Promote your Professionalism: It’s not all about you…

In the world of customer service and marketing, who’s Number One?

I’ll give you a hint… it’s not you.

You’ve got a killer marketing opportunity: A free ad in the community paper, an opportunity to include a free flyer at the local mall, or someone’s loaned you their database for a once-off mailshot.

It’s time to pick the perfect product to market. Of course, you’ve just been to Paris and you really loved it so without blinking you put together the perfect Paris package, print 5 000 flyers and wait for the phones to ring.

Have you stopped to ask yourself: “Am I giving my customers what they want? Or what I like and want?”

Resist the urge to impose your values, beliefs and preferences on your customer and define clearly who they are, and what makes them tick before making any marketing or sales decision.

Clearly profiling your existing and prospective customers is one of the keys to ensuring you truly resonate with your customers prompting to buy from someone who knows them, someone they trust.

The better you hit that bullseye, the more meaningful the message and with that a loyalty that you would not necessarily have cultivated with a shotgun marketing approach.

Here are some handy tips on how to profile them:

Demographics: Age, gender, race, income, education, family status
Geography: Residence, work location, recreation area
Behaviour: Planner, impulse buyer, frequency of holiday, date of travel, where they source information
Attitude: Likes, dislikes, interests, preferences, values, most pressing needs, preferred contact medium

Cluster those individuals who share a common need your travel company can satisfy. What does their attitude tell you about the services you need to provide? What does their behavior tell you about the type of marketing they need?

Then tailor your pitch to meet their needs. Remember it’s not important what you want and what you think they will respond to. Getting them to trust you means they have to be sure you understand what they need (not what you need) and deliver on it!

That’s the secret of being a 21st century travel agent…

Thinking about attending the 2015 ASATA Conference?

02Insight, thought leadership and networking – a sneak preview of what to expect this year in Durbs!

You asked, and we have listened. The 2015 annual ASATA Conference, scheduled from 22 to 25 May at the Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani Hotel in Durban, will deliver more insightful views, more thought leadership and many more opportunities to network.

With the theme of the 21st Century Travel Agent firmly underpinning the conference, delegates will be given strategic insight and practical tools to further ensure their business’ success in the 21st Century.

Day 1 will see delegates enjoying a keynote address from a leading South African banker who was instrumental in changing the business model of a very successful South African brand followed by the release of ASATA’s exclusive Thought Leadership Paper on the 21st century Travel Agent.

The paper is the culmination of months of industry research among strategic and operational visionaries in South Africa’s travel sector and aimed at investigating the current retail travel business model, whether it is sustainable and if/how it has to change to ensure the continued success of South Africa’s travel industry.

A panel discussion, featuring leaders from every area of South Africa’s travel sector, will unpack the finer details of the paper and the insights of a political economy analyst will paint a picture of how the travel industry sits within the wider South African and international context.

What better way to assess our readiness to satisfy our customer needs in the 21st century than ask our customers? Day 2 sees delegates heading from a range of consumer profiles on how the TMC should segment and focus on its customers’ needs with breakaway sessions scheduled to provide delegates with insights in to customer relations and Big Data and its role in customer loyalty.

A world-renowned travel expert will address the future relationship between suppliers and intermediaries with further breakaway sessions scheduled around Business Transformation.

A special Young Professionals in Travel stream will be held for our new ASATA chapter, promising leadership and development tips, insight in to industry trends, and whole a lot of networking.

If this little taste of what’s in-store excites you, keep an eye out for the full agenda with some great surprises or visit http://satravelagents.co.za/conf2015/index.html for more details and register today!

 

Travel Counsellors South Africa joins ASATA fold

JOHANNESBURG, MARCH 2015 – Home-based travel agency group Travel Counsellors and its 143 agents have this week officially joined the Association of Southern African Travel Agents (ASATA) as members.

The group comprises travel professionals who have consultancy experience in the travel industry and supports home-based Travel Counsellors with such services as marketing, training, technology, emergency contact and supplier deals, among others.

Travel Counsellors South Africa General Manager Mladen Lukic says the decision to become ASATA members is the result of the two parties having reached common ground on the group’s model. “We have always supported the value of ASATA and even joined the association in 2007. Our decision to leave ASATA was at the time due to a different points of view of retail travel segmentation.”

Supportive of ASATA’s role to foster compliance within the travel sector, Mladen says Travel Counsellors believes it is more important for businesses to work within the system. “Travel Counsellors have specific views that we want to air and we feel ASATA is the correct platform through which to do this instead of airing our views externally,” he said.

Welcoming Travel Counsellors’ decision to return to the ASATA fold, ASATA CEO Otto De Vries says: “The move serves to strengthen our industry at large and contributes to our efforts to promote the professionalism of the retail travel industry. “The addition of Travel Counsellors’ voice to that of ASATA’s will enhance our efforts to resolve issues that are impacting our industry at present.”

To truly ‘experience’ your business travel – talk to your ASATA agent!

In this month’s Business Traveller, check out our ASATA column on business travel becoming a lifestyle…

Good news just in! The new business traveller isn’t all work and no play. Today’s Sky Warrior, or Road Warrior, depending on your preferred mode of transport, likes to benefit from experiential perks during work-related trips, such as access to spas, top restaurants and cultural events.

Industry research firm Skift says while business travellers are becoming increasingly productive, they’re also putting more time aside to immerse themselves in their business travel destinations. They’re experience seekers who use business travel as an excuse to explore something new and expand their horizons.

And it’s not surprising that they’re adopting this approach as companies increasingly recognise that work is no longer a place, it is in fact an experience. The anytime, anywhere nature of our jobs today has changed the way we look at our worklife and influenced how we as business travellers inject destination experiences that suit us in to our business travel and in doing so enhance our productivity, change our thinking and enable us to engage and network with our peers on a much greater level.

Yes, business travel is quickly emerging as a lifestyle.

Once dreaded, the prospect of business travel today is an opportunity to expand your horizons, with technological advancements and traveller-friendly facilities like docking stations, cocktail bars, in-flight WiFi, mobile check-in, etc enabling business travellers to be more efficient and use the time saved more effectively, to make every minute count.

Global airport lounge access organisation Priority Pass also highlights this trend saying benefits like lounge access and concierge services are increasing among business travellers, while the importance once given to perks such as flying business class and staying in higher-star-rated hotels is diminishing.

The study also says business travellers prefer to keep their travel benefits to use when going on holiday with their families, and appreciate preferential seating with their families during leisure time.  Frequent business travellers are said to be more engaged than leisure travellers in seeking experience-led holidays.

So are these the benefits you, wearing your business traveller hat, are looking for? Or do you have a whole other set of preferences when it comes to business and leisure travel? Chat to your ASATA travel consultant to get you the travel perks that will make your business travel heart sing, while ensuring you stay within the peremeters of your corporate travel policy.

Of course, you can make your own bookings and select a hotel with WiFi, concierge services and a lobby. However, your TMC will look beyond free WiFi, and will ensure that outlets and connectivity ports for laptops and mobile devices are available throughout the chosen hotel. Your consultant will make sure there is a space in the lobby where you can meet up with colleagues to run through a power point presentation, or that the hotel’s loyalty programme includes perks that appeal to you specifically.

In short, you ASATA travel consultant can make sure you have the stress-free, customised and streamlined travel experience you’ve been asking for.

To truly ‘experience’ your business travel – talk to your ASATA agent!

In this month’s Business Traveller, check out our ASATA column on business travel becoming a lifestyle…

Good news just in! The new business traveller isn’t all work and no play. Today’s Sky Warrior, or Road Warrior, depending on your preferred mode of transport, likes to benefit from experiential perks during work-related trips, such as access to spas, top restaurants and cultural events.

Industry research firm Skift says while business travellers are becoming increasingly productive, they’re also putting more time aside to immerse themselves in their business travel destinations. They’re experience seekers who use business travel as an excuse to explore something new and expand their horizons.

And it’s not surprising that they’re adopting this approach as companies increasingly recognise that work is no longer a place, it is in fact an experience. The anytime, anywhere nature of our jobs today has changed the way we look at our worklife and influenced how we as business travellers inject destination experiences that suit us in to our business travel and in doing so enhance our productivity, change our thinking and enable us to engage and network with our peers on a much greater level.

Yes, business travel is quickly emerging as a lifestyle.

Once dreaded, the prospect of business travel today is an opportunity to expand your horizons, with technological advancements and traveller-friendly facilities like docking stations, cocktail bars, in-flight WiFi, mobile check-in, etc enabling business travellers to be more efficient and use the time saved more effectively, to make every minute count.

Global airport lounge access organisation Priority Pass also highlights this trend saying benefits like lounge access and concierge services are increasing among business travellers, while the importance once given to perks such as flying business class and staying in higher-star-rated hotels is diminishing.

The study also says business travellers prefer to keep their travel benefits to use when going on holiday with their families, and appreciate preferential seating with their families during leisure time.  Frequent business travellers are said to be more engaged than leisure travellers in seeking experience-led holidays.

So are these the benefits you, wearing your business traveller hat, are looking for? Or do you have a whole other set of preferences when it comes to business and leisure travel? Chat to your ASATA travel consultant to get you the travel perks that will make your business travel heart sing, while ensuring you stay within the peremeters of your corporate travel policy.

Of course, you can make your own bookings and select a hotel with WiFi, concierge services and a lobby. However, your TMC will look beyond free WiFi, and will ensure that outlets and connectivity ports for laptops and mobile devices are available throughout the chosen hotel. Your consultant will make sure there is a space in the lobby where you can meet up with colleagues to run through a power point presentation, or that the hotel’s loyalty programme includes perks that appeal to you specifically.

In short, you ASATA travel consultant can make sure you have the stress-free, customised and streamlined travel experience you’ve been asking for.

Travel industry honours top achievers

Celia Kluever, Enid Maullin, Shanell Mowers, Kuben Moodley, Kevin Lomax, Minette Fourie,Lidia Folli, Otto de Vries, Janine Corry, Marcha Lourens

ASATA and Diners Club South Africa has announced the winners of the ASATA Diners Club Awards 2014 at a gala event held last Saturday (February 28) at the Montecasino Ballroom in Fourways, Johannesburg.

And the winners are:

  • Exceptional Commitment: Lidia Folli, Tourvest Travel Services Head Office, Johannesburg
  • Tomorrow’s Leader: Minette Fourie, Club Travel Head Office, Cape Town
  • Leisure Consultant: Marcha Lourens, South African Reynolds Travel Centre, Springs
  • Corporate Consultant: Celia Kluever, Sure African Imprint Travel, Pretoria
  • Key Accounts Executive: Shanell Mowers, Tourvest Travel Services, Johannesburg
  • Independent Travel Consultant in association with eTravel: Janine Corry, 24Point7 Travel Studio, eTravel, Cape Town
  • Wholesale Representative in a Tour Operator: Enid Maullin, Beachcomber Tours, Johannesburg
  • Wholesale Consultant in a Tour Operator: Kuben Moodley, Thompsons Holidays, Durban

Otto de Vries, CEO of ASATA says the association is honoured to pay tribute to those who are involved in this multibillion rand industry. “Last year the IATA figure for air tickets issued for domestic and international travel was in the region of R25 billion,” he says. “This amount excludes accommodation, car rental and the ancillary services connected with travel bookings.

“Today ASATA represents more than 85% of the industry in terms of market share, including the head offices of most of the major travel consortiums. We’re privileged to have a strong industry with travel agents and members who firmly believe in the continuous upgrading of their skills in order to keep pace with current trends.”

Ebrahim Matthews, managing director of Diners Club South Africa, adds: “Diners Club is proud to be associated with ASATA and its commitment to the travel industry through continued efforts to promote growth and development. We are once again delighted to sponsor these prestigious awards, where winners are nominated by their peers, judged fairly and independently, and duly recognised as being the elite of the travel industry.”

Otto concludes, “ASATA believes these awards are of great value to the industry in creating a professional environment. This industry awards programme is reflective of the excellence that we have in South Africa’s travel sector. The awards recognise those travel professionals who continue to offer excellent service with passion and due care, and who improve the perception of this exciting industry.”

For further details about the winners, please visit the ASATA Diners Club Awards website by clicking HERE or check out some of the great snaps that were taken on the night!