1 Not asking for help: This is one crazy world and there’s no way someone with little to no experience can figure out how to get clients out of a bad situation all by themselves. Don’t wait too long to solicit your more seasoned colleagues for assistance with a very sticky situation. The longer you wait, the worse it will get.
2 Asking for too much help: Can you Google it? Then don’t ask your manager or the person sitting next to you or that Facebook group of advisors for the answer. Save your requests for the big problems and answer the simple questions on your own.
3 Assuming what luxury means to the client: We know which big brands are really awesome at what they do but luxury to the person in front of you might mean a simple room that’s beachfront where they can run their toes through the sand. Ask before you give them the most obvious option.
Pictured: Ahh, Greece: A stop off in Mykonos was just the ticket on a cruise I took with Windstar last year. Natives were most welcoming and the sun was shining, as always. What’s better than that?
4 Thinking with your own wallet: Think it’s crazy for someone to charter a private jet to go to their son’s graduation in Seattle? Keep it to yourself. Get the price quote and serve it up with grace.
5 Selling the same itinerary to everyone: Not everyone wants to see Paris the same way. Even first-timers to Europe need something a little special designed around their interests alone.
6 Not dressing the part: We know you’re super cute in your free time but that doesn’t mean we want to see you in a ripped tee shirt with your favorite indy band’s name printed on it. What if that client you’ve been nursing along for months via e-mail to take that African safari walks in to your office with a down payment check and feels she’s handing money to a minor and possibly a delinquent one at that? P.S.: If your colleagues start dressing down when they know your manager won’t be in, don’t follow suit. Keep it swanky, keep luxury real.
7 Posting too much about your personal travels on social media: You want your client to know you’re a savvy world traveler but you don’t want them wondering when the heck you’re going to plan their vacation. You also don’t want them to feel you’re traveling more than they are. People are sensitive.
8 Hanging back in networking sessions because you’re shy: Yeah, you hate that energetic travel advisor who brushes right past you to shake hands with the president of your consortia at the annual meeting, but they’ve got it right and you’ve got it wrong. Being a travel advisor means you’re in sales and that means selling yourself. Come up with some ice breakers you’re comfortable with and use them without hesitation. Google “how to make small talk” if you need help.
9 Assuming the supplier has everything in place and is ready to wow your client: You may have handed your VIPs off to the most amazing tour operator in the world but that doesn’t mean your work is done. Call to go over final details of the itinerary and quiz the supplier just as you have your client. Assume a worse-case scenario when you’re vetting final plans and you’ll be able to sleep much better when their vacation begins.
10 Assuming your client has told you everything you need to know about their trip: Don’t push “enter” on your keyboard to seal the deal until you’ve triple checked departure and arrival dates, the need for accommodations and if your clients really do have valid passports that aren’t about to expire (they accidentally lie about this sometimes). Learn how to press people for details with a sincere smile and phrase things differently each time so they don’t catch on that you don’t trust what they’ve told you.