Fora HQ and advisors on a 2022 Las Vegas FAM trip
Being a travel advisor is all about passion, people skills and proactivity (couldn’t resist the alliteration). But beyond the chops and training, there are tons of practices, maxims, habits & hacks that make a travel advisor successful.
We turned to our Fora Advisors — the best in the biz, if we do say so ourselves — to advise on their strategies for being a successful travel advisor. Read on for their tried-and-true tips.
Like what you see? Learn more about becoming a Fora Advisor today.
1. Invest in getting to know your client
Fora Advisor Gaya Vinay
While it may be tempting to jump into planning mode and wow your client with travel suggestions, it’s important to get acquainted with your traveler first. Travel advising is a people-focused business, so client relationships are everything.
“Really get to know your client and curate their travel experience exactly to their preferences and needs,” said Fora Advisor Kristyne Wada.
Take time to learn about your clients' travel style, what types of trips they have loved, hotel vibes they prefer, activities they enjoy — the works. That way, you can tailor your suggestions accurately (and eventually save you both time!).
This process can begin with a phone call.
“The most important step is to have the initial conversation — phone, zoom or in person — and discover what it is that your client needs to have an amazing experience,” said Fora Advisor Katie McAvoy.
“Talking to someone for 20 minutes makes a huge difference in understanding their needs!” Katie added.
2. Do your research
Fora Advisor and HQ member Swaylah Faroqi
…One more time for the people in the back!
Doing your due diligence to research a destination, hotel and all the nuts and bolts of a trip itinerary is the best way to level up as a travel advisor (and look amazing to your clients).
Research is crucial, especially when making recommendations to clients and booking on their behalf. Look at photos, read reviews, double check the details and source community intel. You’ll thank us later.
“When starting to plan a full itinerary trip, I plot all the hotels I’m considering on a Google Map to better visualize which hotels are in the best locations for my client's interest,” said Fora Advisor Elizabeth Kaczka.
“So far I’ve mapped out my favorite hotels in almost 40 countries!" Elizabeth added.
Doing your homework can also mean reaching out for clarification.
“If I’m planning a trip to a destination I’ve never visited or a hotel I’m not familiar with, I reach out to the hotel directly,” said Elizabeth.
“I ask what a typical length of stay is. The hotels will give you a general idea of how guests spend their time at each location so you can customize guests’ stay based on how much they’d like to explore,” she said.
3. Lean into community intel
A Fora cohort training session
It’s a great idea to validate your research with support from the community. As a Fora Advisor, you get access to mentorship from industry experts and a network of fellow advisors.
“Stay active in Forum, Fora’s community app,” said Fora Advisor Taylor Votaw.
“It’s a great tool for both for your own personal travel recommendations and for gaining travel knowledge from fellow advisors," Taylor added. "I have learned so much valuable information from fully utilizing this resource!”
Fora's weekly destination trainings are also an important resource.
“Fora offers tons of destination trainings and opportunities to get to know suppliers from all over the world,” said Fora Advisor Kelsey Morita.
“Being present at these trainings gives you incredible insight into destinations, even if you've never personally been there!” she said.
4. Stay organized
Fora Advisor Fallon Alexandria
The most successful travel advisors are the most organized ones (we don’t make the rules). With so many logistics involved in trip planning, staying on top of the details and arrangements is a crucial part of any trip’s success.
“Organization is key,” said Fora Advisor Jennifer Schwartz.
“Whether it be an agenda, to-do or task lists, come up with a system that works for you and stick to it!” she added.
Staying organized also means making use of systems and resources — like Fora’s booking platform and marketing templates (more on that below) — to maximize productivity.
“As you become a seasoned travel advisor, you have to work smarter, not harder,” said Fora Advisor Timadge Berkhadley.
She recommends diligent notes.
“You should keep a running list of hotels / DMCs that you've connected with. I typically write notes for each so that if I ever need to find a hotel I can quickly refer to that, rather than feeling like I have to start from scratch.”
Learn more about why travel advisors love DMCs.
5. Leverage and engage with your network
Fora Advisors networking with suppliers at Live Forum 2022
When it comes to finding clients, Fora Advisor Paola Najjar said it best: “Leverage your network! Family and friends can be your clients and biggest supporters.”
“Reach out to people you already know via social media, email, travel Facebook groups and when out with friends / family,” Fora Advisor Aparna Rathod echoed.
Beyond reaching new clients, it’s important to stay engaged with your network and ensure they feel the love. Fora provides easy-to-use email templates to share with your network, like monthly seasonal travel recommendations and deals. Templates are a great way to ensure a professional look for your travel business and to streamline your marketing.
Aparna recommended adding value by providing clients with useful information.
“Educate people on the advantages of using a travel advisor, using examples from previous bookings. Learn how to maximize credit card points for clients with travel cards. You can utilize those skills to get the most bang for their buck!” Aparna said.
Want more marketing tips? Check out our guide to marketing your travel business like a pro.
6. Prioritize thoughtful touches
“My best tip is to pay attention to the little details,” Fora Advisor Nataliya Gowan said.
Advisor Kristyne Wada advised: “Do whatever you can to make your client’s trip a little extra special, whether that’s a welcome note, a sweet amenity or experience. Remember that these trips will be some of your clients' biggest life memories!”
Nataliya recommends reaching out to the hotel directly.
“Take the time to talk with reservations and concierge about a client, even if you are not expecting any specific perks,” she said. “Hotels can sometimes roll out the red carpet for the clients you tell them about.”
7. Never stop learning
Fora HQ and advisors on a 2022 Cape Cod FAM trip
“My #1 tip is to keep traveling!” said Fora Advisor Nicole Ciehoski.
“When you're in a new destination, check out a few hotels, tours and restaurants and log everything you experienced, whether good or bad,” Nicole added.
Even if you’re not actively planning a trip, it’s a great idea to stay curious and engaged.
Like what you see? Learn more about becoming a Fora Advisor today.