By Matt Castell @MattCastell07 Dec 2015If you’re a Travel Agent then you truly know the meaning of the word ‘competition’. Here are seven ways to take your skills to the next level to ‘wow’ your clients… It’s no secret that our customers don’t actually need us to go on holiday – so not only do we compete with a barrage of retail agency chains and home-based agents with decades of experience – we also face the possibility that sometimes people just want to do it all themselves. If you want to make it (and thrive) as a Travel Agent, then you’ll need to skill up and make yourself indispensible – and no, that doesn’t just mean beating the Internet by a dollar. So here are a few ways you can stand apart from the crowd… 1. Make sure your clients book at the right time I know we don’t all have a crystal ball, but there ARE some pretty bang-on booking patterns throughout the year. Earlybird fares to Europe for example; if I had a customer wanting to pay in August then I’d ask them to wait until late September when the sales to start. Nobody likes seeing his or her fare drop by $750 overnight. 2. Meals and seating preferences This one may seem obvious, but by putting that little bit of extra effort in shows that you care. Most airlines even offer kids meals now, but they do need to be pre-requested. Happy kids on a plane = happy parents on a plane. After you’ve sorted that why not have a quick look on Seat Guru for the best seats in the house? 3. Hook up some free pocket money Free money you say? It’s a well-hidden fact that Singapore Airlines supplies our clients with $40SGD ($39AUD) just for flying with them further than Singapore. It can even be swapped for a lounge pass, which will make your customers transit a little more luxurious than their mates who aren’t in-the-know. 4 . Get your clients paid if they’re delayed Another little-known gem is that your customers can be financially compensated if their flights in/out of Europe are delayed or cancelled. You can help put up to €600pp back in their pockets – that’s enough to book another trip with you! 5. The free domestic side-trip trick This is an oldie – but a goodie. Most international airfares offer free or subsidized sectors to and from regional airports that they don’t offer service to. The obvious reason being that they need their customers to get to bigger airports like Sydney or Melbourne to use them. Good agents can get pretty creative with these add-ons. Don’t stop at Canberra or Hobart – New Zealand is even an option. You better be handy on your GDS though – this trick needs some old school moves. 6. Get them a table at your favorite restaurant All well-heeled agents will know a load of great places to eat around the world. Whether you discovered a new gem on a recent famil to KL or simply stumbled across a joint packed with locals in Brooklyn – it’s knowledge like this that the Internet can’t provide. So up the ante and offer to book your customers a table. You never know – if you send them a lot of business you might get hooked up with a few drinks the next time you stop by! 7. Sign up for Qantas frequent flyer points for free Save your customers $89.50 and start them on their journey as frequent (loyal) travellers. Qantas currently has a free sign-up offer valid until Dec 31st. Take it to the next level and offer to do it for them. It honestly takes about three minutes and you can immediately add their numbers to their flights they just booked with you (and not the lazy agent across the street). What’s your top skill you use to ‘wow’ your clients? Other stories you may like NTIA 2018: Win FLIGHTS, see a CELEBRITY & more things Agents can expect GLOBAL STARS GOSS: Kylie Minogue won’t be there BUT here’s 5 things that will GOING SOUTH: Come on Agents, here’s your last chance to WIN a trip to PERU!