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AGENT HACKS: How to be a destination guru when you haven't been there

Being in the travel industry we are mostly well travelled, but let’s face it, we won’t have travelled everywhere (yet). Here's our Agent hacks on how to still sell unvisited destinations like a boss.

Being in the travel industry we are mostly well travelled, but let’s face it, we won’t have travelled everywhere (yet). Here’s our Agent hacks on how to still sell unvisited destinations like a boss.

So how can you sell a destination like a guru without having stepped foot in the place?

I remember selling my first customer to South Africa. I had never been before, so when a couple came in asking I put together their perfect African holiday, I grabbed a brochure and fumbled through the pages, eyes like a hawk quickly regurgitating the information I saw in front of me on those pages.

I knew flights went into Johannesburg, and of a place called Kruger National Park was somewhere to go game viewing, but that was the extent of it. I always found it hard to sell destinations I had never travelled to. Fast forward 10 years and after multiple trips to Africa, I am an expert. Ask me now to book someone a trip to Africa and you will have me telling them where is the best place to grab a sunset Windhoek beer, where to buy the best biltong and how much you should barter down to for the local handicrafts.

First-hand knowledge is great, and in many case will hands down win a client over. So how can you still seal the deal on those bookings to places you have never been before? Knowledge.

You can know a destination without having been there, it all comes down to knowing your stuff. Doing that is easier than you think, with many resources now available for agents to learn and get in the know.


Tourism Boards

Tourism NT brings a camel to Sydney

Use the tourism boards, that is what they are there for. Many have kick arse websites that are interactive and user friendly. They are packed with destination information, useful tips and some even have handy itinerary planning tools. Allocate some time to go on and learn as much as you can about a destination.


Product nights & events

NZ tourism - karryon

We all love a good roadshow, and while the drinks and nibblers are a bonus, they are a fantastic way to learn about not only a destination but the operators and wholesalers who are selling it. For this reason alone, it is worth getting along to as many events and product nights as possible, as the networking opportunities are endless. Better still, you could even win a prize to go experience the place for yourself.


Wholesalers & sales reps


You talk to them on the phone daily, and your wholesalers are the best when recommending hotels, tours and what to do in a destination as they do it daily. You will find most are experts in the destination as they are well trained professionals and can give the best advise. Take note of what they tell you for future.


Training seminars & webinars

TC training

There are a number of training programs, seminars and webinars available online. Many tourism boards, wholesalers and companies have travel agent portals where you can gain valuable information through training.


Famils & educationals

Venture Holidays famil

Ok, so this is cheating because you are actually getting to the destination, but line yourself up to be invited on famils or educationals. If you find there is a destination you are getting a lot of enquiry about and have not been, source out who can fit you onto a trip there. They are a fantastic way to learn about a destination, and lets face it, great fun too.

With all these tools at your fingertips there is no reason you can’t close a booking by not knowing the destination.

Have you got a handy tip on how you sell a destination you haven’t been to?