Creating The Most Effective Profile — What’s a Must to Include

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

A link to your profile is sent to every client we connect you with – so make sure to make it memorable, compelling, and complete!Welcome to my profile

A Tripologist profile is comprised of 6 areas:

1. Business Description — Ensure your business description is complete and up to date, including your phone number(s), website, email address, and social media handles

2.   About Me – Personal Statement
Successful Trioologists include the following information in their personal statements:

  • Experience
  • Areas of specialization
  • Destinations, type of travel or both
  • Examples of where you have been and what you have done
  • Reasons why a customer should book a trip with you!
  • Eliminate typos and stay away from using CAPITAL letters

3.  Photo or Company Logo
Make sure you include a photo in your profile. It helps build a connection with the client. Here are some tips for including a photo in your profile:

  • Ensure that your photo showcases professionalism
  • SMILE!
  • Let your photo demonstrate what your specialty is. Cruise specialist? Show a photo of yourself on a ship. Scuba diving specialist? Show a photo of yourself in full scuba gear. Greece specialist? Show a photo of yourself in front of the Acropolis!
  • Use a photo that’s clear (not blurry) and of high quality and resolution

4.  Specialization
Successful Tripologists focus on specific areas of specializations to get the best leads that are ideal for them and increase their close rates. Whether your specialty is focusing on one or a few destinations or on a type of trip, we suggest that you pick up to three specialties that you’re truly passionate about. Consumers who come to Tripology for trip assistance are looking for true specialists with extensive experience and expertise.

Tips to consider when determining your specialty:

  • Select destinations or travel type that you’re truly passionate about
  • Feature cities within the regions that you specialize in. For example, if you’re a Western Europe specialist, also feature a country like France and cities like Paris, Nice and St Tropez

5.  Accreditations & Affiliations
This area of your profile showcases any training programs you might have taken or special affiliations you belong to. Examples of programs include destinations and supplier specialist programs. Examples of special affiliations are if you’re a member of organizations like ASTA, NACTA, CLIA, or The Travel Institute. You can also say if you’re a member of the Better Business Bureau in this section of your profile.

6. Memberships
If your agency is part of a consortium or a host agency, feature that membership in this section of your profile.

Remember that we are on-hand to help you at any to help you create a profile that entices your target customers. Contact us today at (800) 924-0722 or email us at contact@tripology.com to have your profile reviewed by our team.

What Travel Agents Can Learn from Uber

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

What Travel Agents Can Learn from Uber

I have been a long-time fan of Uber; the app/company which offers private car service. uber logoEnter your location, the app shows you which cars are in the area and how long it will take to pick you up, press enter and wait for a few minutes. The driver shows up, picks you up and drives you to your destination. Easy right? As I’ve always said, “It’s really hard to make something easy.”

First, the app.
Put simply, it’s amazing. The map shows you where the car is, how far it is from you, how long it will take to get to you and it gives you a number of ways to communicate with the driver (call or text). While you’re waiting, it shows you where the car is exactly. When you join, you enter your credit card so you’ll never have to deal with having to find your card or pay cash during your ride. Plus, the tip is automatically included; 20%, which I find reasonable. Why? Because the service is almost always excellent.

Next, the options.
You can pick UberX (cars like a Toyota Camry), Uber (black towncar) and Uber SUV (yes, you guessed it, SUVs when you need room for luggage, etc.) All three have different price ranges and, for the most part, service levels. With Uber and Uber SUV, the driver gets out to greet you and gets out to help you in/out of the car. With UberX, they stay in the car. The drivers are always polite, the cars are all equipped with GPS (via smartphone), the cars are always clean (once or twice had a bit too much air freshener, but my nose is sensitive) and in good condition. After the ride, you get to rate the driver. Only good drivers get to stay as Uber drivers. The best part, according to one of my Uber drivers, is they get to rate the customers. “There’s one lady on the upper east side I’ll never pick up,” one Uber drive mentioned.

My cousin in New York said she loved Uber but wouldn’t use it in NYC when taxis are so readily available. Just today I thought, she’s right and I jumped into a taxi. Ugh, the ride was much less than ideal. Earlier this week, when I was getting into my Uber car, a taxi driver screamed at me “they’re gonna rip you off – they’re expensive.” My retort? “It’s not about price. It’s about service. I’ll take service over price any time.”

At the end of the day, Uber will cost you more than a taxi, but the value is always there. Have you *taken* a NYC taxi ride lately? I’m sorry, but it’s not a very pleasant experience. Go ahead, call me spoiled. However, Uber cars are new, clean, roomy and don’t sound like they’re going to fall apart (I’ve not had one Uber ride where I saw the “check engine” light on.) The drivers are polite and, well, showered. I’m not bombarded with screaming TV screens and the drivers don’t speed like Mario Andretti. Sure, I’ve generalized and not every NYC taxi ride is horrific, but I’ve been taking NYC taxis for decades and they’ve never been great. Uber has brought civility back to car transportation.

So, what can travel agents learn from Uber? A lot. Uber knows to beat the taxi system, an inherently less expensive service, they’d have to *nail* service. The same goes for travel agents. Booking directly with an airline, hotel or even cruise line is easy and it’s only getting easier. So, you have to nail customer service. Moderately good customer service won’t cut it. If you can’t offer the very best in service each and every time, get out of the travel agent business. If you tell someone you’re going to call them in five minutes, call them in four. If you say you’ll have the quote ready tomorrow at noon, provide it at 11:45 a.m. Better yet, ask the customer when they want the quote and if it’s reasonable, get it to them sooner.

You’d be surprised; they likely don’t want it in five minutes. No matter what, under promise and over deliver, every time. Offer services consumers would never get anyplace else. Send them flowers on their birthday. Shoot them a note during their trip saying “Just checking in to see if everything is okay.” Do this enough, build a reputation and I assure you, people won’t look to book anyplace else.

– John Peters, President of USA TODAY Travel Media Group

Agent Testimonial: Lee Pettyjohn

Friday, April 4th, 2014

We’re excited to share a testimonial from Tripologist Lee Pettyjohn, the owner of Unlimited Destinations. We asked Lee to share her experience using Tripology. Here is what she has to say:

“I am the agency owner of Unlimited Destinations, currently with seventeen independent agents. I have been in the travel industry for total roughly seven years. I initially worked as a home-based reservationist with American Airlines. A year later I started working as a part time travel specialist, training primarily and learning the industry.

I began purchasing Tripology leads in June 2009. It took some time to learn how important it was to respond to the requests from potential clients quickly, thoroughly, and of course professionally. Over the past four years, I have to say, I am ‘sold’ on the Tripology lead source!

A lot of my time as an agency owner is spent training and marketing the business, or my sales would be substantially higher I’m sure. Three years ago, I purchased a lead for a mere $1.25. My commission for that booking was over $500 and each and every year I book that same client twice a year!

I would say that is a huge return on a very small ‘investment’!

My total gross sales exceeds $300,000 with lead purchases and client referrals! I have tried other lead sources, but have found Tripology to be the best by far! My business wouldn’t be what it is today without Tripology!”

If you are ready to grow your travel business like Lee, click here to register and create your Tripology profile.

If you’re currently a Tripology agent interested in fine tuning your profile contact a Relationship Manager by calling 800-924-0722 or send an email to contact@tripology.com.

Tripology is Looking for Weekend Getaway Experts!

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Tripology is looking for weekend getaway experts!

Are you a weekend getaway expert?

Calling all weekend getaway planning experts!

Tripology, in partnership with USA TODAY Travel Media Group, is looking for the ultimate weekend getaway travel expert. Do you consider yourself an authority in planning exciting trips within less than three nights? If so, you may be selected as a USA Today Travel Media Weekend Travel Specialist.

To get started, send us an email to weekends@tripology.com describing your experience as a weekend travel planner and tell us why you are the ideal weekend getaway expert. Selected agents will become the go-to weekend getaway experts that USA Today will quote and include as sources in Weekend Travel articles.

It’s the opportunity of a lifetime!

– Team Tripology

Tripology + USA TODAY = Business for you!

Looking for new clients?

Tripology by USA TODAY is the answer.

I’ve been telling you about Tripology for years. Now more than ever before, Tripology is your source for finding new clients.

I love travel agents; they’re strong, determined, and unwavering in these days of online booking, agent bypass, and all the other things many people said would destroy the distribution channel. Sure, we’ve lost a lot of travel agents in America, but the strong ones have survived. Many agency storefronts have closed, but the best agents have taken their best customers and are serving them either from store front locations or from their home offices. Online booking has shifted “commodity” bookings away from agents and you know what, that’s fine. So, what’s next? Growth…More customers…Better customers…Customers who spend more money and demand good service – Enter Tripology.

Tripology was acquired by USA TODAY last year and we recently re-launched the company’s website to be cleaner, faster, and even more useful to consumers and to our Tripologists. Of course, the biggest benefit is USA TODAY’s consumer reach that brings even more highly-qualified leads to our registered travel agents.

Simply said, USA TODAY Travel reaches millions of travelers every day in print, online, via apps, social media and more. USA TODAY Travel is one of the top five most popular travel sites on the Internet. In addition, USA TODAY Travel content appears across Gannett’s 75+ local newspapers and 45 TV stations as well as via their respective websites. Our other acquisition of 2013, 10Best.com, is a travel site dedicated to “best of” travel lists. Across all of these outlets, channels and websites, Tripology is featured as a way to help consumers as they plan their travel. This is where you come in.

With exposure to millions of travel planning consumers, the trip requests are flowing through to Tripology and are yours for the taking. If you tried Tripology in the past, and have not used it in a while, it’s time to come back. If you haven’t tried Tripology ever before, now is the time to do so. Get your profile reviewed by one of our Relationship Managers today!

– John T. Peters, President of USA TODAY Travel Media Group