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Agent to Agent: Tips for Self-Promotion, The Right Way

MARCH 22, 2017

Dear Tammy: It’s March and, for me, business isn’t going well. I have been working hard trying to get new customers in, but my business isn’t doing the same volume as last year. Any tips on how I can drum up new business?


Boy, I can write a book on how to drum up new business as a travel agent. That’s because there are so many different ways you can reach customers these days. Many of these promotional tools that are at your fingertips do not even cost anything. It’s a matter of finding the time to use them.

First, you need to make time in your day – and I mean every day – to promote your business, even when it’s at its busiest. This is because when business slows down you’re already behind in drumming up new business. Promoting your business is vital to the growth and survival of your company and if you just rely on the people who are calling now, you’ll be in for a big surprise if that suddenly slows down and your name isn’t out there in front of your potential customers.

So, how do you get your name in front of your potential customers?

The easiest and most cost effective way is by using social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. There’s also Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Tumbler, all are easy to use and do not cost a penny.

Each one of these is a great marketing tool for you. Write a blog post and provide a tip and a photo on Twitter. See a new resort and post some photos on Instagram. Take a short video of your experience at a new destination and post that on Snapchat. Get quoted in a news article and post that on LinkedIn. The more that your name is in front of your customers with valuable information and fun photos, the more you’ll become a respected name they can trust and will contact you when they want to plan a trip.

Another cost effective way of promoting yourself is by using your mouth. Tell people about what you do and make sure your customers tell their friends and family what a great job you did. Much of my business is by word-of-mouth and again that doesn’t cost a dime.

Of course, if you have the budget, consider buying some ad space on google, or on facebook or other social media sites. You can figure out what media works best for you (if you’re not sure, compare all of them and see which one you reach the most customers).

You see, it’s not about how you need to drum up business, it’s when and that is now. It should be a part of your daily activities, not something you do when business slows down. Work hard at promotion and you’ll see that it pays off.

Agent to Agent: What are ‘Strategic Partnerships?’

MARCH 15, 2017

Dear Tammy:

I’ve heard the term “strategic partnerships’”used throughout my travel agency career and I’m just not quite sure what they mean or why a travel agent would even need to partner with anyone. Can you help me figure this out? I really want my business to succeed.


If you want your business to succeed, then it’s extremely important that you wrap your head around this term ‘strategic partnerships.’ A strategic partnership is collaborating with someone who is not your direct competitor. Your relationship is mutually beneficial. Every successful business uses it at some point. Think about how Barnes & noble has a Starbucks in their store or how you can find Dunkin Donuts and Baskin’ Robbins sharing space. Partnering with other companies can make your travel agency business even more profitable.

I know because I’ve done it several times in my career.

In 2013, I partnered with several entrepreneurs, including Kevin Harrington (Shark Tank and As Seen on TV). I’ve also had the chance to form other partnerships in my role as the travel expert on ABC’s Tampa Bay Morning Blend in Florida. I brought in sponsors for the segment. We help each other get the word out about travel.

I have built a career around leveraging partnerships with other businesses. The viewers weren’t watching just me on the show. It made the segments more fun and informative and benefited both of us.

Who can you partner with?

Are you interested in growing locally? Then perhaps you can leverage a partnership with another local business or not-for-profit? How about partnering with a local event that can help to promote your business? Maybe you can partner with a travel doctor to put on seminars about keeping healthy while traveling internationally. You can also partner with a spa or a car dealership as a travel incentive. You can provide trip giveaways with your vendor to promote both brands. The opportunities are endless.

Being a travel agent is not a solitary business, so think out-of-the-box and look at your contacts. You just might find a strategic partnership that works for you.

Agent to Agent: The Right Kind of Training Is Important

MARCH 08, 2017

Dear Tammy: I recently have been offered an opportunity to go through both travel agent sales training and product training. I’m a new travel agent to the industry and, to be honest, I don’t really understand the difference. I want to become a great travel agent, but I need to know what the difference is.

Should I go through both or just one? What are the pros and cons of each?

Tammy: Maybe the best way to explain it is like this. Imagine you’re a brand new surgeon. A new company has shown you some of the best new operating equipment on the market today. You want to start using it, but you have no patients. That equipment is now useless to you because you do not have anyone to operate on. It’s the same as a travel agent. You can go and take as much product training as you want. You can learn about new resorts or package deals, but without any customers, you have no one to use it on.
It’s important for you to become a great travel agent first and that means taking travel agent sales training.
Learning how to obtain your customers is the first step to becoming a great travel agent. I’ve been teaching travel agents for years and I know what it takes to become successful. Over time, of course, you will have to go to product training but it’s not that important right now. You first need to learn about marketing, advertising, and networking.
Unless you learn the secrets to becoming not just a travel agent, but a successful entrepreneur, you will not succeed. You need to learn how to compete against the online booking engines, how to gain your clients’ trust and define what it means to be a travel agent.
In the courses I teach, I meet agents who are new to the business and who are so excited about traveling to product training and eager to go on FAM trips. You will! But right now, in order to be successful, you need to focus on generating leads, building a thriving business, using social media and creating brand recognition for yourself.
FAM trips are great because you will learn about the best places to refer your clients to, and product sales training is a unique way of getting to learn about what’s out there. But, like our surgeon, you need to get your clients first. Then, you can build from there.

Watch Travel Expert Tammy Levent on Tampabay’s Morning Blend weekly

March 1, 2017
Introduction to Elite Travel / Tammy Levent and Back roads to Greece

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