Melanie Derakhshan, sales and business development manager for B2B accommodation wholesaler Travellanda, is a Wonder Woman – unless she’s using Sat Nav that is.
Describe your typical week
I am out seeing agents at least three days of the week – with a couple of days in the office to make sure I don’t get overwhelmed with all the work. I tend to drive to most places as it is a lot easier and I can sing as loud as I want in the car – bit tricky on the train.
How big is Travellanda’s sales team?
We have a fairly big team of various sales managers and reps located in our different offices worldwide.
What do you keep in the glove box?
I always have to have something to snack on and a guilty pleasure CD, which may or may not be a Disney classic courtesy of my daughter!
What’s on the radio?
If I am on the road around 11am I have to put on some Kisstory without fail! Otherwise I have a mix on the iPod, which includes everything from old school Kings of Leon to Latin star Don Omar.
What food keeps you going on the road?
I’m more of a snack person as opposed to fast food chains, so I cannot live without some Chilli Heatwave Doritos and a large hazelnut latte, not at the same time of course!
What’s the silliest thing you’ve ever done as part of a sales visit?
I once visited a client who was celebrating their 10,000th customer. They were all dressed up as super heroes and I went along as Wonder Woman.
Who would be your ideal driving companion on a long journey?
This is a hard one and I would have to go with two people: Michael McIntyre to keep me laughing and Jonny Lee Miller (possibly because I am slightly obsessed with Elementary at the moment).
What’s the best question a travel agent has ever asked you?
Once a travel agent asked if we could book a car transfer for him in Phi Phi Island to his hotel. We advised, politely, that a boat would be the best option as there are no cars on the island!
What’s the most lost you have ever got?
I got in my car, running slightly pressed for time, put in the postcode for the next destination and headed out. I arrived at the location a while later. Looking around, it appeared pretty residential. I double-checked the client’s exact address and realised I had typed the wrong postcode by one letter and had gone five miles in the opposite direction.
Which is your favourite destination that your company sells?
I would have to say anywhere in Thailand. Amazing food, great people and perfect weather – what more could you want!
What key messages do you try to convey in an agent visit?
Rates, technology and customer service are at the heart of our business. We know everyone is chasing rates so we make sure we are competitive. Our inventory of 200,000 hotels comes with excellent rates and availability. In addition, whether agents book through our online system or using our XML, they are using innovative and reliable technology. We also have an excellent 24/7 customer service team and this is imperative in any business, especially the travel industry!
What’s your advice for agents who don’t currently sell your product but are keen?
I would say sign up with Travellanda for guaranteed competitive rates, an extensive hotel portfolio and excellent customer service.
Get in touch: email Melanie on email@example.com