14 Feb 7 PROFESSIONAL SKILLS TODAY’S CORPORATE TRAVEL MANAGER NEEDS
THE CHANGING WORLD OF BUSINESS TRAVEL ADMINISTRATION
The travel industry has come a long way in recent years. A lagging economy has caused travel managers to become more innovative in the way they do business to ensure they can stay on top of the tourism industry. With all of the online travel sites available to potential consumers, those managers working in a travel agency need to find ways to improve their visibility and relevance so as to not lose their place in the travel world. To have a successful travel business, there are 8 essential skills every travel manager should possess.
THE ART OF NEGOTIATION
With websites offering unwanted rooms for a fraction of the cost in hotels across the globe, a travel manager needs to be able to negotiate with different businesses to be able to provide a competitive rate for their customer. You may need to be required to negotiate rates with a concession that their particular hotel or airline will be your first choice when setting up a travel package for a customer. The travel industry is a competitive one, so you need to be prepared to offer your best when haggling prices with potential partners.
This should be a given, to be a good leader, you should have a reasonable amount of leadership experience. Your employees need to be able to count on you when they encounter any obstacles booking an upcoming trip for a client. You need to be able to handle the stresses of overbooked hotels and dissatisfied customers so as to provide a good example for those that work under you.
KNOWLEDGE OF ALTERNATIVE TRAVEL
Not everyone wants to jump on a plane to get to their desired destination. You may encounter clients that are unable to fly due to health issues or anxiety related to flying. In these situations, you need to be able to offer your customers a wide variety of travel options to meet their needs. Once a popular form of transportation, trains are a unique option to offer your clients as a way to make it to their destination while still being able to see a part of the country otherwise missed 40,000 feet in the air.
With the changing world of online travel booking, a travel manager needs to possess a certain amount of technological know-how. You should familiarize yourself with the most updated travel industry technology so you can give your customer the best experience from booking their trip to making it back home. The technological aspect of the travel industry will only become more complicated in the years to come, so if you stay on top of it now, you will be more prepared for when that day comes.
SOCIAL MEDIA & MARKETING
You can’t just expect to put the name of your business in the yellow pages and hope to have customers coming in left and right. On the tail-end of the above skill, a travel manager should be aware of the advantages of social media marketing. This has become one of the best ways to get your business seen by as many walks of life as possible. It has become the new version of “word-of-mouth”. If you have one happy client, they will be more likely to share it on their social media network of choice along with a link to your business. This is free advertising at its best.
FINANCE & BUDGET KNOWLEDGE
Any successful manager, no matter what industry you work in, requires, at minimum, a basic knowledge regarding finance and budget. You will be more likely to turn a profit if you are familiar with the cost of running a business versus the amount of income you can generate from each vacation you book.
This doesn’t mean you just need to be able to hold a conversation, although that would be helpful. The United States are known as the melting pot for a reason. This country is full of people from different cultural backgrounds and they all possess a different language. If you can offer these potential clients the ease of working face to face with someone that not only understands but speaks their language as well, this will open you up to a whole other market.
As said before, the travel industry is a competitive one. To ensure your success above all others, you should cultivate as many skills as possible, not just the ones listed above. You want your clients to feel comfortable choosing you and your business to book their trip and you also want your employees to look up to you as well. Hand in hand, these can all result in a more lucrative outcome.
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