IN THE OF­FICE

Selling Travel - - Talking Shop -

Jes­sica Pook speaks to Jenny Jack­son, founder of Lux­ury Travel Gu­rus, about the chal­lenges and re­wards of be­ing a home­worker in an ever-chang­ing travel in­dus­try.

"I have been a home­worker for over 20 years and have built up a client list that re­lies on me to find them the per­fect hol­i­day at the best price.

"As a home­worker you get to know your clients' likes and dis­likes. I of­ten give them a call rather than an email be­cause I feel that the per­sonal touch is paramount.

"I am also a mas­sive ad­vo­cate of on­line train­ing and at­tend­ing events – I gain so much in­for­ma­tion from them.

"My mar­ket is lux­ury and I do feel lux­ury clients tend to be more loyal than 'bucket and spade' clients. That said, I have a rec­om­men­da­tion for ev­ery taste and I have per­son­ally vis­ited ev­ery ho­tel and des­ti­na­tion on my web­site.

"I think trav­ellers are start­ing to come back to travel agents be­cause we do have a wealth of knowl­edge that the in­ter­net just can­not match.

"I will al­ways go above and be­yond to en­sure my clients' hol­i­days are ab­so­lutely per­fect. I like to know how the hol­i­day turned out, the high­lights along with any­thing neg­a­tive."

The strug­gles

"It can be hard some­times as so many of us are not salaried and rely on com­mis­sion once a book­ing is made.

"We are cur­rently see­ing multi-level mar­ket­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions from the U.S. com­ing into our in­dus­try and tak­ing on peo­ple with no ex­pe­ri­ence, which is con­cern­ing. "Over the years we have worked hard to en­sure we com­ply with all the strict guide­lines im­posed by our gov­ern­ing bod­ies, only to see MLM reps fail­ing to con­form.

"The in­ter­net has also proved a mas­sive chal­lenge over the last decade, es­pe­cially when the fi­nal price quoted doesn't in­clude all the el­e­ments of the hol­i­day. Plus, some of the travel com­pa­nies that re­lied on agents prior to the in­ter­net have gone di­rect sell, like Bri­tish Air­ways Hol­i­days and Vir­gin Hol­i­days. In some cases they are sell­ing hol­i­days for less than our net rate."

Look­ing for­ward

"Over the years agents, and es­pe­cially home­work­ers, have been let down by tour op­er­a­tors who un­der­cut their prices to an unattain­able level for agents to com­pete with. Let's go back to the days where we see price par­ity across the board, so we all get a fair chance in this in­dus­try."

In my ex­pe­ri­ence that per­sonal touch is paramount

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