From window cards to digital screens, brochures to iPads and resort maps to immersive virtual reality experiences, technology continues to evolve rapidly, demanding travel agents embrace change to stay ahead of the game.
Being dynamic in your approach to technology is one aspect but, in tandem with this, don’t forget about ways to upgrade your greatest asset – your people. As the needs of your customers change, then so will the skills required by your staff.
At Oasis Travel, we ask ourselves “what are the qualities required to makea great travel agent?” as well as “what are the qualities of an ‘Oasis Travel person’?”
For the latter, we have developed a set of company values we believe should govern our behaviours.
We must ensure our people are professional and energetic in seeking to deliver the perfect travel experience.
If people have the foundations of a great salesperson, then why can’t they acquire the knowledge to be a high-performing travel agent?
Currently, recruiting locally for staff with travel agency experience is a challenge for us. There are more available jobs than travel agents.
Our search must now go beyond the traditional narrow scope of industry veterans; we need to look for those who are passionate about travel and have the ability to inspire others.
I have been fortunate to meet many fascinating, well-travelled people.
I have listened many times to stories of their adventures through south-east Asia, their exploration of far-flung destinations in South America and many other locations off the beaten track.
I often find myself drawn to their experiences, intrigued as they tell me that they have a completely different career but would love the opportunity to work in travel.
A key component of staff engagement is showing investment and a willingness to help people develop in pursuit of their goals.
They may not be familiar with the technical processes, booking systems or key suppliers, but all this can be learned, and an investment in adapting these individuals to the travel industry may pay great dividends in the long run.
So, as we plan our next recruitment drive, we are considering this bolder strategy.
Does having two years’ experience in retail travel guarantee individuals will come in and help improve your company performance?
Accepting an element of risk, we intend to widen our search and engage with those who may not have a travel background but have the qualities and skills to become a great salesperson.
We will also partner with some industry professionals who will bring their skills to help us train these people on subjects like travel law, booking systems and development of customer skills in travel. I hope this will be an opportunity to foster new talent, attract new customer bases and create the next generation of travel agents.