Travel Agent Booking Basics

November 18, 2019

Okay, so you're signed up with a host, franchise or you have your own accreditation number. Better yet? You have your first few clients. But now what?!

Every so often, I get questions coming in about how to book travel. The HAR crew created a handy resource that will walk you through the basics of booking a trips from the beginning (qualifying your client) to the very end (following up with your clients).

Here's the top 4 travel agent resources for planning and booking a trip for your clients (with a few bonus materials). The steps cover every nook and any cranny of a travel agent's sales cycle. Each step links to an in depth article, taking a deep dive into the particulars. Let's begin, shall we?

1. Qualifying Clients

Travel Agent Booking Basics: How to Qualify Clients
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Your client is coming to you because they have brain fatigue from falling into the black hole of Google clickbait trying to plan their trip. You want to qualify thoroughly so you spend less time second-guessing yourself during the research process and more time putting together options for your clients.

So how do you go about getting a grasp on what your client is looking for and making sure you're a good fit? Go to our article on qualifying clients and you'll soon have Jedi-level client qualifying mastery. It covers booking basics such as:

  1. Determining if the client is a good fit for you (and vice versa)
  2. Getting a pulse on what info you need to get from your client
  3. Technologies and automations to help you qualify clients
  4. Tips on how to qualify clients
  5. What to do if you charge fees

Here's an added bonus: It includes a recording of a fearless travel agent who volunteered to let us eavesdrop on his qualifying conversation with a client!

Curious to learn more about the time, money, and sanity you save clients? Check out HAR's Using a Travel Agent vs. Booking Online: An Infographic

1.5 Should Travel Agents Use the B-Word?

Travel Agent Booking Basics: Should Travel Agents Say the B Word?
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This is step "1.5" since you'd typically talk about budget when you're qualifying a client. This is a fun article that profiles agents on how they approach their clients in talking about budget. The travel agent approaches run the gamut from direct to delicate. For this phase of booking basics HAR addresses:

  1. Three different travel agent personality types of addressing budget
  2. Top tings to consider when talking about a budget with your client

Unsure of how to approach this touchy subject with your clients? Read this and you'll get some great information (and a good laugh).

2. Researching & Qualifying Suppliers

Travel Agent Booking Basics: Qualifying Suppliers
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You have your client, and now you're ready to woo them with thoughtful itineraries that show you're an amazing listener and have the ability to materialize their vacation fantasies into a reality. But first things first, you have to research suppliers.

This article will walk you through it, step by step. What are some of these steps and topics? Here's a peek:

  1. Why a niche helps you qualify suppliers
  2. The 4 goals of qualifying suppliers
  3. 8 qualities to look for in a supplier
  4. Tips on building long-term relationships with suppliers

3. Planning & Pitching Itineraries

Travel Agent Booking Basics: Planning and Pitching Itineraries
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You know that the itineraries you've planned are amazing, but how do you make sure your clients feel as strongly about it as you do? The next step in booking a trip is presenting your itinerary (or itineraries) to your client. This article offers tips on how to create a fantastic itinerary, and how to effectively present the trip to your clients.

Here's what's covered:

  1. Tips on creating memorable travel itineraries
  2. Examples of itinerary-building tools
  3. How to pitch your itinerary in a way that makes your client want to go right home and pack their bags!
  4. What details to confirm after a client picks their itinerary

Once you read this article, you'll be planning and pitching itineraries that make your clients want to go right home and pack their bags!

3.5 HAR's Free Travel Itinerary Template

Travel Agent Booking Basics: A Free Travel Agent Itinerary Template
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Ooh fun! Another bonus! You have your fabulous ideas, and now you need to get them down on paper so you can wow your client.

We have just the thing for you: HAR's Free Travel Itinerary Template. Here you can copy and save the template to your own Google drive, brand it to your agency, fill in the fabulous details of your trip, and ship it off to your client. Here's the deets:

  1. What are the differences between an itinerary template and an itinerary builder?
  2. Will a template work for you? (Pros and cons)
  3. A free Travel Itinerary Template Download (pssst! You can also customize this and share it with your clients to fill out themselves if it's not a service you offer)
  4. Tips on customizing HAR's template

The article will walk you through the steps, and you'll have an itinerary in no time!

3.75 Best Itinerary Builders for Travel Advisors [+Comparison Chart]

Travel Itinerary Builders Comparison Chart
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If you've done your due diligence, and you realized that a travel itinerary template is not a big enough tool for the volume of trip itineraries you're planning, then this resource is for you: a travel agent itinerary builder comparison chart.

The article provides:

  1. A rundown of differences between an itinerary template and an itinerary builder program
  2. What to consider when choosing an itinerary builder
  3. A nifty itinerary builder comparison chart that shows all your options, side by side to help you pick the best program for YOU.

4. How to Book a Trip (Like a Travel Agent)

Travel Agent Booking Basics: What to Travel Agents Do?
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Have you ever wondered what it's like to book like a travel agent? How it's different from booking on Expedia? How you add fees to your booking? What supplier portals look like on the back end? Well this article answers one big industry question: What do travel agents do?

We cover a ton of ground in this article, including:

  1. What travel agents do (and how it's different from a consumer booking)
  2. Info a travel agent needs to book a trip
  3. A sneak peek at booking portals
  4. Tips and tricks for booking like a travel agent pro
  5. Post-booking steps a travel agent needs to complete

Turns out they do a lot! You really don't want to miss out on this article's sneak peek into booking like a travel agent, with 4 video tutorials from expert travel agents that reveal insider tips and tricks while booking with a consolidator (CenTrav), a land tour (VAX), a cruise (Cruising Power), and an all-inclusive (Vacation Express). If there was an Oscar category for best travel agent booking tutorial series, we'd definitely be in the running.

So whether you're a seasoned pro who's looking for some insider tips or a newbie who wants to take a look at the action behind-the-scenes, this one is for you.

You're Ready to Book

Phew! That was a ton of info. If you read all the articles linked in here, *high five!* You can sleep easy knowing you did your due diligence to book the perfect trip for your client!

Have thoughts, comments, funny stories about your pet bunny rabbits? Comment below! We'd love to hear from you!

About the Author
Mary Stein - Host Agency Reviews

Mary Stein

Mary Stein has been working as a writer and editor for Host Agency Reviews since 2016. She loves supporting travel advisors on their entrepreneurial journey and is inspired by their passion, tenacity, and creativity. Mary is also a mom, dog lover, fiction writer, hiker, and a Great British Bake Off superfan.