What’s the best way to navigate Wave season? Avoya Travel asked some of its top producing independent agencies for tips and tricks on how to prepare for Wave season and maximize sales for the year ahead.
Of the surveyed independent agencies in the Avoya Network that produce over US$1 million in annual sales, 95% revealed they have plans to or are already preparing for Wave season, when cruise bookings ramp up as the new year kicks off.
More than 85% of survey respondents say they prioritize organization and planning, bolstering customer relationships and professional development. Others cited networking and events as ways they get ready for Wave.
The Avoya survey also revealed other top tips and best practices from some of the highest producing independent agencies in the Avoya Network. While some of these tips include Avoya tools, the ideas behind them can be helpful for agents no matter what their host agency affiliation:
- Set a goal
Beth Leonardt of Vacations by Beth LLC believes “Knowing what drives you and setting a goal are necessary for Wave. For me, it’s providing for my kids, and my family reaps the rewards when I put in the long hours to reach my goal.”
- Get organized with the right systems to maximize bookings
“Shared best practices in the Avoya Mastermind Program have helped me get the systems in place, including effective automated scripts and calendar follow-ups to keep me organized when I am claiming and working so many Live Leads,” said Bobbi Wagner, Destined to Travel, LLC.
- Keep your scripts updated – and use them
“Have your scripts in place so you can easily stay in touch with your customers and prospects. This is vital for time-management and not missing deadlines,” says Sue Peterson, Peterson Global Travel, Inc.
- Use an automated calendar
“Wave is busy and to handle increases in customer Live Leads, I manage my calendar with reminders and automate scripted follow-ups in Avoya’s Agent Power to keep me organized,” said Phyllis Murray, Phyllis Murray Travel LTD.
- Reach out often to past clients and lost leads
“Update client lists, then reach out by phone, a scripted note or holiday cards,” says Cheryl Myerson, Unforgettable Cruises & Tours, LLC. “Sending new promotions that I think both customers and prospects would like is a great way to stay top of mind with customers,” adds Carol Howell of Bloom and Howell LLC.
- Brush up on professional development and supplier education
“You’ll earn bookings when you’re an expert in your product specialties, the latest itineraries, policies and developments from suppliers,” says Lydia Santiago of Luxury Bound Travel LLC.
- Know the promotions
Experience Results Inc. owner Christine Schwartz adds, “Having full understanding of Avoya’s promotions and exclusives that give me a competitive advantage is the most important preparation I do.”
- Prepare to work long hours
“Clearing personal calendars and getting small tasks done before January help me be available for more clients,” says Sheri Mruz, Directions Luxury Travel LLC.
One more tip from Tammie Richie, Senior Director of Avoya’s exclusive Mastermind Program, is a timely reminder: “Get ready now to capitalize on the increase in customer leads. Pre-Wave is starting and the clients that will book the first couple of weeks of January are already looking. Travel professionals who wait until the first of January, may already have missed out on two weeks of Wave.”
Avoya also asked its top million-dollar producing independent agencies to forecast sales and trends for 2018 Wave. The overall outlook is positive:
- 80% of the Independent Agencies surveyed expect agency sales in 2018 Wave to be better than or the same as Avoya’s very strong 2017 Wave and sales year.
- With the majority forecasting growth, the most common reasons given by independent agencies in the Avoya Network for why 2018 Wave sales will be better than 2017 include pent-up demand from travellers who may have held off in 2017, an improving economy and increased inventory with new ships and itineraries.