Dale Page, Greybull Travel

Retraction/Correction: On July 23rd, Dale reached out to Host Agency Reviews to tell us that he offered a misleading sales amount during his TAC interview with HAR. He amended that number, reporting his actual sales were $114,000 his first six months, opposed to over $500K he originally stated. The HAR crew regrets any inconvenience and disappointment this causes readers. We're keeping up the transcript to document the interview (and because heck, $114K in 6 months as a newly minted advisor is still dang impressive). If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me at hello@hostagencyreviews.com. 


Dale Page, Greybull Trael

Based in Greybull, Wyoming, newly minted travel agent and owner of the eponymous Greybull Travel, Dale Page, offers a unique perspective of starting out a travel agency in a rural community. Since opening his doors only seven months ago, Dale has made over 100k in bookings, but it definitely hasn't been without its trials and tribulations. Dale is open and honest about the challenges of starting an agency, digging into the complexities of creating a marketing strategy that reflects caters to his local community, while addressing the need to expand his reach and tap into a farther-flung client base as well. He's candid about what marketing strategies have worked, and which haven't. Plus, he reveals a very creative lead-generating approach that lead to his largest cruise booking to date. What exactly is it? Read to find out!

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Show Notes

Finding a niche: If you're struggling to find a niche, or if you want some affirmation that you're on the right track with the niche you already have, check out this site resource!

Cruise Compete: An online marketplace for travelers where travel agencies can compete for cruise bookings. (Kind of like the "Fiverr" of travel agents).

Thumbtack: An online resource where consumer can search providers based on service type. Dale listed his agency in Thumbtack—a successful 3rd-party lead generation source for his agency.

Switching Host Agencies: When Dale switched hosts, he mentioned there were some things he'd wished he'd know before he made the leaps. Are you in the same boat? Here's a few things to consider.

Transcription

Steph: [00:00:00] Well hello. Hello little bumblebees. This is Steph Lee, the lover of all things that are cute including little bumblebees buzzing around all summer long.

[00:00:10] And I suppose this is probably more relevant to you as a listener of the podcast. I'm also your host for today's show! Today we've got Dale Page joining us. He's a retired trainer who opened his agency just over six months ago in rural Wyoming. And his first year goal was really simple: All he wanted to do was to get a 1099 at the end of the year. For those that aren't familiar with that, that means he essentially wanted to make six hundred dollars off his company. But today he's booked over $100k dollars since he opened his doors in January [2019]. So stick with me today because there's a lot of exciting stuff to go through, including what you should know before moving host agencies, how Dale aims to grow big in a small town and why he threw his first niche out the window when another one landed on his lap. A quick note that today's podcast is also being produced in video form. So if you want to see our cute little faces you can visit HostAgencyReviews.com/TAC click on volume 11 and there you'll find the audio, video transcripts and show notes all in one handy place.

[00:01:18] All right. So for today's schedule we're going to be breaking it down into five segments. The first is beginnings. Second is small town agencies. Third is finding leads. And the fourth is switching hosts and then we'll wrap it up with our warm fuzzy segment. So let's not waste another moment further. Let's bring in today's guests.


Retraction/Correction: On July 23rd, Dale reached out to Host Agency Reviews to tell us that he offered a misleading sales amount during his TAC interview with HAR. He amended that number, reporting his actual sales were $114,000 his first six months, opposed to over $500K he originally stated. The HAR crew regrets any inconvenience and disappointment this causes readers. We're keeping up the transcript to document the interview (and because heck, $114 in 6 months as a newly minted advisor is still dang impressive). If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me at hello@hostagencyreviews.com. 


Shortcuts to Topics:

1. Beginnings

2. Small Town Agencies

3. Finding Leads

4. Switching Hosts

5. Warm Fuzzies


[00:01:38] Dale welcome to Travel Agent Chatter.

Dale: [00:01:40] Hi Steph. Thanks for having me. It's a pleasure and an honor.

Greybull Travel logo



1. Beginnings:

Steph [00:01:46] Those of you listening you don't know this but Dale and I have tried this numerous times and I was having a lot of Internet problems so he's been very patient. This is the furthest we've made it, so fingers crossed it works.

[00:01:59] I had done a poll a while ago on Facebook asking people what they would be interested in for topics for upcoming podcasts. So one thing that came up was people wanted to hear from an agent that just was out of the gate running has done really really well. Dale has been in the industry six months, and has an enviable amount of sales under his belt already, so he definitely fits that bill.

[00:02:24] To give everyone a little bit of an idea about your journey so far, Dale can you walk us through the timeline of when you first opened your agency, when you made your first sale and then when you opened your storefront.

Dale Page, owner of Greybull Travel
Dale Page, owner of Greybull Travel

Dale: [00:02:40] Sure. This agency was founded in December. Toward the end I believe was December 28 of 2018. I did some minor Facebook advertising and we opened our storefront on February 7th. We actually made our first sale within a week of having opened up having gotten our our LLC and all that. By "our," I mean my partner and I. And we ended up booking what was supposed to be a Hawaii trip. We ended up booking a rental car which was with Sixt and I was so excited it was going to be my very first commission. It was going to be 38 dollars and with Sixt, you had to call it in I call it in. I spoke to the agent and the agent said 'Oh sure I've got a great great rate for the travel industry and its commissionable. Well it was a great rate for my client but it was not commissionable!" So I made exactly zero on my first sale.

[00:03:35] We opened up our our agency on February 7th was our grand opening. We did some print advertising for that. We did a lot of Google advertising with Google AdWords and we had decent sales that first month. Then we decided to just start focusing on group cruises and we basically expanded since then.

Steph: [00:03:58] Let's back up really quick because I think when you're talking about your first sale with the the rental car wherever the commission was already pretty small but then you don't get any that makes it even less. But I think that's great because I want to be a realist about this because there's all these rags to riches story of people that their agencies take off — and yours definitely has — but that there are stumbles along the way. Nothing ever goes as planned you've made errors along the way and you learn from them.

Dale: [00:04:42] We also have to look at that's not the only mistake I've made. I also had a consolidator airfare that I booked. I thought I'm trying to make about 250 dollars on that my commission check was a big ninety four cents for because I forgot to put in a change fee.

[00:05:03] Everybody is gonna make mistakes but if you let that mistake define how your agency is run, then your agency is just going to be a mistake. I took the I took the view point of this is just this is just a ridiculous thing that I've done. And hey let's move on and do something better.

Steph: [00:05:20] Yes everybody has made ridiculous mistakes when they start out no matter what industry they're in. So when you started you were specializing in national parks but now you've moved to specializing in group cruises. Correct me if I'm wrong but you currently have 15 Alaska group cruises on the books, right?

Dale: [00:05:47] For 2020, yes. Fifteen with Holland America. We have 15 with Holland America and the two Princess' are Caribbean.

Steph: [00:06:03] Gotcha. So what realizations led you to switch your niche? Because I think for a lot of people there is when you're researching before you get into the industry ... and then there's when you actually get into it. It's kind of like when you go to college and then you come out of college and you're like this isn't what the real world is like (what they taught me in school)! So what what realizations did you have that led you to change over to cruises? Was there any impetus?

Dale: [00:06:33] It started I believe with two things: So first of all, someone from my first host agency told me it's just as easy to sell 8 cruises as it is to sell one. And then I also had an elderly lady that called in and wanted an inexpensive cruise. I told her jokingly, if you can get me 16 cabins, I can get you to sail for much less. And I was supposed to hold back at the end of the month. That was like 14 days or excuse me 21 days away. Seven days later she gives me a call and she has 16 people already on her list to go. And then I said, "Unfortunately it needs to be 16 cabins of double occupancy." So three days later she called me with that. That was my very first group cruise. I thought, 'Hey I can do this! Let's go ahead and see what I can do.' So I started doing speculative cruises and I was advertising them on Google and that's how I got them filled.

Steph: [00:07:30] Well that's fantastic. For those that are listening if you're struggling with trying to find a niche. Do know that they do evolve over time. I'll also put a link in the show notes to our article on how to find a niche if you want a little bit more handholding through that.

Struggling to find a niche? This article will get you started!


2. Small Town Agencies

Steph: [00:07:48] So let's change directions for a second and talk about what it's like to be an agency in a small town. Because I think there's there's a lot of financial benefits to living in a rural area, mainly at the cheaper cost of living. But then there's the drawback that you're working with a really small local client base. So right now in the town where Greybull's storefront is, how many people are in the town?

Greybull's Grand Opening Door Prizes
Door prizes at Greybull's grand opening

Dale: [00:08:15] Basin has about slightly less than fourteen hundred, a little more than thirteen hundred people. And the town that we live in, which is seven miles away—Greybull, has about eighteen hundred. I looked at the signs yesterday and said, "I'm going to write this down!" I forgot to write down how many were, but it's a very small town. And the county that we're in in Wyoming, which is exceptionally large in size, only has about a total of five thousand people. You moved the two surrounding counties, we've probably got a full total of people that I can draw in for of about twenty five thousand.

Steph: [00:08:45] So let me ask you this. Do you feel like you need to be a generalist because you're set up in a small town? Are you able to be picky and say I can't, I only specialize in this?

Dale: [00:09:00] Oh no. I can not be picky like that. I feel like profit follows service. I don't feel that I could. I personally can't do that because what will happen is I will start turning clients either over to another agency, or I'll be turning clients into self bookers. Every time I feel that, every time I allow someone to book something on their own, I've given them permission to book everything on their own.

Steph: [00:09:34] So for listeners that are facing the challenge of living in a smaller town what type of local advertising have you tried? What's worked and what hasn't?

Greybull Door Prizes
More swag from Greybull's grand opening.

Dale: [00:09:44] What hasn't worked is we tried our local buyer's guide, it's the local advertising paper. We got one response out of that completely.

[00:09:52] But what has worked for us is we put up flyers in the laundromat, which I happen to share space with. We've gone to shows, like we went to craft shows and we show up there with brochures. We run a raffle and things like that just to get names. And that's how we build our local business.

[00:10:14] Now, not much of our business is local because there isn't a lot of local business to be had. The other thing we've kind of ended up having to do as well is bus service, it began again in our town. And when we got the bus service, we are the ticketing agent for the bus service. So that's also brought traffic in and will eventually evolve into some more local sales.

Steph: [00:10:39] So building the relationships by providing bus ticketing which is something that everybody in the local area is using.

Dale: [00:10:47] Yes exactly. Once again, I'm using the business model of profit following service. I believe that good customer service will always be profitable as long as you sell and service from your heart, not from your pocket.

Steph: [00:11:07] Did you also do something with the rodeo recently? I thought you had mentioned something about that.

Dale: [00:11:16] We've advertised with rodeos and things like that. We're looking to do buckle sponsorship. We're also looking to do chute sponsorship after the at the fall rodeo. But we advertise on the rodeo flyers and we show up there.

[00:11:38] We just show up every place. We showed up at Lilac Days. I was one of the the presenters. I presented the business of the year, which unfortunately didn't go to me.

Steph: [00:11:48] Yet!

Dale: [00:11:53] It probably will eventually. But you know it's nice just to be part of the community. We have to be part of the community. That's the only way a small town you will succeed is to be part of the community.

Steph: [00:12:04] It is. I grew up in a small town and it's important for the businesses to be involved. And to be consistent. To not just say, 'Well I tried running an ad in the newspaper for one day...'

Dale: [00:12:24] We can't focus on the local community, but we really think that being a part of it — I keep saying we because my husband and I run this business together so he's sitting over here looking at me. I keep saying "we," because it is a joint effort. I happen to be the one that does most of the sales, but we have to be a part of the community because if we aren't seen in the community, we don't exist.

[00:12:50] For example we took our dog to the vet and the vet actually knew who we work because we are involved in the community. Oh yeah, I know who you guys are! You're the travel agency just down the road. So those are the kinds of things that's going to help you build your business.

Greybull's Cody Cabin Fever Show
Dale representing his travel biz at the Cody Cabin Fever Show

Steph: [00:13:12] I imagine Wyoming is very similar to Minnesota. In Minnesota, there are people that cruise but we're not really close to any ports. And so the price point doesn't work for a lot of people, the way it does on the coasts. Cruising isn't huge but you did something interesting at one of your first events you were at, the craft show. You polled people. Tell us more about that . . .

Dale: [00:13:50] What happened was we did a drawing and the last thing on the sheet was, 'What is your dream vacation?' Almost 85 percent of the people answered Alaska. It was surprising, yet it wasn't because it's Wyoming . . . is rugged individualism. And Alaska is rugged individualism. We said, "OK let's do a good cruise for Alaska," and it sold. So we did another one. And all of a sudden we have one for every every week in August of next year. Then we just decided to expand out and it just worked out perfectly. Now are all those locals? Of course not, but a few of them are.


Finding Leads

Steph: [00:14:31] It'd be your whole town if they were all locals. Well I like this because it's kind of a perfect segue into the next section which is the different avenues you've experimented with to bring in leads, which you talked about a little about earlier.

[00:14:49] But one thing I really like about how you've approached your business is you're very much trying all of these different avenues to see what is working for you. So you have. I think it's two hundred thousand dollars on the books that are traveling this year, and then another $300k on the books for travel through 2020 so far, right?

Dale: [00:15:14] Exactly.

Steph: [00:15:15] OK. So clearly there's a really strong desire for Alaska group cruises from the locals. But you've also tried Google ads, Facebook ads, Cruise Compete, Thumbtack to reach the audiences outside of [that] base. And I want to hear more about those.

[00:15:32] Let's start with Cruise Compete. And for those that don't know it's an online marketplace where agencies can compete for cruise bookings. We'll link to it in the show notes. But Dale, how has that avenue worked for you?

Dale: [00:15:48] That one's not been the greatest for us to be honest with you. One is you're competing strictly on price. You're competing out of your pocket. While you can get bookings from it, they're not going to be very profitable.

[00:16:01] We have had a few there. We do advertise our group cruises and most of the inquiries that we get on Cruise Compete are actually directly from our advertising for our group cruises.

[00:16:44] You also have a little bit more leeway with your tour conductor credits and and your commission structure that you can price point better with those than you can with just Cruise Compete. For example, I can't . . . we can't really compete very well with the large agencies that are that can afford to make 30 dollars off of each cruise. We have to make a little bit more to keep our doors open. So our competition has been more on, 'We'll give you one hundred dollars off your cruise and then we'll also give you hundred dollar credit toward your next cruise if you book with us again.' That's not our most successful place where we compete.

Steph: [00:17:32] And then with Facebook ads, was that successful for you? What were you putting on the ads?

Dale: [00:17:36] You really don't want to know about how bad Facebook ads were. Not good. We spent close to a thousand dollars and got a rental car that we didn't get a commission on.

Steph: [00:17:50] Was that your first booking? The rental car booking?

Dale: [00:17:53] Yep.

Steph: [00:17:53] That's really funny!

Dale: [00:17:58] Here's another thing that I learned from that: you really need to know how to sell what you're selling. I couldn't price match quickly enough on a condo in Hawaii, so I didn't get the whole booking. All I got was the rental car so I could've gotten the whole booking had I known how to price match. But at that point time but I didn't. I haven't had enough time in the industry to do so.

Steph: [00:18:27] So Facebook is not a winner for you, but what about Thumbtack?

Dale: [00:18:36] Thumbtack is wonderful. You just have to be careful about it.

Steph: [00:18:43] Why don't you explain what it is for those listening that don't know it? And then kind of tell us about some of the successes.

Dale: [00:18:49] OK. Thumbtack is a service that matches providers to clientele. It started to be used for people that were doing/needed construction work. They branched out to travel agents. You put you you put yourself up there and then people contact you. You can also see a list of clients that are looking for . . . and then you can also send them bids as well. You pay anywhere from ten to twenty five dollars—depending on how complicated and how expensive the job is—to Thumbtack for that lead.

[00:19:30] It generates quite a few leads. The first recommendation for anyone that wants to use it I'm going to make is:do not put up there that you do airfare. Because you'll be paying twenty two dollars for leads that are for just for airfare alone. We learned this quickly it had to change it very quickly. But you can get great leads.

[00:19:52] I've gotten leads for South Africa trips that I've booked. My best client that I have, that has been a repeat booker already four times since he since he came onboard with us, came from Thumbtack. And it was actually an airfare-only, and he's been he's been my best consistent client.

[00:20:13] Thumbtack works, but you have to be very careful about how you work it because you could easily spend hundreds of dollars for nothing, in one day alone. And that's why I say don't put airfare on there. Don't say that you . . . that you're looking for airfare bookings because you will get people looking to, "I've got one hundred and seventy nine dollars quote round trip to Orlando. Can you beat that?"

Steph: [00:20:39] That's not helpful.

Dale: [00:20:39] You pay twenty two dollars for that.

Steph: [00:20:41] So you you don't even get to look at the lead and accept it? They just send it to you?

Dale: [00:20:48] If that lead chooses your agency, that is considered a warm lead and you pay for that warm lead.

Steph: [00:20:56] Gotcha. OK. So you've also tried Google ads and historically you spent between three and five hundred dollars a month. How are you targeting those ads and which ones have been most successful for you?

Dale: [00:21:24] We're targeting them demographically and also by keyword. The ones that are most successful are the ones that we figured out were best matches for what we were doing. For example, with Alaska cruises we tend to be targeting males that are looking for adventure hunters, environmentally conscious.

[00:21:51] And we're also looking at targeting location. Those are the keywords that we're looking at. We're also looking at targeting people that are looking for higher end cruises rather than the low ends because we're working mainly with the premium premium lines, we're not working with with the mass markets as much anymore, unless we absolutely have to.

Steph: [00:22:26] Have there any been any ad campaigns that have been especially successful for you like doing river cruise?

Dale: [00:22:34] We have one that was very successful that we targeted. Basically the demographics were women that were in the top 100 zip codes. But it also got us some weird ones because you end up appearing in the search when somebody's searching for a Rhine river cruise on Avalon.

[00:23:05] I got a call from out from Honduras from a lady that thought I was Avalon cruises and she was looking for a tax information. So you get interesting calls along the way with those too. But also remember that advertising will cost you money and don't be afraid to say, "this ain't working." There's no use throwing spaghetti at the wall, but you know it's undercooked if it won't stick.

Steph: [00:23:31] OK. So I saved the best for last because I think this clearly demonstrates the power of finding the right channel for your audience and how effective it can be. Because most of your groups are under 16 passengers but you have a group sailing in August of 2020 that currently has 46 passengers.

Dale: [00:23:55] 46 cabins.

Steph: [00:23:55] 46 cabins, wow! So two questions: Do you expect more people to be added? And then how did this group come together?

Dale: [00:24:06] I'm not sure. If you had asked me yesterday if I expected more cabins to be added, I would have said no because I had cut the advertising off on it. A friend of mine who's going on that Bear Cruise — that is, gay men that are ...

Steph: [00:24:33] Bears.

Dale: [00:24:34] Larger, hairier...

Steph: [00:24:37] Bears.

Dale: [00:24:37] Yeah. He's going on that just got me leads for another group of people that want to join that, which may also include a wedding party. That would be . . . it would be actually be a heterosexual wedding party where all of the bride's attendants are bears.

Steph: [00:25:00] That's adorable.

Dale: [00:25:02] I thought so too. Was that was a shock for me. But that's how it came about. I just said, "Rick and I are going on this cruise and I said OK we'll just do this one for Bears," and then all of a sudden I start to advertise on some very Bear-specific and gay-specific apps, particularly dating apps. And that's what led to that one getting so many people coming on.

Steph: [00:25:31] Yeah. I mean it's it's clearly an avenue that has worked really well. That you're still getting people possibly wanting to have more cabins, but you're like, "Wait! I wasn't expecting that."

Dale: [00:25:44] This just fell into my lap. This was not something that I fully expected. I really have to thank, if he happens to be listening, to give a shout out to Mark Reed for finding these people for me.

Steph: [00:25:55] Thanks, Mark.


Switching Hosts

[00:25:59] All right, well good stuff. Let's let's move on to a recent challenge that you've run across. It's one of those, "Man I wish someone would have told me this on day one, I would have done things so differently," types of things. So you're currently in the process of moving host agencies, which is something that is not uncommon. A lot of agencies will experience this some time in their life. So yeah, how's it going?

Dale: [00:26:24] If I use the word interesting would you understand what I meant? I thought it would be just, "OK I'll just pick everything up and transfer it over and it'll be great because these are all groups. And that I could just move the whole group over." I didn't learn until after I was already in the process of it, that groups belong to the agency not to the agent. So I was unable to move all my groups. Now I'm basically stuck living into two agencies until my last group sails in February of next year. I've been able to move everything over but I can't move two groups over. Now I'm stuck living in both agencies or turning over a significant amount of revenue to another agency. And I kind of like making money for what I've done.

Steph: [00:27:24] Yep makes sense. When you're leaving your host agency, what are things you would recommend? If people are thinking about switching that they can do ahead of time to kind of prep, to make sure it goes smoothly.

Dale: [00:27:44] Reach out your BDMs and to the sales departments of every place that you have something booked. Find out whether it is or is not movable.

[00:27:57] Also, don't make the decision lightly. And when you leave — and this I think is very, very important — when you leave, leave on good terms and remain on good terms. For example, I was really happy with Outside Agents, I just wasn't getting what I needed. I needed to move someplace smaller because I have some unique challenges that I need more support than a mega agency can give me. Anyone out there that is thinking about Outside Agents, I strongly recommend them. I'm with Destination with Characters now, which is a small agency I believe they only have like twenty five of us.

[00:28:42] I'm the first actual LLC to come into them rather than an individual. So I'm the first one that's not branded as Destinations with Characters. I'm branded still as Greybull Travel, Destinations with Characters affiliate. But don't bad mouth your old agency. You don't know what you're going to have to do with them. And secondly they gave you your start in this business or they supported you for so long.

Greybull Disney Wall
The Disney wall at Greybull Travel

Steph: [00:29:29] I think the other thing that's important to recognize about the industry, is it's really really small. And yes always to remember that you will be running across these people likely and in different areas.

[00:30:41] So I'm going to jump back around again. So you're doing a lot of speculative groups right now, is that kind of the niche you see yourself specializing in? Or are you doing groups in general? Why are you leaning more towards speculative groups versus affinity groups.

Dale: [00:31:00] I started with speculative groups because that's all I could find. I didn't have the Pied Piper—that is, the people that would lead into my groups. I'm now starting to build that network and I will start looking for those. For example, one of the things I'm looking for right now, I'm looking for someone to host a cruise to the Galapagos. I'm looking for a naturalist or a biologist or something like that, that I'd love to have host that, that would be partially speculative. And I would hope that that person could bring some in. That's where I'm trying to evolve to, Steph. But I will always have speculative groups on the books.

Steph: [00:31:50] When we were talking, you had mentioned that some advice for a new agent was . . . some advice for people that are new to the industry was to, you know, don't be afraid to ask for the sale —- that you will ask everybody in your clientbase, "Where do you want to go where would you want to lead a trip to?"

Dale: [00:32:08] I'm sorry. Yeah. I didn't realize where we were going with that questions.

Steph: [00:32:14] Oh I wasn't going anywhere with it.

Dale: [00:32:16] Yes I do. I do. I ask everybody. Where do you want to go? Do you know anybody else that wants to go there? Let's go ahead and set the group up. The worst is going to happen is you're gonna get your reservation and you're gonna pay for it. If I happened to book sixteen rooms for that, I'll give you the tour conductor credits, unless of course I want to travel on that cruise...

Steph: [00:32:37] Then you're out of luck!

Dale: [00:32:40] No, I'm not that way. Sometimes it works. A lot of times it doesn't. But hey, I have a friend here in town that's taking a Panama cruise for port taxes because I said, hey you bring me some business, I'll do that for you.

Steph: [00:34:19] You've had a really good start. What's kind of your goal for 2020 and what's your vision for your agency going forward?

Dale: [00:34:27] 2020, I want to close a million dollars. I'm not sure I will. My goal with my agency is to keep going forward. I want to get to a point where I'm not spending as much money as I am on advertising. Actually I take that back. My goal for 2020 is to do half a million, my goal for 2021 is to do a million. Have to keep my my numbers straight here. So that's what I'm looking at. I don't want to be the biggest agency in the world. If you saw how small my space was, I can't put four more agents in here. I can't put another agent in here! I guess financially I want to be very . . . I want to be successful. I think emotionally I just want to be happy with what I'm doing. And I am right now.

Steph: [00:35:31] Like you want to have a successful lifestyle business that has a good work-life balance and you like what you do. But it's also bringing in money.

Dale: [00:35:41] Yes. And I will also warn anyone I started out at this full time. I don't think you can be this successful unless you start out full time. So if you're starting out part time, you may need to take a little more time to build your business.

Steph: [00:36:07] So what kind of continuing education would you recommend for people looking to learn groups? How did you learn how to do speculative groups and besides that you just got this random phone call in. But how did you expand on that and learn it.

Dale: [00:36:26] I took . . . I looked at what cruise lines that I wanted to use. I took I took those and I did their full training.And then the next thing I did was I looked at was I looked at general sales videos and training like that. Those are the two things I think that made it the most successful for me.

Steph: [00:37:06] Have you used any online communities at all?

Greybull Travel at the Powell Spring Fever Show
Dale at the Powell Spring Fever Show

Dale: [00:37:11] Yes I have. Thank you so much for that.

[00:37:14] The first thing that I did that really I did. I got into a travel agency groups but I got into every cruise lines' fan groups and their sailing groups. I watched what questions they had so I know how to answer them. For example, one of the ones that comes up a lot, particularly in the mass market, is about the drink package and the gratuities. I figured I'm going to get those questions. I know how to answer them. There are a lot of questions on what are the must-sees what are the must-dos in port. So I make sure that I know the answers to those. For example, I know what you want to do when you get to Sitka, at each budget point. I know what you want to do when you get to Juneau, at several different budget points. I don't know quite all of them yet.

[00:38:24] One of the things when I was a trainer that I taught everyone that I ever trained to train was, "Do you know one thing that the person that's sitting across from you doesn't know?: And they can always say, "Yes." And I said , "That makes you the expert." Even if you don't know it, you have come off as if you're the expert. And once you've done that, then you could say, "Hey, somebody hasn't asked me that before but I'll have an answer for you as soon as possible."



WArm Fuzzies

Steph: [00:39:00] Yeah. Well let's let's move into the the final segment which is is technically called the warm fuzzy segment but I think another description for the segment is 'the segment you want to listen to you when you're feeling burnt out about the job. Because I think it's easy to overlook some of the joys of working in the travel industry for things you get to do for your clients or that they do for you. So we always ask our guests to share with us something they've done or that their clients have done that have made the world a little bit brighter. So Dale, what have you got for us today to fill up our little cups of happiness?

Dale: [00:39:38] I worked with this with this lady from Indianapolis on a cruise for her family which ultimately fell through. But she booked another cruise with me for just for her family. In the course of talking during qualifying her, I found out that her middle child is autistic and where he was on the spectrum. And I immediately called Accessibility Services and I explained to them that this is what I got, what can we do to make sure we got her early boarding? We got her quiet areas. We got her on tenders that will take good care of her. We make sure that that there's not going to be an issue where her her child will break down. Then a couple of days later she'd been following along on Facebook, she gives me a call and says, "Hey I just found out that they offer this. Can you do this for me?: And I looked at her and said, I did that the day the day I booked your cruise because that's what that's what I knew you needed.

[00:40:51] The other thing I had done what I first talked to her was I said, "OK you're sailing on Carnival right now. Royal Caribbean going forward maybe you will want to look at them because they are . . . their staff is autistic-trained. For example, if your child is 11 but the functioning at a five or six year old level, they will allow them to go to the five or six year old group. And that's what I did. And it just made me feel good that I had anticipated her need. And it made her feel good that she had somebody looking out for her and her child's interest.

Steph: [00:41:26] Yeah I'm sure she was really impressed with the fact that you'd gone ahead and done that without her even having to ask.

Dale: [00:41:33] The thing about it, Steph, is. I didn't think it was anything special. I thought it was what any good travel agent would do for their client.

Steph: [00:41:45] Well it definitely is a good travel agent doing this for their clients.

[00:41:52] Well we've wrapped up another episode of TAC. So if you've somehow found this podcast but actually haven't checked out HostAgencyReviews.com, that's the site that produces this podcast. Make sure to stop on by. We have an events calendar that's filled with 90 plus conferences, webinars, ship inspections, FAMs, trade shows that will just have you drooling. There's tons of information on there. And if you have an event that you want to list up there drop us a line at Hello at HostAgencyReviews.com. All basic event listings are free.

[00:42:25] Well Dale thank you so much for joining us today and for bearing with all the Internet connectivity problems I was having earlier.

Dale: [00:42:35] It was a pleasure Steph. Once again we can't help what happens with the Internet.

Steph: [00:42:40] And thank you to all of our lovely listeners. We're so appreciative of you taking the time today to listen. Thanks everyone!