More from Travel Market Place East’s Return to Toronto
Travel agents, suppliers and industry luminaries returned to the Delta Hotel Toronto on Wednesday to participate in the second day of Travel Market Place East 2021.
“When the going gets tough, hardships kick in and I would say it’s our travel industry in Canada and around the world for the past 18 months,” ACTA’s Wendy Paradis said at a morning session.
On the main stage on Wednesday, Christen Perry, founder and owner of Classic Travel Connection, shared her firsthand account of how the pandemic has transformed her business, forcing her to switch to a paid model.
“The fees are something that I have been very excited about over the past year or so,” she said.
Perry’s journey to a paid apartment building has been a long one: She launched her agency in 2008 and learned the tools of the trade through “trial and error,” she said. She was able to make her agency a “high performing team” with 8 full-time employees and 22 more CIs.
Before the pandemic, Perry “was always curious about the fees”, but was also “one of those advisers who took great pride in not using the fees.”
She said there were three types of fear that kept her from taking the plunge: fear of losing customers, fear of losing income, and fear of failure. Then the pandemic struck.
“Then came 2020, a year I affectionately call a dumpster fire, and the dumpster fire has been repeated several times since,” she said. “I realized that I couldn’t continue to depend on the government to take care of me and my business.”
For Perry, it started by changing his mindset.
“We are all professionals, it’s time we were professionals, just like a doctor is a professional,” she said.
“We have to recognize it and live it in everything we do. We solve problems that our customers cannot solve on their own or that they do not want to solve on their own. We bring value to the lives of others. We may not even know the value we need.
Agents should think of their compensation this way: Commissions are the result of an agreement between you, your company, and your suppliers. Fees are compensation that you receive from your client when they choose to hire you. The fees are the result of an agreement between your client.
“Starting there can put you on the path to transforming your business,” added Perry.
The technological transformation of travel
The pandemic has moved so much forward not only in travel but in industries operating around the world. But in travel, which faces a crisis in consumer confidence right now, the pandemic has truly accelerated its technological transformation according to Fernando Amaral, Saber’s sales director.
“Travel preferences are turning into a predictable type of travel,” he said. “Travelers also want to customize vacation packages… offers that are fully tailored to their needs and interests.
Boost your emotional intelligence
Also on the main stage, Nikki Upshaw, Senior Vice President of Sales for Oceania Cruises, spoke about how emotional intelligence affects sales.
“There are so many books on emotional intelligence and I’m not going to start pretending to have read them all,” she said. “But being emotionally aware has been helpful in my career.”
There are five key facets of emotional intelligence according to Upshaw: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. Anyone can help advisors communicate with their clients.
For example, knowing how you deal with change (self-awareness and regulation) can help advisors stay calm when news, like new variations, disrupts business.
“The only constant is change, so how do you deal with change? Upshaw said.
“One of the best ways to deal with change is to know your tolerance for risk, but to focus on the things that you can control, something that is easier said than done,” he said. she adds.
“Our industry is the only one that must find a way to cope, adapt and respond to a global crisis and economic downturns.
We all get all of this and have to maneuver it for our clients and we can’t control any of those things. Instead of pressing that panic button, let’s hit the pause button. “