Enhancing the experience of agents is top of mind for companies at the forefront of the travel industry, with their efforts recognised at Saturday’s National Travel Industry Awards.
Speaking to KarryOn in the aftermath of their NTIA wins, both Trafalgar and Helloworld revealed ways they are upping the ante for agents.
Helloworld head of branded network Julie Primmer credited the group’s “amazing agents and team” as being behind its triumph in the Best Travel Agency Group category.
She highlighted the company’s investment in training those agents, with initiatives such as helloYou, helloTeam and helloScholarSHIP.
“We’ve been busy,” Primmer said.
The last 12 months has seen the company focus on segmentation and profiling to build members’ businesses, strategic sponsorships and the world’s first Instagram relay.
“We’ve continued to focus on enhancing our agents’ experience – they know that they are our absolute focus,” Primmer continued.
“Being named Best Travel Agency Group capped a wonderful year.”
While Primmer acknowledged terrorism and fluctuating consumer confidence as major challenges, she remains upbeat.
“Our approach has been to identify ways for our agents to showcase the value of dealing with an experienced travel agent,” she said.
“Now more than ever, we have a great opportunity to highlight the value of a travel agent, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) to do exactly that.”
Trafalgar, which was named Best International Tour Operator, echoed the concerns over terrorism and fluctuating consumer confidence.
“Our industry has gone through a pretty extraordinary time over the last 18 months,” managing director Matt Cameron-Smith told KarryOn.
“It’s how you respond – are you nimble? Are you flexible?”
He stressed that the trade is “everything” for the guided holiday operator with the business built on its relationships with its trade partners.
As a result, the company is committed to “delivering value back to our partners”.
Back in September, the company launched live reviews on its website giving agents access to unedited opinions of its tours. There are now more than 13,000 live reviews on the site.
“I think it’s really become an important selling tool for agents,” Cameron-Smith said.
“Agents can go there and read several hundred reviews of a single trip and really use that as a way to instill confidence in their clients.
When times are a little unpredictable, it’s important to travel with a brand that you know and trust so building trust with our agent partners is really critical for us.”
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