google search and your website copy should speak to their frustration and why they need you. Another step in finding where you should hang out is taking a look at your current clients. Do you know how they found you and how much it cost you to acquire them?
This task will be a quick one: Step 1: Make a few columns across a piece of paper Step 2: List your individual sales (or a portion of them) on the first column Step 3: Write where that client found you on the next column Step 4: Next, how many times did each client purchased from you? Step 5: How many referrals have they sent your way?
Take a look at this information and analyze it. Is there a trend you are surprised about? You may be surprised to find that word of mouth is still alive and well and while you are focused on Facebook (as an example), your sales are coming from current/past clients who have referred you to others. In that case I would make it a priority to market and stay top of mind with those clients. Maybe you found that while you spend a lot of time on Instagram you don’t have any sales you can trace back to it. In that case it is time to shift your focus into the correct marketing channel they have been finding you.
blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-advertising/ eclincher.com From blogger, Laura Frazier: For many agents, trying to decide on which niche or specialization to focus on can be a big struggle. Many agents who are new to the business jump in with both feet and believe that in order to be a travel agent they have to be able to be all things to all people, or they will lose sales to the online sites. Sadly it’s this misconception that leads to endless frustration for both the agent and the client, and leads to a high rate of people giving up their dream of being an agent in a very short amount of time. For some new agents, their niche choice is an easy one. Maybe they’ve traveled through Italy extensively and know the country like the back of their hand. Or maybe they have a passion for photography, and focus on building packages for clients that share their hobby. Some agents have built their business by focusing on clients seeking upscale all inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico, and are able to provide their clients with details about the resorts that goes well beyond what a client could find on a website or in a brochure. This gives them a competitive edge with their niche markets. If you’re struggling to determine what your focus or specialization here are a couple of different approaches you can take.First, you could go with a destination that you’ve traveled to, and feel that you know well enough to call yourself an expert. I truly believe that in order to make this claim, your experience should be recent, probably within the last three years. Next, you could you look at hobbies that you share with others. Do you love cooking or wine? You probably know a lot of other people that do as well. This could lead to operating a fantastic culinary travel experience that you could offer to individuals or groups. What about your social network? Do you spend a lot of time with members of a church group, sports team, the gay & lesbian community, or other parents? John Frenaye of Single Parent Travel in Annapolis, sort of evolved into this niche. “I did not start out with a niche, but as the travel field became more competitive with online players and the home based agents, it made sense to focus my efforts.” Said Frenaye “I had worked with Brenda El-well (founder of the concept and company) for years as her fulfillment arm. And seeing that I was divorced with kids, it made all the sense in the world to acquire her business. Being in a niche is great. It allows me to truly immerse myself into the program and become the authority. It allows me to combine things I enjoy–travel, kids, and family. It eliminates a ton of competition. And to be honest, while I am a lot smaller of an agency than I was 10 years ago, I am more profitable now than ever.” There are a lot of great resources available to agents to help them learn more about their specialization of choice. The Travel Institute offers a wealth of information on destinations and specializations, with certification programs available. The Travel Agent University offers dozens of free courses in everything from cruises to culinary specialist programs. One of the very best resources for finding your path can be the assistance of another agent who is already successful in the specialization you are considering. You’ll also find experienced agents who are willing to mentor new agents and show them the steps they took to become successful. If you’ve been concerned that establishing a niche will harm your sales because of the clients it will exclude, don’t be! The most successful agents in travel today are those who can call themselves an expert, and charge for their services. www.entrepreneur.com/encyclopedia/niche-marketing
PRICE VS VALUE What value do you, as a travel agent, bring to your client? Is the value you offer, the value the client wants? What we mean by this is that some clients want you to provide them with the absolute best pricing available - that's their definition of value. Others want true value - the best experience that their budget will allow. You've heard the saying, "work smarter, not harder". With regard to value and pricing - this is a very important concept. When you work with clients who want the lowest price, and pricing is their first and only consideration - you will find that you work harder and harder and that you're always trying to beat the competition. (Hey - who is your competition anyway)? Once you establish a precedent that your time and expertise is of no value - that you are just a booking machine, this is how you will always be known - the travel agent with the cheapest prices. For many travel agents - volume is how they make their money - but they put in long hours and work so much harder than other agents to make the same amount (or even less) money. You will find yourself spending many hours price-matching against online travel agencies (OTA's such as Expedia, Orbitz, Cheap Caribbean and more) and if you are able to successfully price-match, you will take a lower commission from the supplier that you will eventually book with. A word of caution about working with clients who are only interested in price: even if you make them happy with the price of this booking, they will likely never be loyal to YOU as a repeat customer because the first time they see a trip that is cheaper than what you offered, they will "jump ship" and book where they can get it cheapest. We've heard many agents say that "something is better than nothing" and they are happy working on a routine booking to make a $100 commission. The agent generally provides the same level of service to the price-happy client as they do to a quality client who relies on the agent to provide them with expertise and customized, hand-curated travel experiences. Who is the winner here? Nobody. Yes, the client received a cheap deal, but they learned nothing about the value of their agent, nor did they learn the value of a value-packed travel experience! So then, what do we mean by value? Let's focus on two main ways in which travel agents provide value to our clients. First, as a travel agent, you manage every detail of the client's travel so that it is unique, memorable and completely stress-free. As client advocates, you are "with them" from the moment you begin working with them until they return home. They won't be waiting on line to change their flights when they are cancelled, they will love their accommodations, and if they run into any logistical nightmares along the way - they will speak to a live person (YOU) who will handle everything for them. These are just a few of the values that travel agents provide to make their client's travel experience memorable and its your job to make sure your clients know it: • Expertise - about destinations, resorts, options, add-ons, upgrades and more • Best Value & Perks - you can often offer options or perks that a client cannot find on their own • Time & Money Savings - they won't have to spend hundreds of hours on the internet becoming overwhelmed • Around-the-Clock Travel Assistance - you are there for them to handle everything, even during travel • Solutions - clients often have unique needs that are nearly impossible to navigate on the internet • Advocacy - you are working for the client ... not a resort, not a cruise line, not a supplier
When I work with clients, I explain to them from the very first contact, that I cannot guarantee that I will find them the cheapest price, but that I can guarantee the absolute best value for their hard-earned travel dollars and the most memorable, incredible vacation they've ever had for those dollars. I emphasize that I don't book "trips" but that I design "experiences". I stress what I bring to the table and I am very clear about the fact that these are not values they will find on the internet with OTAs. I sometimes share the story about a couple who contacted me for a vacation in Costa Rica. I worked very hard on proposals for them and they advised me that they were ready to book immediately but then I never heard back from them nor did they return my phone calls. I explain that one week prior to their departure date, they wrote me an urgent email saying that they booked the trip on their own with an OTA and instead of flying into the Liberia airport for the resort in Guanacaste, the OTA had them booked on flights through San Jose. They wanted me to fix it for them so that they didn't have to pay $500 to get to their resort because the OTA was not helping them. The second way in which you provide value to your clients is through customizing their travel experiences. You have to know your clients to do this - you have to "get intimate with them" and let them know that you actually care about their experience. What makes them tick? What excites them? I can't tell you how many times I have spoken to clients who actually have no clue about what they really want. It's your job to help them discover it - and once they discover it, you have to design it. Once you design an irresistible, incredible opportunity for them (which might include multiple tweaks along the way), its hard for clients to say no. And once your client books, you've just provided the best value there is for both of you - making client dreams come true and a more satisfying career for you!
LEADS Lead generation can be tricky. I think we all begin in the business thinking all of our friends and family will immediately start booking their travel with us. FALSE! If you rely on friends and family for your business - you will likely join that group of unfortunate souls whose businesses failed within the first year or two. There are a number of reasons for this phenomena. First, does your family actually trust your expertise? Do they truly understand the value you provide? Do they think you'll "understand" that they just had to "grab that deal they saw in the middle of the night"? Is your family so difficult to deal with that in truth, you'd be just as happy if they didn't book with you but your feelings are hurt? My advice - get over it. Dont even consider that you will automatically get this business. Allow for the fact that family and friends are not your bread and butter. And, what do you do when they need your help with something they booked on their own or with another travel agency? You respectfully tell them that legally and ethically, you cannot provide them with assistance on something you didn't book. Clearly, once you start your business, you will want to let everyone you possibly know that you are now providing an incredible service (and do it with six degrees of separation). You should never leave home without business cards on your person to hand out to the most unlikely sources. I was once in a durable medical equipment store where I was looking at rollators for my mother. Another gentleman was in the store doing the same as he was taking his mother on a cruise. The salesperson, while well-meaning, continued to give him inappropriate advice about whether or not the rollator would fit here and there, and if it would withstand a tour bus and different terrains, as well as whether or not it would fit comfortably in a very small interior cabin on the ship. I mentioned to the gentleman that I had cruised almost 60 times and that I deal with clients daily who have unique accessibility needs (because I am a Certified Accessibility Advocate) and that in my professional opinion, the particular scooter he was looking at was not the right choice and I explained why, especially after he told me the ship he was sailing on. To make a long story short, not only did the gentleman select the scooter I recommended, but he asked for my card and has been my client ever since. Aside from the usual suspects, such as your website, social media, telling everyone you know that you are in the business, passing out business cards, and remembering that family and friends are unlikely to book with you (at least initially), where do you find leads? Here are just a few vetted recommendations for you that we know can work - especially as you build a clientele who are willing to write recommendations for you: Trade shows - home shows, bridal shows, community events.
You should weigh the cost of doing business in these venues and determine if within 6-12 months, you can expect to at least pay for your investment with bookings. Trade Websites - Wedding Wire and the like. These may or may not pay off for you. Try to determine if the rate of return is worth the investment.
Networking Groups - BNI, meet-ups, local networking, chamber of commerce memberships. Again - these can be pricey for a small-business person, but weigh the pros and cons, the competition, and whether or not the odds are in your favour to secure clients who will pay off your investment ten-fold. Niche Groups - local wedding groups, corporate travel, alumni groups, and more. Generally, these require cultivation and determination, but little investment - if any. Your professionalism, expertise and connections can take you far. Advertising - social media, Google ad words, magazines, trade journals, event sponsorships, radio, television, and newspapers. Again. the investment can escalate rapidly, especially if you really don't have a benchmark for what to expect as your Return on Investment (ROI). Be cautious and conservative when starting out. Co-Branded WebsitesIf you have a brand or supplier that you would like to co-brand with, contact Lorraine Simpson and let's see how to make that happen for you! Many of our suppliers offer this option and may be a good source of leads for you!
Email marketing is not easy. Sure - you can use services such as Constant Contact or MailChimp, but there are best practices to follow, especially when it comes to SPAM rules. Please click here for the SPAM laws you must abide by. Of course, the million-dollar puzzle is how to get your email recipients to "engage" with your email blasts. Unless you are a marketing expert, you probably feel just as befuddled as the rest of us. Here are links to some quick reads that may help you. In the end, we recommend that you do your research, be creative, and continue to think out of the box! optinmonster.com/beginners-guide-to-email-marketing/ www.getvero.com/resources/guides/email-marketing-best-practices/ blog.hubspot.com/marketing/email-marketing-examples-list#sm.0000s0h80qf89e8ezuz15f6q4icdm Co-op marketing is a process whereby a supplier, resort, cruise line, or other vendor will assist you with marketing funds to promote a particular special or product. Unlike other Host Agencies, where you are limited to a very small amount of co-op money based on production, CTG Travel believes that everyone should have an opportunity to take advantage of these funds whenever available. If you have an idea or particular travel opportunity, trade-show, bridal event, print, radio, or television opportunity, please contact Lorraine Simpson, at email@example.com and let me work with you to put together a professional request for co-op marketing funds. I will assist you in trying to obtain approval for these funds in order to help your promotion become successful.
Some things to note: • Not all suppliers offer co-op monies • Approval for co-op money does not mean you get the money up front. You will have to lay out the money on your own with receipt of your approved monies generally 6 - 8 weeks after the event. • In order to receive your co-op money, you will have to submit proof of whatever has been agreed upon (ie, photos of your trade-show booth, a tear sheet from a publication) • There is no guarantee that your co-op marketing request will be approved. • From time to time, under very specific conditions, suppliers will send a representative to your event, especially if it is for a group with large potential.
FORMS DEVELOPMENTHow you choose to create the forms you may want to use in your business is a decision that should take the long-term into effect. While you may only need simple, manual forms when you are first starting out in your business, you also might want to consider that this may be a cumbersome task as your business grows. There are also legal and liability issues to consider such as: • PCI compliance for the storage of credit card and personal information • Electronic signatures • Ensuring that your client acknowledges your terms and conditions • Ensuring that your client has authorized any payments you are going to make on their behalf to a supplier Additionally, you will want to make information gathering not only streamlined and orderly not only for you, but user-friendly and simple for your client.
WEBSITE DEVELOPMENTYou've established your business and you now need a website presence. After all, if you have no website, in today's electronic world, it will be difficult for potential clients to find you or even trust your existence. Your website does not have to be fancy or mirror those that you find with online travel agencies. Clean, simple, and most important, your website needs to help you brand YOU AND YOUR AGENCY. There are many ways in which to develop a website and you are free to develop yours in any way you wish and use any website hosting service and platform that you choose. For those who are more tech savvy or have someone in the family who is capable fo building a website - you likely need very little guidance or direction. But, for those of us who find developing a website an overwhelming task, we have great news for you: Voyager Websites! Disclaimer: CTG Travel Host Agency and CTG Travel both use Voyager Websites and we can tell you that we have had 100% excellence in service, ease of design, and overall experience. Voyager Websites Voyager Websites specializes in travel agency websites and social media with impact. You want a powerful site, loaded with functionality, breathtakingly beautiful and completely uncluttered. You want it to look unique, because you and your agency are unique. And you want it to be insanely easy to maintain. Cookie cutter sites are bad for everyone. Prospective clients won't differentiate you from your competitors, and returning clients won't find anything to excite them about traveling. We want to change that. Our sites are built on gorgeous templates and offer an intuitive drag-and-drop interface. This lets you customize every page on your site to truly imbue it with your personality. Voyager Social Media ManagerSocial media is the most direct connection between you and your clients. Managing multiple platforms, engaging visitors with content, analyzing feedback, staying current with trends - our social media manager gives you powerful control over all aspects of SMM in one easy-to-use interface. Impact Client Marketing and Email SystemWe've developed a powerful customer relationship manager and email marketing tool designed specifically for agents. With our IMPACT system at your fingertips, following up on leads and staying at the forefront of your clients' minds is so simple you'll wonder how you did it before. Content LibraryFeeding all of the Voyager Product Suite is our immense Content Library. With our content at your back, populate your online presence - website, social media, and emails - with breathtaking photos, powerful widgets, articles, videos, guides and more. Our content is tailored especially for travel professional use, and all of it sends clients directly back to you. Certification In order to be the best travel specialist, agent, consultant, designer (whatever your perception of your career is), we encourage you to participate in available trainings, most of which are free. In fact, often times, becoming certified in various programs will yield incredible benefits to you including complimentary sailings, free or greatly reduced pricing at all-inclusive resorts, cash bonuses and more. Training opportunities in travel specialties and niche markets are plentiful as are educational programs for tour operators, resorts, destinations, and cruise lines. Additionally, CTG Travel Host Agency will offer live and recorded webinars with special guests and suppliers so that you can have more personalized contact and the ability to ask questions and get immediate answers. On each of your supplier pages, you will find the information you need to participate in their training programs. In this section, you will find additional links for training that you can take advantage of.
GROUPS Most travel agents see groups as an easy way to make a lot of money in one fell swoop. As a group travel expert with over 30 years of event planning experience, I can tell you that this perspective of what group travel is, is a fantasy. Group travel is the most difficult, logistically complicated travel you will ever work on. It takes a very specific passion and skill-set in order to be successful and you need to be prepared to work day and night for months to guarantee its success. There are some things you should consider when determining whether or not group travel should be in your bag of tricks - or your niche, if you will. Take a look at this presentation and if you are still interested in really learning how to become a group travel expert, contact Lorraine Simpson.
Depending on who is offering the FAM, an agent: • May not be able to bring a companion • May have to share accommodations with another agent • May have to pay for the trip or tour • Usually has to pay for airfare • May have to go through a competitive process to be approved • May have to reach certain sales goals to be considered • May need to have certification in the FAM offerings (destinations, resorts) • Will always be "working" while on the FAM - i.e., this is not a vacation - it is a business trip where you are expected to participate in all offered activities • Will NOT be allowed to market themselves while on property CTG Travel not only has exclusive FAM offerings from time to time, but will also assist you if needed in the approval process for any FAMs that you may qualify for and wish to participate in. When attending a FAM trip, remember that professional behavior is required at all times and that you will be required to sign an Agreement prior to the FAM which outlines the expectations the supplier or CTG Travel has of you as a condition of your participation. Hosted Buyer Programs offer an opportunity for intense peer-to-peer networking, one-on-one supplier appointments, and other events in order for the travel agent to continue building a successful business. Hosted Buyer Programs require various levels of verified sales, supplier references, and different qualifications depending on the program. Each Hosted Buyer Program, regardless of sponsor, is a highly-competitive opportunity and if you are selected, you may receive various levels of support to attend the event. A fully-hosted buyer will attend at no cost, including airfare. Some hosted buyers are accepted but will be required to purchase their own airfare and possibly even their own accommodations. In the United States, there are multiple events including CruiseWorld in Fort Lauderdale, Global Travel Marketplace West and Global Travel Marketplace, and the Home Agents Forum in Las Vegas. If you are a Romance Travel specialist, then you may wish to apply for the Romance Travel Forum. The Family Travel Forum may be perfect for those who specialize in family vacations. For those who specialize in international destinations, you will find that many countries including Italy, Switzerland, Iceland, Scotland, and more, have annual Travel Expos which include Hosted Buyer Programs. While it is your responsibility to research what programs are available to you and whether or not you qualify based on sales or specialty niche, CTG Travel will assist you in providing the the needed documentation to make your application. There are many travel industry publications available to you free-of-charge. Most offer both a home-delivery printed version and an online version. Here is a small list of publications that you can subscribe to: Travel Weekly Travel Agent Central Agent at Home Vacation Agent Luxury Travel Advisor
IATAN ACCREDITATIONIATA accreditation is a seal of approval recognized worldwide. CTG Travel is an IATAN accredited agency. Our IATA accreditation number (Industry Affiliation number) is 96541001. The IATA/IATAN ID Card is the ONLY globally recognized industry credential for the travel professional. CTG Travel will add you to our list of IATA travel agents. Upon receiving $5,001 in paid commissions (see the section on Personal Travel), you are eligible to apply for your own personal IATA card. The cost per card is $110.00 and is valid for one year.
You must meet ALL following conditions: • Be an owner, employee or an independent contractor of an IATAN accredited location. • Be registered with IATAN. • Devote a minimum of 20 hours per week to the business of selling travel. • Earn a minimum of $5,000 in salary and/or net commissions in the prior 12 months. • Be at least 18 years of age.
Travel professionals who hold an IATA/IATAN ID Card receive exclusive access to education and travel rewards programs from industry suppliers such as hotels, airlines, attractions, FAM trips organizers and more, which means global recognition of your professional experience when you show your valid ID Card to a travel supplier.
Terminology In order to understand industry terminology and to converse with suppliers, tour operators, clients and colleagues effectively, it is important that you familiarize yourself with this list.
AAA/CAA – American Automobile Association (Canadian Automobile Association). AAA members can receive a discount when traveling domestically but need to provide their card at the time of check-in. Discounts are not applicable on travel packages; however, special AAA benefits within the package may apply. Local AAA Clubs employ travel agents, but can also assist clients who need to purchase pre-paid Visa Travel Money Cards and obtain an International Driver’s Permit (IDP). AARP – American Association of Retired Persons Agent – In travel, a retail travel agent; a counter or ticket agent; in general, an agent with power to act fora principal supplier or host agency. AI – All-inclusive is a meal plan that includes all meals, snacks, and beverages (including alcohol), although the inclusions of such plans vary from resort to resort. AI Resort – An all-inclusive resort includes the AI meal plan, plus gratuities and non-motorized water sports. Amenities and inclusions can vary per resort as some resorts have more inclusions than others. Add-on – A selection, typically at an increased price, added to a travel reservation. Adjoining rooms – Bordering hotel rooms that do not share a common door. Advance purchase requirement – Ticket must be purchased a minimum number of days before the flight departs. Airline representative – An airline salesperson/account executive who calls on travel agents or an individual who represents an airline. Airline Record Locator – A confirmation code for a reservation that can be comprised of numbers and letters. (Also referred to as a PNR) AP – American Plan, breakfast included. Also known as BP, Breakfast Plan. ARC – Airlines Reporting Corporation ASTA – American Society of Travel Agents Bed and Breakfast – Accommodations that include a room and full breakfast in a private home. Base fare – The cost of an airfare prior to addition of fees, taxes, or surcharges. Blackout dates – Specific dates in which special fares or promotions do not apply. These typically exist around holidays or special events. Blocked space – Seats reserved to be sold to third party companies at a discounted group rate. Boarding pass – A ticket issued upon airport check-in that authorizes airplane boarding. You must present the boarding pass at the TSA checkpoint, as well as upon boarding the aircraft. Booking – A reservation. Bulk contract – An agreement whereby an airline sells blocks of seats at a discount for resale by a third party. Bulk fare – A negotiated fare for purchases of a large number of tickets. Can be purchased when buying packages with tour operators and are issued at the time of bookings. These fares have non-refundable penalties and fees. Business class – While amenities vary based on the airline, business class generally falls between first class and premium coach. Cancellation penalty – A fee charged to customers who cancel flights, hotels, resorts, cruises, etc. after booking reservations. Fees typically vary based on the agency or carrier. Clients should be made aware of all cancellation policies prior to confirming the booking. Carrier – Transporter of passengers and/or goods. Certified Birth Certificate – A certified copy of a birth certificate has an official state registrar’s raised, embossed, impressed or multicoloured seal, registrar’s signature, and the date the certificate was filed with the registrar’s office. CFAR - Cancel-for-any-reason waiver included in optional travel protection insurance. Reimbursement amount varies from supplier to supplier as well as 3rd party travel insurance providers. CTA/CTC – Certified Travel Associate/Certified Travel Counselor – These professional designations can only be used by those agents who are certified as such by the Travel Institute. Charter Flight – A flight booked partially or exclusively for a specific individual or group of people, on scheduled or unscheduled airlines, and available under charter conditions. City Pair – The departure and destination points of an air trip. Closed Loop Cruise – A cruise that begins and ends in the same port city. Example: Miami-Miami. These cruises may not require a passport to sail. Passengers can embark with a Passport Card or Certified Birth Certificate and government-issued photo identification. Closed to Arrival (CTA)– A room inventory control function that prevents reservations from arriving on that date. Reservations can stay through the date. Corporate Rate – A special rate given by a hotel or car rental agency to a corporation/business. Commission – The varying and often-regulated amount paid by suppliers to travel agents for the sale of transportation, accommodations, and other services. Connecting rooms – Hotel rooms that share a common door. Consolidator – A person or company specializing in negotiating a lower than published airfare with scheduled airlines; Usually used for international travel. Consortia – Marketing organizations that link together small to medium sized independent travel agencies to leverage purchasing power and marketing opportunities. Our consortia is NEST. Customs – The government agency or office where, upon entry to a country, the passenger must declare all foreign-purchased items to government officials. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – Software used to capture preferences and implement customer loyalty strategies. Our CRM system is TESS. Departure tax – A fee collected by a city or national government for departure from that city or country, only if it is not paid in advance by a tour company or airline. DMC - Destination Management Company which is generally located in the destination of your client's reservation. A DMC can provide you transfers, excursions, and guidance about the destination. Direct Flight – A flight that does not require a passenger to change planes; however, there may be one or more intermediate stops. Disembarkation - refers to the process of leaving the ship at the conclusion of the cruise. Electronic ticket – A paperless ticket issued to travelers. Commonly referred to as “e-tickets;” they cannot be lost or stolen because it is an electronic reservation. Embarkation - refers to the port that a client will board the ship. EOL Insurance - also referred to as E&O Insurance. Errors, omissions and liability insurance provided either by you for your own business and/or provided by your host agency. This insurance always has a deductible that you are responsible for paying. EP Plan - European Plan at varying resorts. Generally includes no meals, drinks or inclusions. Escorted tour – Prearranged escorted travel program. EURAIL pass – A railroad pass for unlimited first-class travel in sixteen European countries for a certain number of days, for which a flat fee is paid. Exclusive fare – Negotiated airfares offered by travel consolidators. FAM trip – Travel which familiarizes travel agents with certain destinations, resorts, and cruise ships, in order to stimulate the sale of travel. Price may vary and can sometimes be at a discount or special rate. Most organized FAMs are Agent-Only, where non-industry persons are not welcomed to join. Fare code – The code that determines the price of an airline ticket. FAP – Full American Plan, which means all daily meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), are included. FIT – Full Individual Tariff or Free Independent (also remember For Individual Travel) First class – The class which offers the most premium service. Enhanced seating, meal selection, and drink offerings are staples of this service. Frequent Flyer Program – Program designated by air carriers, which allows redemption of miles for travel. Gateway - the airport that one is flying from. Generally, the term is used to determine the originating city that the client is departing from. Global Entry Program - is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travellers upon arrival in the United States. Members enter the United States through automatic kiosks at select airports. Guaranteed Departure – A tour that has at least half of the seats on the bus filled for a specific departure date. High Season – Same as peak season. Host Agency - an organization that provides you with the ability to make your travel bookings using their industry affiliation numbers such as IATA and CLIA and to which you are contracted for a monthly or annual fee as well as a commission split. Hub – A city in which an airline has a major presence. Hurricane Season – The Central Pacific and Atlantic hurricane seasons are the periods in a year when hurricanes usually form. The seasons normally run from June 1 to November 30, sharply peaking in the months of August and September. The best resource is the National Hurricane Centre: www.nhc.noaa.gov. IATA Codes – International Air Transport Association; Standard abbreviations used by airlines and travel agents for airlines, airports and fares. IATAN – International Airlines Travel Agent Network; Global recognition for the U.S. professional. Incentive travel – Travel offered as a prize or incentive to stimulate employee sales or reward clients. International Driver’s Permit (IDP) – Many countries do not recognize a U.S. driver’s license, but most accept an International Driving Permit (IDP). IDPs may not be valid the whole time you stay abroad and may only be valid with a U.S. or local license. Refer to Driving and Road Safety Abroad on travel.state.gov. Itinerary – Travel schedule put together for a client by a travel agency. The Jones Act – The Jones Act, when used in the sense of maritime law, refers to federal statute 46 USC section 883. This is the act that controls coastwise trade within the United States and determines which ships may lawfully engage in that trade and the rules under which they must operate. Agents who sell cruises should be aware of the Jones Act and how it impacts the cruising industry. Specifically: The Jones Act (also known as the Passenger Services Act) prohibits ships of Non-U.S registry from embarking and debarking guests at two different U.S ports. Such travel would constitute point-to-point transportation between two U.S ports, which is prohibited on foreign flagged ships. Note: Puerto Rico and the U.S Virgin Islands (St. Thomas; St. Croix; St. John) are not in the category of U.S ports under this act. The exception to this rule is if the itinerary includes a 'distant foreign port'. South America and the ABC Islands (Aruba-Bonaire-Curacao) do qualify as distant foreign ports. Canada, Mexico, Central America, Bermuda and most Caribbean Islands do not qualify as distant foreign ports. Any guest who insists on embarking (due to unforeseen circumstances outside the guest’s control, for missing the ship) or debarking (for emergency reasons), which violates the Jones Act, will accept responsibility for any resulting penalties ($300 USD per person). Important Note: Guests cannot pre-plan or purposely embark or debark a ship in a U.S port that will violate the Jones Act. Known Traveler Number - The CBP PASSID is assigned to you upon approval for membership in Global Entry, NEXUS, or SENTRI. This nine-digit number usually begins with 98, serves as your known traveler number, and can be found on the back of your NEXUS, SENTRI, or Global Entry card or by logging on to the Global Online Enrolment System. Layover – The period of time spent between connecting flights. Low season – The season at any destination when tourist trade and rates are lowest. Maximum Stay – The longest period of time a traveler can stay at a particular destination and still qualify for the promotion or discounted fare. MICE - Meetings, Incentives and Corporate Events. This is a specialized niche in the travel industry. Minimum Connection Time – The shortest time required in order to successfully transfer to a connecting flight. It is recommended to select a connecting flight that exceeds the minimum connection time. Minimum Stay – The shortest period of time a traveler can stay at a particular destination to qualify for the promotion or discounted fare. MAP – Modified American plan, hotel rate includes room, breakfast, and either lunch or dinner MLM - A multi-level marketing scheme whereby interested parties sell memberships into a travel club and refer to themselves as legitimate travel agents when in fact, they are not. Some MLM members even use designations such as CTA which is also not legitimate. Net fare, net rate (NET)– Implies the commission has already been removed from the price of the fare. No Show – A traveler who doesn’t appear for their flight, hotel, cruise or car rental reservation. No-Walk Policy - a policy whereby a resort can move your clients to another resort if they have overbooked or want to allow for a bigger group or resort buy-out. In many cases, the relationship your supplier has with the resort will dictate whether or not they will "walk" your clients. NCF - non-commissionable fare. This is an amount determined by ocean cruise lines to be deducted from the total fare and for which you will receive no commission. For instance, if the cruise fare is $2000 per person and the NCF is $500 per person, you will only receive commission on $1500 per person. Non-refundable – A ticket in which no money will be returned if the customer does not use the ticket. Non-transferable – A ticket that can only be used by the person who was originally scheduled to fly at the time of purchase. Nonstop – A flight that travels directly to its destination without connections or layovers. Off-Peak – A less expensive time to travel as result of lower consumer volume during these periods.Also known as Low Season. One Way – A trip or fare from one point to another without a return journey on the same ticket. Open Jaw – A round trip ticket on which the departure point is different from the arrival point, or which includes a segment for which transportation is not provided. Operator – Any company that provides any transportation service. Not just limited to flights, it also includes trains, buses, and cruise ships. Overbooking – The deliberate or mistaken confirmation of more reservations than there are seats, rooms, cars etc. Passport Book – A passport is an internationally recognized travel document that verifies your identity and nationality. A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave most foreign countries, as well as to return to the United States. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports. Passport Card – The passport card is a wallet-size travel document that can only be used to re-enter the United States at land border-crossings or ports-of-entry by sea from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. Not valid for air travel, always suggest a Passport Book. PAX – Passengers. Peak Season – The season at any destination when tourist trade and rates are highest. Point to Point – Term signifying basic transportation from one point to another. Port of Call – A port where a ship receives or lets off passengers or cargo. Preferred Supplier – A supplier who provides some extra incentive to use their specific company including higher commission rates. Published Fare – A fare offered for immediate purchase by the airline. This does not include discounted flights usually offered to consolidators. Rack Rate – The full price of a hotel room prior to any discount. Reconfirm – To double-check a reservation. Record Locator – The number assigned to a reservation by the airlines. This number is unique, as it will never be assigned again. It may also be known as the PNR. Red-eye Flight – A flight in which the travel takes place between the hours of 9 pm and 7 am. Widely used on flights heading from west to east. Register Your Bookings - a process whereby you must register your bookings with a particular resort or destination in order to receive the rewards associated with such bookings. Reissue – When a new ticket is issued as a result of a change of plans. This can often require fees or penalties from the airline. Reservation Agent – An employee who take reservations and/or sells tickets on behalf of airlines, resorts, car rental agencies and tour operators. Resort Fee – A daily supplemental charge imposed by a hotel or resort for added amenities. This fee isnormally collected by the hotel/resort directly and not included in the tour operator quote. Risk Seats – Risk air is a combination of charter, partial charter and scheduled air that a tour operator purchases to form their travel packages in certain markets. If you are in a risk market, it will do your business well to sell that tour operator as a primary choice. The risk flights are normally ones that are non-stop into destination combining an early landing in destination and an afternoon departure. ROH – Run of House; A guaranteed room, but the type of room is dependent on availability upon arrival. Round Trip – The trip or fare destination and a return by approximately the same routing to the departure point; Direct or indirect routings apply. Scheduled Airline – A carrier offering scheduled air service for individual passengers. Shoulder Season – The period of time between busy and quiet seasons in which prices are typically at amidpoint. Single Supplement – Extra charge for single accommodations on a tour or cruise. Most commonly a 200% surcharge of the accommodations, guests only pay tax on one fare. Standby – A passenger waiting to secure an unreserved place for a journey, allocated on the basis of earliest availability. Stop Over – A deliberate stop or right to leave transportation for a period of time. TBA – To be announced. Tour – Any prearranged (usually prepaid) journey to one or more destinations and back to point of departure. Tour Conductor Credit - (TC) is earned when booking a group with a supplier, especially group cruises. TC's are generally paid out at the average stateroom booking category. Tour Conductor Ratio - varies from supplier to supplier. A TC ratio of 1:16 means there is one free berth for each 16 passengers booked. Often times, group amenity points can be used to lower the ratio, thus increasing your earning potential. Tour Operator – A company that creates packages or markets inclusive tours, selling them through travel agents or directly to the public. Tourist Card – Most commonly for immigration entry into the Dominican Republic. The charge is $10.00 USD payable at the airport at time of entry or can be purchased in advanced online. Transfer – Local transportation and portage to and from a resort or pier. Travel.state.gov – The official government site for the U.S. Department of State. Entry requirements for foreign countries, as well as embassy locations can be found here. This is your best reference for yourself and clients when researching visa and immigration requirements. TSA Pre-check - TSA Pre✓® is an expedited security screening program connecting travellers departing from the United States with smarter security and a better air travel experience. Passengers can apply for the TSA Pre✓® Application Program to determine if they are low-risk and eligible to receive expedited screening. Upgrade – To change to a better class of service or accommodation. Unrestricted Fare – An airfare with no limitations. It is typically refundable and has no blackout days. Value-Add - refers to a process whereby you add upgrades or extras to a reservation to enhance the reservation. Generally used for group bookings. VAT – Value added tax. Vendor – A supplier. Venue – Location. Visa – A visa is official permission from a country for you to visit. It is usually a stamp in your passport, but is also sometimes a piece of paper or electronic document that states how long you are allowed to stay in that country and in what capacity (tourist, study, etc.). Vouchers – Document or coupons issued to clients by tour operators to be exchanged for services such as accommodations, meals and sightseeing. Waitlist – A list of customers who are waiting for space on a date or at a time that is sold out. A few examples could be dining time on a cruise ship, confirmable space on a tour (escorted or FIT), or a specific hotel or resort. Waiver – A written acknowledgment that a passenger has declined something. Wholesaler – A company that markets and creates tours to sell through a retail travel agent.
Qualifying your client Qualifying your client is critical to providing them with the best options and pricing available. This requires having a sound interviewing technique and a willingness to get "intimate" with your client. If a potential client tells you they want to go to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico sometime in the summer, clearly you don't have enough information to provide them with a quote that will WOW them! There is a tremendous amount of information you don't have in order to make your time (and theirs) worthwhile. Think of it this way: if you approached a travel agent to plan a trip for you, what information do you think they should have in order to provide you with the best quotes and recommendations possible?
Preparing Proposals The proposal(s) you present to your client is a representation of you, your company, your expertise, and your professionalism. Anyone can take a supplier quote and email it to a client, but chances are, that client may just start shopping around, beginning with the website of the supplier listed on the quote. While it is completely your decision how you want to present pricing quotes and proposals to your clients, take a look at the various samples below and determine which type of proposal or quote would attract you more and which would likely "nail the booking" for you. Some hints for preparing successful proposals: • Prepare a comprehensive proposal that does NOT include the name of your tour operator/supplier • We recommend that you DO NOT send direct quotes from your suppliers • Do not name the airline in your proposal, but DO include the flight times • Be sure to include beautiful supplier photos that make your client want to be there • Provide comprehensive information that YOU would want to know if you were making a decision • Be sure that you have used spell-check and that the presentation is professional, well-laid-out, and easy to read • Always send your proposal in a PDF or online version that is not changeable by the client • Send it with a email/cover letter advising your clients that you are willing to make revisions based on their preferences • Ensure that your grammar, punctuation, and spelling are 100% accurate. Would you want to do business with someone who doesn't take the time to double-check what they are sending out? • Use an online proposal service such as Adobe Spark so that your proposal can easily be viewed and shared regardless of the client's device.
Price Matching Price-matching is a personal business decision that you will have to make as you grow your business. There are pros and cons to this practice and only you can decide if this is the right business model for you. In some geographical markets, in order to remain competitive, you may find yourself working with clients who insist on the cheapest price for their travel. In others, price-matching is not a necessarily evil - it's simply a choice. Price-matching requests generally come from clients who are booking all-inclusive vacation packages. Please be sure to check with each of our tour operators such as Transat, Sunwing, Air Canada Vacations etc to determine what their specific price matching policy is. Words of caution: • While a supplier may approve a price-match, your commission may be much lower • "Instant price matching" does not always mean that it is approved - do not tell your clients it is approved until you know this in writing from your supplier • Always be sure that you are truly comparing apples to apples - the supplier is going to require a screenshot of the exact quote you received from another vendor or OTA and it will have to be dated and timed on the screenshot in order to be considered on the same day. We are members of Travelleaders and you will have many resources available to you. We strongly urge you to complete all of the training modules including recorded webinars so that you can take advantage of all of the services this consortia has to offer. www.agentuniverse.com
TYPES OF AIR There are several types of air that you can ticket whether you are doing air-only or packaged air. Published/Scheduled AirPricing and schedules are available to the public through all online medium (i.e., Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, Kayak, etc.) or direct through airline websites. Pricing can vary depending on Fare Class Basis, but it is the standard pricing that the airline is charging for the ticket. As a travel agent, you will not earn commission on published air and must add a service fee to the price of the airfare if you wish to be paid for your time and effort in ticketing the air for your client. Your client will see TWO charges on their credit card statement: 1) the airline ticket; and, 2) your service fee. Remember that if you ticket your client using any of our air consolidators such as Centrav, SkyBird, EasyTix, etc, these entities also charge a service fee for ticketing the air on your behalf. Bulk Air Bulk Air is found when booking with suppliers or consolidators. These are the fares that the supplier has purchased from the airline at a discount to resell. Most air carriers do not pay commissions to travel agents and this is certainly the case for domestic air (within the United States). However, when using consolidators, if a commission is available for an international flight (primarily Europe and Asia), you will be notified what the maximum commission amount is per ticket when obtaining your quote. If your ticket is commissionable, your client will only see one charge for the ticket because the commission is included in the price of the ticket. Of note: if the ticket is $850.00 and the consolidator tells you that the maximum commission is $150.00 per ticket, it would be wise to compare the price of $1,000.00 to published air to be sure that you are not overpricing the ticket versus what the client can find on their own online. When you are booking a package (land and air), some of our suppliers will pay a commission on the air portion. Charter AirCharter Air is also known as Risk Air because the supplier has purchased all of the air on a particular flight. For instance, Vacation Express, Funjet Vacations, and Travel Impressions each offer a version of charter flights. This generally results in a greatly reduced air price for your client but there is zero flexibility to make changes with regard to scheduling. For instance, the charter flight may be leaving a particular US gateway on Thursday and returning on Tuesday. Your client must fly those dates at the scheduled time in order to take advantage of the charter flights and pricing within their packaged vacation.
Considerations when booking flightsThe difference between a good travel agent and a great travel agent is attention to detail and taking into consideration the needs of your client to ensure that their travel is as seamless and stress-free as possible. Many clients will tell you they saw a flight at a cheaper price but they have not taken into consideration the flight schedule (an 8-hour overnight layover in a connecting city, for example) or the fact that the flight heads north, only to return south again to their destination. Here are some tips to help you offer your client the best possible flight options: • Flight Departure Time - would you really want to schedule a 6:00 am flight for someone who has to drive two hours to the airport? • Flight Return Time - if your client is on an escorted tour or cruise, it is always prudent to check with the tour operator or cruise line for the "earliest flight departure times" so that your client doesn't miss their flight. Likewise, if your client is on a vacation at a tropical resort, you want to ensure that the client has plenty of time to have breakfast and check-out before having to board their transfer vehicle to the airport. Most transfer companies will pick your client up 2-3 hours prior to flight time. • Connecting Flights - scheduling a flight that connects in another gateway and only leaving your client 45 minutes is not a good choice. Flight delays, gate changes, and other issues can cause your client to miss their connecting flight. Conversely, you would likely not want to offer your client a flight that has an overnight layover in another airport. • Business Travel is different than Leisure Travel - always know the needs of your business client (i.e., do they have a meeting scheduled at a particular time on the day they are traveling?) Most business clients are looking for the most direct route to their destination and seating requests will be very specific because they may be working during their flight. • Always check available seating before offering flights to your clients. It is of no value to purchase tickets for your client on an overbooked flight where seating cannot be pre-assigned. This will make for a very unhappy client when they find out there are no available seating next to their companions, especially when traveling with children. • Put yourself in your client's shoes and consider if you would take the flight you are offering to them. Will this flight make your trip stress-free as much as possible?
Booking hotel rooms for both domestic and international travel can be a lucrative source of income for you. While booking direct with hotels generally yields a standard 10% commission (on the rate before taxes and fees), these types of bookings can create steady streams of revenue.
DOMESTIC HOTELSThere are multiple ways in which to book domestic hotels for your clients. • Book direct with the hotel or hotel chain (i.e., Hilton, Marriott, Starwood, etc.). When making the booking and searching for rates, remember to select special rates that your client may qualify AND select Travel Agent and enter our IATA number which is 96541001. Beware of the terms of your booking with regard to cancellation penalties and whether the rate you are quoting is prepaid or if it can be paid upon arrival. You must understand fully the rate you are quoting and the terms and conditions associated with it. • Book through one of our preferred tour operators such as Travelbrands, Agent Universe etc • If you are booking a smaller property that does not appear to work with travel agents, you must contact the resort directly to find out if they pay commissions to travel agents. If CTG Travel Host Agency needs to register with them, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
INTERNATIONAL HOTELSInternational hotel bookings can be tricky since there are literally hundreds of thousands to choose from. Many times clients will want a small, remote hotel, inn or bed and breakfast that is not available through any of our suppliers. You can always book directly with the hotel if they work with travel agents, but be prepared to wait many, many months for your commission to be paid. There are many avenues to book international hotels including our preferred suppliers, direct, through consolidators, Trip Express, and through DMC's.
Ground Transportation includes car rentals, shared, nonstop or private transfers, taxi service, buses, trains and any other type of transportation that gets your client from one destination to another. Generally, the most common ground transportation that you will arrange is either for car rentals or transfers.
CAR RENTALSCar Rental BasicsAn excellent way to add extra earning to a booking is to sell your client on the idea of renting a car through your agency. Always ask if clients are planning to rent a car while on their trip. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how many will say “yes” and allow you to arrange it for them. INFORMATION YOU WILL NEED TO GATHER BEFORE MAKING A CAR RENTAL RESERVATION: 1. Pick-up location 2. Drop-off location 3. Pick-up date and time 4. Drop-off date and time 5. Car class (I.E. compact, intermediate, luxury) 6. Car type (I.E. two or four doors, 4 wheel drive, automatic or manual transmission) 7. Unlimited mileage? The lowest rates are usually based on renting at the airport and returning the car to the same rental location. If not, ask if there will be a drop charge. If yes, advise the client. Most companies will not guarantee a particular brand or model, only size of car. Car rental companies are all careful to add the words “or similar”, so never guarantee a certain make or model. Many rental car companies will not rent to customers under 25 years of age. None will rent to anyone under 21. Between the ages of 21-25, the renter will be charged a surcharge of $5 to $15 dollars per day. Car rental companies do not require a credit card to make a reservation unless renting a special car type, such as a sports car, convertible, SUV, etc. However, the rental person will need a major credit card under his/her name in order to rent a vehicle. When canceling a car rental reservation that a credit card was required on, always get a cancellation number.
CRUISES Booking cruises can seem confusing at first, but in reality, once you understand how the different booking engines work with the various cruise lines, you will find it a breeze. Carnival and Disney have their own booking engines as does Norwegian Cruise Lines. River cruise lines each have their own booking engines as do many of the small-ship lines. For purposes of general training, the most common booking engines you may use are listed below. In the supplier directory, you can search alphabetically for the cruise line you wish to work with and follow the instructions provided as well as to access the individual training programs that each cruise line provides.
POLAR ONLINEPolar Online is your cruise booking engine for Princess Cruises, Holland America, Cunard and Seabourn. You will access Polar Online through One Source. Be sure to click on the correct cruise line when you enter Polar Online. On the next page you will review more information on how to make your bookings through the online, real-time inventory system. However, you are always free to call the cruise lines to make your booking. You will need to identify yourself by first and last name as well as providing our Agency Phone number is 91957899028. You may also reserve group space utilizing the online system. The maximum number of berths that can be reserved without a deposit is 16 (8 staterooms). When you reserve group space, you will also be advised as to how many Amenity Points you have for your group. Be sure to allot your points for the amenities you want as soon as possible as they are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Generally, your group space/rates can be "traded" for current promotional rates.
CRUISING POWERCruising Power is the online booking engine for Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Azamara. You can identify which cruise line you would like to book, search for cruises and promotions, and make your booking based on the live inventory available. You can also manage all dining request, insurance and the like.
CRUISE EXPRESS - CRUISE EXPRESS PLUSOur consortia, NEST, provides a booking engine for cruises -"Cruise Express" which you can access under booking engines in the NEST portal. The difference between Cruise Express and Cruise Express Plus is the following: You can use Cruise Express to compare different cruise lines and promotions to find recommendations for your clients. If you choose to make a booking through the Cruise Express booking engine, your sales are attributed to CTG Travel Host Agency just as if you had made the booking directly with the cruise lines' booking engines. Cruise Express Plus provides a higher commission rate, at a fee of $25.00 per booking. However, these bookings are not attributed to CTG Travel Host Agency. Instead, they are through a third-party tour operator and access to your booking is through their credentials, rather than CTG Travel's.
Land and Packages Land Packages are perhaps the most common types of bookings for Travel Agents. We strongly recommend that you thoroughly qualify your client prior to providing your recommendations, preparing quotes, or negotiating rates.
ALL-INCLUSIVE VACATION PACKAGESThe number of choices for your clients to consider in Mexico and the Caribbean grow exponentially on an annual basis. How will you know what the best recommendations are for your clients? 1 Qualify, qualify, qualify! 2 Don't quote out of your wallet! 3 Know the resort even if you haven't been there - there are agents who have! 4 Never provide more than 2 or 3 options! 5 It's not your vacation - it's theirs! Don't dismiss what is important to them!It is also important to remember that an "all-inclusive" program can vary from resort to resort as well as by destination. It's important that your read what the inclusions are when making a recommendation or offering a quote. Always consider the types of transfers you are offering your client as part of the package. Shared transfers may be the cheapest, but your client will likely spend up to several hours while the van or bus driver delivers other passengers to other resorts along the way. We strongly recommend that you always include private transfers in your package quotes. Don't be afraid to upsell! Often times, clients don't really know what they want. It's a lot easier to go down on the price of a package than it is to go up. So start with the best and let your client direct you if they want to choose a lesser value.
ESCORTED TOURSMany clients may feel more comfortable traveling with others on a pre-planned, escorted tour especially to destinations that may seem overwhelming to navigate. Escorted tours are available with many variations: small groups, large groups, women-only tours, multi-generational family tours, and so on. It is important to qualify your client to determine if an escorted tour is a good fit for them. Once you know that an escorted tour is an appropriate option, it will be helpful to identify the budget range that your client will be most comfortable working with. We have multiple suppliers who can also help you to customize escorted tours to the needs of a particular group.
CUSTOM FIT TRAVEL PLANNINGCreating hand-curated, customized FIT travel planning is a skill and takes hard work. There are many components to preparing a custom FIT quote depending on what your client is hoping for. Most custom FIT itineraries are for Europe, Southeast Asia and South or Central America. However, requests can literally be for anywhere in the world. If this is not your area of expertise, please reach out to another agent within the Host Agency or contact Lorraine Simpson for assistance. Some of our suppliers, such as Avanti Destinations and Europe Express, allow you to add a travel agent fee onto the price of the trip and we recommend that you do this to compensate for the time involved in planning the trip. The client does not see the fee as a separate charge.
DEPOSITS, PAYMENTS & CANCELLATIONSIt is your responsibility to always be transparent and inform your client prior to making a booking with regard to the amount of deposits and final payments, dates these are due, whether or not monies are refundable, and what the implications are financially with regard to cancellations. We strongly recommend that you include this information when you are providing your initial quote. If you charge a cancellation fee, you MUST advise the client of this prior to making the booking and you must do so in writing.
Concierge Travel Group Proudly TICO registered and certified agency 50021829. (289) 273-8095 email@example.com Registered address 32 college street, Fonthill Ontario. L0S1E0