Matt Castell from Flight Centre is back and this week he’s shedding some light on a few phrases you as a travel agent should really avoid. To start off with, never ever address your clients as ‘mates’…

We’re a funny bunch, us Travel Agents.

We play by a different set of rules than most worker-bees and can’t really decide whether we’re corporate, retail, solicitors, meteorologists or life-coaches.

On some days we’re all of these things and other days we’re none because we’re grumpy, tired, hungover, jetlagged, behind on our targets or cheesed off because our favourite didn’t make it through the Rose Ceremony last night.

Keeping that in mind – there are few phrases I hear quite a bit around the traps that don’t do us any favors. So let’s just stop it okay?

 

1. I’m flat out right now

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Oh, did someone interrupt your day by wanting to book a holiday? Get real and learn that it sounds unprofessional and needy whether dropped onto a client or a colleague.

Nobody cares – do your job.

 

2. You won’t get that price when you want to travel

Okay, window boards and newspaper deals can definitely be a little misleading sometimes, but do you think starting out a relationship with your customer with a negative response is the best way forward? Try not to say no – how about suggesting a different time of year to travel instead?

 

3. Mate

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You’re not a bloody bartender; so don’t call your customer “mate”. Always address them professionally and ask before using only their first name.

Even younger clients will feel special and know they are dealing with a pro. Nice.

 

4. It’s around two grand

When you order pizza does the person give you a “roundabout” price? Nuh uh – why? Because it’s stupid – customers want clear and confident language, not wishy-washy maybes.

Guess who also gives clear prices? The Internet. Keep up or go home.

 

5. The Chinese Airlines

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Stop referring to any airline from the Far East as “Chinese Airlines”.

They are few and they are completely different. It’s true that some customers want to travel with certain airlines for culture fit and that‘s fair – but there are better ways to handle it though.

 

6. You’re going in high season

Is this phrase supposed to make your customer feel high class? Because it doesn’t.

Instead of blaming their ridiculous time of year to leave the country, why not tell them why?How about saying “the weather is amazing in Bali in July so more people want to be there, that’s why the cost is a little higher.”

 

7. I’ll get back to you in ten minutes

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You’re a liar and a jerk. How do you know what’s going to happen in the next ten minutes? You could get the dreaded “denied boarding” phone call or Mrs Jones with her shopping trolley and little Pomeranian and huge list of questions might pop in for her weekly visit.

While you’re trying to move her on, your customer is anxiously waiting by the phone wondering where they can find a new Travel Agent. Set a realistic time frame and follow through with it.

 

8. Oh, she’s a time-waster

Have you ever thought they didn’t book with you because you acted disinterested, smart-alecky and abrupt? I’ve seen these sorts of clients drop fifty-grand on a holiday with the newie consultant just because they gave them the time of day and put some effort in.

Remember that we’re not all the same; some people need to take their time and go through everything in detail before locking it in.

 

9. Do you have that in writing?

It’s no secret that the travel business is competitive. Of course our customers are going to shop around, so don’t act like a kid that just got the wrong video game for his birthday when they tell you they’ve seen a better price elsewhere.

Don’t take it personally, ask which website it’s from and look it up yourself – or let them walk out the door and never come back – it’s your choice.

Do you agree with Matt? What would you add to the list?