It’s the nature of the biz; the travel industry is a social industry and one that depends on major functions to connect with and educate partners on products and destinations. Our calendars can become overrun with events – breakfast, lunch and dinner – which is a big time investment. So how can you maximize return? We’ve put together this helpful tip sheet to help.
1. Before you go, decide if it has any professional value.
Sure, it’s great to see your industry colleagues over hors d'oeuvres and a few cocktails, all for the small price of listening to a supplier deliver a presentation. But is that enough to warrant you attend all events? The short answer is absolutely not. Before committing, consider if the focus of any given event aligns with your objectives as a travel advisor. If you don’t sell the featured destination or product, your RSVP should be an automatic “no.
2. Be on time.
This is pretty straightforward. The “industry clock” may suggest that showing up to an event anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes late makes us on time, but that sort of mentality is exactly the reason why things don’t often go according to plan. Respect the time and effort of your hosts, not to mention the time of those who made an effort to show up as requested.
3. Take notes.
While your host is presenting their value proposition and key points of interest, take notes as something you can reference when looking back at the event. This will also prove a useful resource so you can relay any important information back to your colleagues at the office the next day, as well as have the latest updates on-hand when clients are seeking information about said product or destination.
Theoretically, you are attending these events as an opportunity for professional development and grow your sales. Take advantage of the opportunity to introduce yourself to the event hosts, business development managers and other key people who will prove valuable to your network. You can’t put a value on having a direct link to these individuals who will be happy to do you favours as you grow your business by helping them grow theirs.
5. Be respectful.
Remember that events are professional opportunities with the primary purpose of educating you; while there are social elements, they are not meant to be a substitute for your night out with friends. Suppliers invest a lot of money in these functions, with the intention that you will soak in the information and go back to your office in the morning better prepared to sell whatever they are offering. All that in mind, be quiet and respectful during presentations. If the buffet opens while presentations are ongoing, wait until your host is done his or her speech. Same goes if your glass runs dry – you’ll be fine to wait before grabbing your next cocktail.
This piece was brought to you by Air Canada, as part of the airline’s ongoing efforts to support travel agents. ACTA members click here to access Air Canada’s ACTA Training program for agencies.