Managing the Customer Experience

Using Pre-calls, Updates, and Follow-up Techniques

One of the key elements of every employee’s success in any employment environment is their ability to communicate effectively. As a manager, our role is to both model and teach those techniques so they can be utilized by our employees in both internal and external customer interactions.

Unfortunately, in many interactions the focus is on the task, or process and not the person. This minimizes the opportunity to maximize the interaction and it often becomes a sterile transaction. While that transaction may create a momentary satisfaction on the part of the customer, it will rarely lead to a relationship that creates an exceptional experience or fosters a loyal customer.

Quality communication is not a one-time thing; it is an on-going process that moves with the individual throughout the entire experience.

Poor or lack of communication is one of the major causes of customer confusion, complaints, and conflict. It reduces workplace productivity, and diminishes customer loyalty. Ongoing communication between a manager and staff, and then staff and customer will improve productivity, satisfaction and loyalty for all involved. Model and teach these skills to your staff and you will enjoy a more productive workplace, and create a loyal customer.  Read entire article by clicking here.

Author: Steven Tulman.  Article Source

Unsolicited Corporate Account Scheme Targeting Agents in the Midwest

A fraudster is calling travel agents and independent contractors, particularly in Iowa and Minnesota, stating that he represents an auto repair, contracting company or building company (or engineering/moving company, etc.) in need of a travel agent to fulfill their travel needs. The first tickets are often for domestic travel, followed by international departures. Once you become suspicious of the number of tickets and credit cards being used as well as the international departures, it may be too late. Credit cards may already be compromised. Even though you have obtained a credit card authorization code, your agency can be held responsible if the real cardholder rejects the sales as fraudulent.

What to consider as high risk:

New corporate account approaching you to do international tickets for immediate departure
Third-party transactions (passenger and cardholder are not the same)
The so-called company website domain may look legitimate, but additional pages are not developed or under construction
The website/domain is only a few months old
International departures (mostly to/from South American airports, i.e., BOG, LIM, EZE, GRU)
Use of multiple credit cards

Consider using ARC’s Red Flags list to determine the risk before you issue tickets. To find the Red Flags list, click the Best Practice tab on the Fraud Prevention space on the My ARC homepage. Provide a copy of the Red Flags document to each of your front line staff, including full/part-time employees and independent contractors.

If you suspect such a scheme and want assistance to assess the risk, contact ARC’s fraud prevention team to at 855-358-0393 or

Promoting a Travel Consultant Career

Do you know someone who is considering a career as a travel consultant?  Here are some tips from YPS member Mike Ertmer (MAST Travel) on how to engage and bring in young professionals.

“Let them to know that a career as a Travel Consultant is one of the most fun and rewarding careers out there.  If you can listen to people, engage in conversation, and develop those personal relationships you may want to consider this career path.  If they are interested in a possible profession as a travel consultant maybe start by talking with a travel agency in their area.  They may offer an internship, or a position to get you started.  If you are located in the Midwest, contact me as many of our members are looking to bring on new travel professionals.”

Mike has been in the industry since 2004.  He has always promoted the idea of becoming a travel consultant, and more importantly, spreading the word that travel agencies are alive and doing very well.  His new position with MAST Travel Network started in April 2014, and since then he has been working hard to develop a plan to promote travel consultant careers, and bring in new travel professionals to the industry.  He started his career while he was still in high school and worked for a local, family owned agency that my teacher’s family owned.  Mike started by doing administrative worked, which eventually carried over to being a travel consultant.

He was hooked on travel while he was still in high school and knew this would be his profession.  Knowing that travel agencies are doing very well, and are going to continue to do very well, we feel there could be a shortage of travel consultants in the future.

If you have a story to share, or know someone interested in a career as a travel consultant email us at

Congratulations David Anokye — ASTA’s 2014 Young Professional of the Year!

A Message from YPS Chair Ryan McGredy:

It is my pleasure to introduce to you David Anokye, the winner of the 2014 Young Professional of the Year award!  David was honored during ASTA’s Global Convention aboard the Norwegian Breakaway (pictured above).  Please join me in congratulating David as ASTA’s 2014 Young Professional of the Year!!


After graduating from college in Ghana and emigrating to New York City in 1998, David Anokye was unsure of the path his life would take.

He worked as an independent contractor for a travel agency for five years then left the industry to complete a graduate degree in public health.

But following a year of working for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Anokye found his true passion was, in fact, the world of travel. With that in mind, he started his own business.

Humble beginnings
“My passion for the job is what drove me to do it as a permanent career,” said Anokye.

Once his home-based agency began to grow, Anokye realized that opening storefront locations would be key to expanding his business in his community.

He now operates a pair of brick-and-mortar agencies in the Bronx and Queens. He opened his first storefront in the Bronx in 2007 and another in Queens in 2011.“I always get gratified helping people solve their travel problems,” said Anokye.


West Africa specialist
When Anokye opened Klassique Travels, his home-based agency, in 2007, his aim was to connect with clients interested in traveling to his homeland of West Africa.

“Today 80% of our travel is to West Africa: Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Senegal and most of the other countries,” said Anokye. He and his staff of five also service several local corporate clients.


He actively promotes his agency on Facebook but also relies on targeted direct mail marketing in areas around his storefront.


Looking ahead
Anokye’s goal is to eventually open a storefront agency in each of New York City’s five boroughs.

He also wants to diversify his vacation offerings. He has been certified as an Oahu, Hawaii, master specialist and is planning to partner with G Adventures to sell Costa Rica vacations.

If you have any questions about ASTA’s Young Professionals Society, email

Past Recipients of ASTA’s Young Professional of the Year Award

2013 – Anthony Cheng

2011 – Ryan McGredy

2010 – Jason Coleman

2009 – Jason Beukema

2008 – Stephanie Lee


2006 – Kari Thomas

Email Marketing and SPAM

Any Digital Marketeer will tell you the importance of Email and that it sits at the heart of most good digital marketing campaigns. Whilst the high decibel aura of social media and PPC marketing may evade the humble email it still rules the roost when it comes to ROI on campaigns^. That in my perception has got to do with the fact that Email is considered as the “home of digital presence” by most individuals. If Social Media is the favourite bar or restaurant where you chit chat, meet friends and gossip, email is the home address of your online presence

If you would have noticed most websites do want visitors to subscribe to their email lists. It establishes a unique connection and you can deliver communication directly to “the digital address” of their visitors who over time may become customers or at the very least promoters of the product or service. Such subscriptions are best used for BTL marketing considering that the person who visited the site has evinced interest in the subject. By further subscribing to the site it implies the visitor is interested in being updated on the topic the website deals in.

Now here is where I would like to introduce “SPAM”. The very genesis of this article is not to glorify email but to discuss the nuisance of SPAM bothering digital marketeers. For all practical purposes I am going to consider Gmail as default when I refer to email inbox. The reason is simple – it is the most widely used email service across the globe.

My Gmail handles SPAM pretty well and SPAM mail goes exactly where it should – the SPAM folder.However off lately I have been perturbed by the increasing percentage of SPAM I receive from financial services industry.If you look at the screen grab of my spam folder you will understand what I am taking about.  Continue reading article.

Author: Rohit Raina.  Article Source

Upcoming Webinar: G-101 Introduction to G Adventures

At G Adventures, we don’t see ourselves as just a tour operator – we are a social enterprise in the business of changing lives. We believe that travel transforms and that it can truly make our world a better place. As Travel Consultants people come to you every day in search of something – something only travel can provide. In this introduction to G Adventures, you’ll take away what makes us tick and why our secret ingredient (freedom) is a key selling advantage for you.

Join us on this webinar to learn about:
• The G Difference – what sets us apart in the industry and what that means to you and your clients
• Travel Consultant tools, portal, and your Global Purpose Specialist (GPS)
• The G Adventures culture and brand presented by the Mayor of G and why this story resonates with travelers

Sign up and attend for the chance to win cool G swag!

Why start a company blog?

If you associate the term “blog” with some ’90s era hacker, like Keanu Reeves’s character Neo in The Matrix, it might be time to reboot and reconsider. Blogging is no longer just for authority-questioning individuals—it’s become a legitimate form of communication for all types of people, and now for companies as well.

I’ve been blogging for about a year and a half on behalf of my current employer, AfterCollege (I manage the student-facing AfterCollege Blog and the university recruiting focused Employer Blog), and I’d like to share a few of the benefits I’ve observed so far.

Let’s start with the basics. What exactly is blogging?

To put it very simply, blogging is writing articles that are published online (rather than in a print publication). Blog posts are usually arranged in reverse chronological order, so the most recent content is at the top of the page and you scroll down or back to see posts that were written earlier.

Blogs cover everything you can imagine (and probably more). Nail art? Yep. Expat life in Paris, Paraguay, and everywhere in between? Absolutely. Hula hooping? You bet.

Some blogs are purely passion projects and don’t lead to any sort of money-making, while some are used by small business owners and “solopreneurs” to help get their message out to a wider audience.

And nowadays, most companies have realized that blogging is an excellent way to build brand recognition and a key component of their content marketing strategy. (For more on content marketing, check out my previous post.)

Do your eyes glaze over any time you hear someone use the phrase SEO (search engine optimization)? I won’t go into too many of the gory details here, but let’s suffice it to say that you want to be the answer to the questions people are asking when they use a search engine, and one of the best ways to make that happen is to create a regular stream of fresh, useful content.

Hubspot published the results of a ContentPlus report claiming that company sites with blogs have 434% more indexed pages than sites without them. Indexed pages lead to higher search engine rankings—and to more traffic to your site. Continue reading.

Author: Melissa Suzuno.  Article Source

Will You Contribute $25 to the Cause?

YPS is asking each member to contribute $25 to ASTAPAC in support of ASTA’s advocacy agenda by December 23rd.

We want YPS to be the leader, mobilizing our members’ passion and industry involvement to make a difference.

With your participation, we will send a strong signal to our allies and opponents alike: we can do amazing things when we work together!

150 Member Donations by December 23

The American Society of Travel Agents Political Action Committee (ASTAPAC) is a special fund (established under federal election laws) to collect personal, voluntary contributions from travel agent members to support political candidates and parties who support the interests of ASTA’s members.

For over 30 years, ASTAPAC has succeeded in building political influence for ASTA and its members.  Congress realizes that ASTA’s strength comes from the thousands of individual travel agents who contribute to its PAC program.


DOT Hazardous Materials Rule Fix is Victory for Agents and Consumers

ASTA applauds the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) for taking a common sense approach to the way travel sellers communicate information about hazardous materials to the flying public.

Imbedded within a large Hazardous Materials Harmonization Rulemaking published in the Federal Register on Aug. 25, PHMSA has proposed revising its hazardous materials rule [49 CFR 175.25(b)] for telephone and in-person reservations that requires travel sellers, effective Jan.  1, 2015, to (a) verbally recite the hazardous materials notice and (b) obtain the purchaser’s acknowledgement that they understand the rules before being allowed to purchase a ticket. PHMSA’s revised rule for telephone and in-person transactions eliminates the acknowledgement requirement, and permits, as an option, the disclosure to be fulfilled by including a notice on the e-ticket confirmation.

“Over the past three years ASTA has argued, and the government has now agreed, that this rule makes no sense with over-the-phone and in-person transactions. The public interest will continue to be served, as travelers will be given the notice with their ticket, and again at check-in, which they must affirmatively agree to understand before their boarding pass is issued,” said ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby. “Removing the verbal pre-ticketing disclosure and acknowledgement burden is a huge victory for the travel agency industry, and is good for the traveling public. According to our economic impact analysis, this rule change will save the travel agency industry more than $58 million in initial training and programming costs and $26 million per year in ongoing compliance costs.”

PHMSA’s new rule is consistent with ASTA’s March 25 petition requesting that DOT rescind or modify the existing telephone and in-person requirements. In its petition, ASTA asked DOT, as an alternative, to model the disclosure requirement after its baggage fee disclosure rule, which is fulfilled when an e-ticket confirmation is produced and distributed to the purchaser.

While ASTA is pleased with this outcome, there is still work to be done. ASTA, as a member of the Aviation Rulemaking Committee responsible for producing the industry guidance document—an Advisory Circular (AC)—will work with PHMSA to ensure a smooth adoption of the new rule. Issues that need to be addressed include: drafting compliance instructions and disclosure language for ticket confirmations; consulting with Global Distribution System (GDS) partners to determine how they can assist with ensuring the disclosure notice is provided with all passenger e-ticket receipts; clearly defining what “another equally suitable method” for compliance means; and setting a reasonable adoption date.

The association will represent its members on these and other related issues. ASTA’s previous comments regarding the current AC can be seen at:!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-0131-0006.

Top 30 Under 30 in 2014

YPS congratulates two of its own (Sarah Bush of D Tours Travel and Jessica Siregar of Largay Travel) for making Travel Agent Central’s 30 Under 30 2014 list.

Click here for the full article.  Here they are: The future of the travel industry, the next generation of agents who will discover new places to go and new ways to connect with travelers. They exist in a 24/7 world of nonstop information, and communicate with each other, with other industry professionals and with clients through multiple platforms. They tweet. They share. They snap pictures and chat about their experiences. And they sell travel in ways that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. They are Travel Agent’s top 30Under30 for 2014. Over the past several years this feature has created a buzz in the industry and also helped fuel a community of young professionals who enjoy being a part of a special growing niche in the travel industry. This year’s list of young agents, all of whom were under 30 when the year began, is a testament to our combined success.

Author: Travel Agent Central.  Article Source

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