A combination of solid staff training and scheduling special travel
events for clients has helped Mann Travel & Cruises
successfully sell New York City to its customers, according to
Katie Lundy, manager of the agency's Raleigh, N.C., office.
Her tips for agents who want to increase their sales to the Big
Apple include picking a good wholesaler, comparing suppliers' rates
and staying on top of developments in New York.
"We read the major New York publications regularly to see what
shows are playing and to find out what are the new restaurants. We
also [access] the shows in our computer so we can discuss them with
Lundy also advises agents that in New York, timing is
"You have to be aware of the times of the year when the city is
hard to book, like Christmas," she says.
"We all go to educational seminars, but we also hold special
nights for clients in our office," she says.
"We have wholesalers, like Tauck Tours [800-468-2825], attending
these nights who participate with us [handing out brochures,
etc.]," adds Lundy. In addition to spotlighting particular travel
destinations, like New York, some evenings are themed to special
topics, such as cruises.
"We let our clients know about these travel nights by
advertising in the local newspaper," says Lundy, who adds that
she's a big believer, in general, of the power of advertising. "Our
agency not only advertises in the local paper, but also on TV."
Similarly, Mann Travel's executives are strong proponents of
continuing professional training.
"Even though we're all sales experts, our general manager
recently heard about an intensive travel-related sales course and
enrolled us," says Lundy.
Lee Perry, travel counselor for American Express Platinum Travel
in Jacksonville, Fla., says that the agency has developed certain
programs to deal with its very high-end clients (American Express
Platinum Card members).
"We work with several hotels in New York with whom we have
negotiated special rates, based on volume, and where we can get
upgrades, for instance, early check-in, late check-out, breakfast,
etc. These are generally negotiated with four- and five-star
Frequent fam trips to the Big Apple (and, in Perry's case, the
fact that she lived there for a while) have helped her to sell the
city to her upscale clients.
Like Mann Travel, American Express Platinum Travel also provides
a solid mix of staff training and client-oriented travel programs,
"We often have airlines and hotels come to our office and do
presentations for our clients. They bring along a lot of useful
literature, promotional materials and give-aways."