Thursday, September 6, 2007

Are You the Perfect Travel Agency?

As long as you offer reasonable rates to your clients, you are in a level playing field. Incorporating a credit card processor in your business, however, may require you to ask for higher fees. Same goes if you are using the services of a high risk merchant account provider. The good thing about these third party processors is that they can process your clients' credit cards securely. Moreover, a high risk merchant account provider can be a great help to start-ups who get refused by domestic banks.

As your business grows eventually, your provider will be able to process high volume payments as well.

Many people look at a travel agency's worth by its ability to deal with mistakes in arrangements. This truth may be shocking to some, especially to start-up agencies. But if you look closely, the travel agencies that can handle customer troubles are the ones most likely to survive in this high risk industry. Unbeknownst to many travel merchants, smart clients usually seek for references from third parties which can provide positive or negative feedbacks. Do you measure up?

The mention of a successful travel agency is almost a cliche. Everywhere you look in the Internet, tips on how to become a success in this competitive arena abound, but most are difficult to put into action. Some travel agencies are unscrupulous whose only goal is to make money, not repeat customers. Here is a quick checklist to find out if your travel agency hits the mark:

  • License/Accreditation – Although anyone can call himself a travel agent in the United States, many customers look at your credentials for proof of professionalism. Owning a license makes them feel secure that they are dealing with a genuine travel agency. Travel agencies need not be accredited by the ARC or other airline corporations in order to sell products. In some countries such as the UK though, accreditation gives travel agencies a good reputation and thus earn more trust from clients.

  • Customer Service – Travel agents should work on behalf of their clients. Are your travel agents qualified professionals? Are they accessible in times of emergencies? As a matter of fact, travel agents need not be fully knowledgeable but must have the initiative to ask information from their clients and archive the information for future use. Also, specific client needs should be assigned to travel agents who handle those needs exclusively. For example, clients who look for good vacation deals should consult with an agent that handles vacation packages. She does not have to be an expert in the vacation spot but may know what hotels are best to book or what prices the client can best afford.

  • Equipment – Small travel agencies are equipped with basic office tools while bigger agencies may have more sophisticated hardware and software in-house. In my opinion, travel agents can work best if they have an abundance of networks to help them find good deals for their clients. The true equipment is the stock of knowledge and the ability to hunt down the perfect travel package through human resource.

  • Rates – As long as you offer reasonable rates to your clients, you are in a level playing field. Incorporating a credit card processor in your business, however, may require you to ask for higher fees. Same goes if you are using the services of a high risk merchant account provider. The good thing about these third party processors is that they can process your clients' credit cards securely. Moreover, a high risk merchant account provider can be a great help to start-ups who get refused by domestic banks. As your business grows eventually, your provider will be able to process high volume payments as well.

Travel agencies enjoy tremendous growth in profit these days with the help of the Internet. In fact, most bookings are now done online. Brick and mortar travel agencies argue that they can provide better customer service than online agencies do. In any case, a travel agency can prove its worth by having all these elements I have listed here, and perhaps more.


MORE TRAVEL AGENCY MERCHANT ACCOUNT TIPS:

The Whys and Hows of Travel Merchant Account Application


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