Name: Jill DeTonnancour
Agency: Destiny Travel (associated with The Travel Agent Next Door)
Years as a travel advisor: 20
Annual sales: $500,000
Product or destination(s) you specialize in: Mexico, Caribbean, and all things south (cruises, Disney, etc.)
Describe your process when you first connect with a client who wants to book a trip.
I always thank them for contacting me and ask what kind of travel they are interested in and what kind of travel they have done previously. We then get into specifics about budgets and expectations.
What are your tips for finding new clientele?
I am a member of the local chamber, keep in contact with local members of the rotary, advertise in local papers, sponsor hockey and golf tournaments, and basically just keep my name out there.
What are your tips for retaining clients?
I alway follow-up on their trips when they return, find out what they are interested in for the future and letting them know if there is anything coming up that matches their interests, or calling them when something does come up.
What are your tips for closing a sale?
Always assume they are going to book and just proceed with it as they are booking. They feel more inclined if we’re talking about booking now rather than “call me when you’re ready” kind of attitude.
Do you charge services fees? If so, why and how much?
I charge service fees on things I don’t make commission on and on very complicated itineraries. The fee depends on the work for the specific trip, so it is not a set amount. For instance, I do all the trip bookings for town council and only charge them $10 for their simple domestic air, however, when they do trans-border or international flights, it is more in the range of $25 to $100. They are all very happy with my service, so in turn, they book their personal travel with me and that is the bonus.
Why do you enjoy being a travel advisor?
I love travel myself and I enjoy creating the perfect trip for a client, and I also really enjoy doing the research. I love having people coming back and letting me know all the details of their trip. I find it very fulfilling. This career also gives me the opportunity to show my children different areas of the world we probably wouldn’t travel to if I wasn’t doing this.
What is the most unique thing you’ve ever done to enhance a client’s trip?
I've done small things such as having their room decorated for birthdays or anniversaries, or when they were on a small river cruise, having all three cabins have different things in them upon arrival for appetizers, drinks, etc. and they all had to stateroom hop to enjoy them all (they all knew each other). They love it.
Anything else to add that could help support the sales growth of fellow travel advisors?
Enjoy what you do -- love what you do. That makes all the difference to clients; when they see you are excited, they are excited. That makes them want to talk and book with you, and to tell others about you. It’s the best part of the job.