By Matt Castell @MattCastell09 Feb 2017It’s that magical time of year again, airlines have released their hot fares, tour companies are offering discounts and reduced deposits and Contiki & Topdeck are battling it out to release the hippest new product. That must mean it’s EXPO SEASON! Even uttering the word ‘expo’ will cause shudders across travel agencies across Australia, whether they are part of the fun (FCTG) or not (everyone else). These shudders are caused by memories of the last travel expo, where the results could have been fantastic, horrific; or somewhere in between. Successful expo agents will shake from the expectation of 6am starts and late finishes for the week afterwards to get their bookings done. Unsuccessful expo agents meanwhile will cower and start thinking of excuses for why they can’t make it. I’ve been attending Travel Expo for ten years now – with mostly successful results – and I’m happy to share my knowledge of what works (and what doesn’t). Here’s my five top tips For Travel Agents: 1. Dress to impress This won’t be your normal run-of-the-mill day in the office where you can slouch in your chair wearing creased trousers. You’ll be on your feet, trying to sell yourself to prospective customers who will immediately judge you on how you look. If you’re looking dapper with a new haircut and a freshly pressed uniform then you’ll be taking orders all day, like a boss. 2. Don’t go out the night before Seriously, Don’t. If it’s your mate’s 21st by all means go… But don’t bother heading to the Expo. Why? It’s extremely hard to stay on your feet all day while looking and sounding like a professional Travel Agent. Add being hungover and you just make us all look stupid and unprofessional – whisky breath does not sell travel. 3. Don’t be a negative jerk Image Source: Politico.com If it’s 2pm and you haven’t made a booking – guess what? It’s probably your fault, don’t start with: ‘the customers just aren’t booking today’ or ‘I keep getting stuck with information gatherers’. You know what won’t help? Standing around the printer, complaining like a little brat. If you don’t want to be there, go home and let the real Travel Agents work. 4. Make sure you’re tight with your Reps Yes that means every rep… This takes a little bit of forward planning, but you can still put in a bit of groundwork on the day. The airlines and tour companies put a lot of blood, sweat, tears and money into Travel Expo – and the reps are the ones who put it all on the line to secure bookings. If a customer wants to lock in a booking, these Reps are going to pass them to someone who knows their product and also knows how to secure the booking. Simply lurking around the APT stand with a clipboard won’t help. Prove you know your stuff and make it be known that you’re there to take deposits – not hand out brochures. 5. Get all of your appointments done BEFORE Expo He knows it… Preparation is everything… Experienced Travel Agents will have Expo bookings set up months in advance because they know that’s the best way to secure the best deals for their customers. These Agents wouldn’t ever actually invite these clients to the Expo. Why? Because most of the deals go live on Friday (sometimes earlier), this is our chance to have first crack at the specials for our VIP clients – it’s also our chance to clear our schedules on Expo day to pick up new customers. Travel Expo is an amazing tool to help our customers get the best deals, it’s also seen as an amazing opportunity to make lots and lots of bookings. Hopefully these tips will help, whether it’s your first (daunting) time or you’re a seasoned veteran who might need a little bit of motivation to get out of bed early on Sunday to book travel for some amazing people! Tune in next week for my tips on how customers can win at Expo! What are your top tips for succeeding at Travel Expo? Share your thoughts below. Other stories you may like WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO WIN THE AVIS SCHOLARSHIP & A FREE TRIP THIS YEAR? MORE $$$, HOLIDAYS & GREATER SUCCESS: HOW TRUE PERSONAL SERVICE PAYS OFF TRAVEL AGENTS VERSUS FLIGHT ATTENDANTS: WHO WORKS HARDER?