Friends in the Travel Business
- Written by Philip Banks
Developing a friendly relationship with a supplier allows a travel agent exposure to up and coming resorts and offers that someone outside the industry wouldn't have contact with. Often times a resort manager will provide a travel agent's clients with free upgrades on their vacation because of a close friendship between the agent and manager. New offers, rooms or cruises that have not yet been marketed to the public may be accessible to a travel agent due to his relationship with the cruise line or resort. The travel agent's customer reaps the benefits of a friendship between the agent and supplier in the form of discounts, offers and upgrades.
A close friendship between the travel agent and supplier allows them to share a common goal of great vacation plans and a happy customer. The supplier takes a vested interest in the satisfaction of the client because of the friendship he or she has with the travel agent. The travel agent and supplier can have lengthy conversations on what the client would enjoy and how they can best service the client to exceed expectation. Since the supplier wants to keep an ongoing professional and personal relationship with the travel agent, he or she will work hard to achieve the goal of a satisfied customer and a wonderful vacation.
A travel agent provides the customer with an "in" to the travel industry. This allows more choices for vacation destinations and discounts. A person who is booking a vacation online is seen by the resort manager as a faceless tourist who is staying at the resort for a few nights. A travel agent has the ability to make a friendly phone call to the resort manager to inform him or her of the client's upcoming travel plans. The resort manager can make a note of the client's name and their dates of stay and can offer resort events, upgrades or discounts whenever possible. The personal relationship that an agent has with the supplier can allow the customer to be treated with more care and kindness. The resort owner wants to make sure the customer will have a glowing report of the resort so their friendship and business relationship with the agent can continue to grow strong.
The deep relationships that travel agents form with fellow industry professionals can be risky. When the lines of business and pleasure are blurred, sometimes feelings can be hurt by the choices that are made. Agents have the job of choosing the best vacation for the client while keeping all suppliers happy. Travel agents know that by nurturing their relationships with all suppliers and considering everyone's feelings, they are benefiting the clients by keeping the vacation options open. They work hard to maintain and develop these friendships in the industry because their clients can be offered more opportunities for upgrades and special experiences.
The connections and friendships that a travel agent has in the industry can lead to perks for his or her clients. Suppliers take a rooted interest in the satisfaction of the client because of their history and bond with the travel agent. Suppliers can sometimes go out of their way to ensure an outstanding vacation for customers of an agent they are close with. Although making lasting friendships in the travel industry may be risky for travel agents, they know the benefits their clients can see from these relationships. Agents work hard to nurture their relationships and keep suppliers happy. A travel agent's client can experience more care and kindness throughout their vacation experience because of the friendships their agent has developed. Suppliers like to make their travel agent friends happy and they relate to the common goal of a satisfying vacation for the client.