Tollman urges agents: don't be ‚Äúorder takers”

Tollman urges agents: don't be ‚Äúorder takers”
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<p> Too many travel agents have become order takers and are not actively selling product, an approach that risks the future viability of their business, the global head of Trafalgar has warned.</p><p> Gavin Tollman described retailers as &ldquo;too passive&rdquo; and urged them to build on their strengths as travel experts.</p><p> A failure to add value to the consumer could have dire consequences, he said.</p><p> Tollman, speaking to Travel Today at the launch of Trafalgar&rsquo;s 2013 Europe program, admitted this passive approach was one of the challenges facing the operator as it looks to continue its &ldquo;evolution&rdquo;.</p><p> &quot;What I would strongly encourage in business today is that to remain relevant you have to add value,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I believe too many of our agents, our partners, are too passive. They will take an order. Someone will say &lsquo;I want to buy a ticket to London&rsquo; and what does the agent do? They issue the goddamn ticket and take the $25 transaction fee.</p><p> &ldquo;They are not asking why are you going to London? They are not talking or listening and trying to add value.</p><p> &ldquo;In order for them to remain relevant into the future they are going to have to change. You cannot simply be an order taker.&rdquo;</p><p> Consumers should leave a travel agency &ldquo;enriched&rdquo; by the &ldquo;expertise, knowledge, advice and guidance&rdquo; they have received. Such a level of service will ensure they become regular customers, Tollman insisted.</p><p> &ldquo;That is what a true travel agent should be doing,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Those who want to be order takers will be in trouble.&rdquo;</p><p> Tollman claimed that every agent who has embraced Trafalgar&rsquo;s strategic shift from coach holidays to &ldquo;guided vacations&rdquo; with its focus on customer experiences has seen sales rise. But he conceded &ldquo;not enough&rdquo; agents had done so.</p><p> &ldquo;Do not be complaining about how tough business is because Trafalgar has a solution for you,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Pick up the goddamn phone and call your sales manager.&rdquo;</p>

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