My goodness, wouldn’t it be awesome if we all had been able to travel to every destination that our clients might ask us about!  Of course, if we did, we wouldn’t have any time left to actually book travel for others, would we?  Seriously, it certainly helps to have first-hand experience with a destination.  You are more confident in your recommendations and have a better understanding of what the experience is actually like, so your qualifying questions can be more specific.

However, it is certainly not a necessity!  The definition of an “expert” is not someone who knows everything there is to know about a certain subject.  It is someone who knows enough to carry on an intelligent conversation and then knows where to find the answers that he/she needs to guide the client to an informed decision.  So, what are the resources available to you when a client asks for a destination you aren’t familiar with?

~ Your preferred Tour Operators or On-Location partners!  Reservationists with our tour operators and On-location partners are mostly very well trained in the destinations and have actually been to the destinations themselves to familiarize themselves with the properties and the vibe.  Don’t forget to utilize the expertise of these folks!  That’s what they are there for!

~ Your fellow GTN agents! We have a community of 200+ super well-traveled professionals who are happy to share their insights!  Post in the GTN private Members-only Facebook Forum and ask for advice or suggestions.  Set up a phone call with anyone who you feel can help guide you.  Don’t feel guilty about taking up their time…one day YOU will be that person helping another newbie!

~Your friendly Mentor! Email me and I will help you navigate your resources!  We’ve got this!

Should you ALWAYS take on a booking to a destination you are not comfortable with?  Absolutely not.  If you specialize in Europe and get an inquiry asking for help with SE Asia, there is nothing wrong with saying something like “Wow..thank you so much for coming to me with this opportunity!  My specialty is European Travel, but I belong to a network of incredibly talented and specialized agents.  I would be happy to refer you to one of my colleagues who specializes in travel to SE Asia if that is okay with you…Your trip will be effortless because you will be using a true expert in the destination.  Then, when you are ready to travel next time, I hope you will give me the opportunity to be of service”.  Yes, you are technically “turning away business”, but you can work out a commission split/referral fee with the other GTN agent and – more importantly – you are making sure that your client is getting the best vacation possible.  They will thank you for that with referrals!