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Managing a travel agency, especially in recent times, has not been an undemanding role. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or simply want a bit of advice, take a look at the following advice for managing a travel agency:
- Buy insurance
- Invest in a CRM system
- Look after your staff
- Focus on your niche
- Be aware of the entire industry
There are a couple types of insurance that you should take advantage of when managing a travel agency. Scheduled airline failure insurance, also known as SAFI, covers you if the airline you’ve booked with goes into administration.
ATOL protection is another insurance you should consider. It stands for Air Travel Organiser’s Licence and is a UK financial scheme that protects most air package holidays sold by travel agencies. If you sell package holidays, this is essential.
Another key insurance that you’ll need to have when managing a travel agency is travel agents liability insurance. This is cover to protect the insured (you) against damages sought for death, injury or damage to property against tour and travel agents. This list of insurance is not exhaustive but you should consider the types proposed as essential and then shop around to see if you’d have any more peace of mind from other insurances.
Invest in a CRM system
This second point is dependent on the size of your travel agency at present. You’re a large travel agency with more than 50 employees, it is hard to imagine that you’ve become so established without some way of managing your customer relationships.
For travel agencies that are on the up, say growing from 6+ employees or more, it’s time to start thinking about an appropriate CRM system. Benefits of having a CRM specialised for travel agencies means that you’ll be able to have a management system that works around your business.
In terms of CRM systems, you’ll need to find a dynamic CRM system. In the service and leisure industry customers come first. Therefore, managing your relationships with them is essential for proper travel agency management.
A dynamic CRM system should have a number of tools and integrations for making all your CRM needs easy. A VoIP system could be considered essential as you’ll need to be contacting people on an international basis. Lead management is also necessary when handling a large volume of customers. Lastly, a good CRM system will take advantage of AI so that more of the grunt work is handled and your team can concentrate on more challenging tasks.
Look after your staff
Staff is the lifeblood of a company. Managers frequently debate over if customers or employees come first. A customer-orientated approach is helpful but this has to be delivered by your staff. Bit of a chicken and the egg situation.
There are a number of ways you can look after your staff. Giving them the minimums such as annual leave, fair pay and room to grow is expected.
Benefits, or non-essential things you can do for your staff, will increase your staff retention and their happiness. Benefits that are proven to help are usually tangible ones. Simply saying you have a great culture isn’t enough. Your travel agency should real staff benefits such as charity leave, physical rewards and well-being schemes such as cycling to work or private healthcare.
Focus on your niche
This is becoming quite a Cliche in the business world but it is still true. If you’ve taken the time to look at this article, you’re likely not the manager of one of the more established and sizable travel agencies. Therefore, small and medium-sized businesses still need to focus on their niche in order to remain competitive.
The world of travel is starting to pick up again post pandemic. With less restrictions on travel, the world is returning to a new normal. Now that there is the platform for travel agencies to be successful, particularly ones born out of the ashes of the pandemic, it’s a great time to pick a niche and dominate it.
Finding your niche boils down to finding what issue your business is passionate about solving. This is not always obvious so what you should do is take some time to think. Think about what most frustrates you in the travel industry and push your business to have no part in what creates that frustration.
Be aware of the entire industry
Keeping an ear to the ground can bring many benefits. When an industry is turbulent, as the travel industry has been for some time, having as much information as possible can only be a strength.
Staying informed with your industry is not always straightforward. Reading an established news analyst, such as the Financial Times, is helpful to see what the world thinks about topical issues and is relatively easy to do.
Something less straightforward is developing a network of other travel agency managers that you can talk to candidly for mutual help and advice. While it’s not easy to establish this sort of circle, having or even paying to be in one can be a massive advantage to your business and management style. One thing you need to be aware of is groupthink and the best way to avoid it is making sure you form your own opinions and don’t have one source for your thoughts.
This article was written by Zac on behalf of Datalyse, the integrated CRM platform, locating the work of many applications into one.