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Agent Diary: ‘Negativity can get you down, but fam trips and award nominations help’

Our job can be frustrating at times, but fam trips – and award nominations – make it all worthwhile says Ponders Travel managing director Clare Dudley

Literally everyone I speak to in travel at the moment is having a moan about the lengthy phone queues, the delays in getting answers and the volume of administration enquiries that take up so much of our valuable time.

All this negativity can get you down, kill your mojo and make you question why you love being a travel agent so much.

But I was served a timely reminder of why we all do what we do when one of the girls from the team travelled to the Advantage conference in Madeira and attended pre and post-event fams courtesy of Classic Collection Holidays and ITC.

All this negativity can get you down, kill your mojo and make you question why you love being a travel agent so much

Two days into Millie’s first fam, with Classic, she sent a message to thank me for letting her go and saying it was “just what I needed”.

Then as the Advantage conference began and Millie was learning about all that the consortium has to offer, alongside motivational and business-driven talks, I got another text saying she’d “fallen in love with travel again”. It really put a smile on my face.

Personal touch

Did we as an agency make the most of these trips? Absolutely – even if it was just the little touches that Millie put in place while she was out there for a client who was travelling to Madeira a week after her return.

Millie had gone out of her way to reserve her client the best table at a restaurant she knew they would like because she wanted them to enjoy the same incredible views she had. She also called the client to share her excitement and let them know what they had in store, having experienced the beautiful island first-hand. The client was blown away by this personal touch.

Millie had gone out of her way to reserve her client the best table at a restaurant because she wanted them to enjoy the same incredible views she had

Not only that, but we now also have a Madeira expert in our team, when before none of us knew much about the island at all.

Millie also learnt so much from the Advantage Conference that we can use as an agency to grow, and she had the chance to network with so many faces in travel both old and new, making invaluable connections. This combination of factors meant sending Millie out of the office for a week was most definitely worth it, even if it did leave us a little short.

Award nominations

Last week, during a difficult day due to various systems being down, we got a letter in the post to say that our very valuable employee Megan had been shortlisted in Travel Weekly’s Agent Achievement Awards.

This recognition sure did surprise our little unsung hero and made us all even more proud of the superstar, who works tirelessly around the clock to ensure all our clients have a wonderful holiday. But she does so much more besides, and that is what this nomination is all about. Watch this space, we might just have a winner on our hands…

We got a letter in the post to say that our very valuable employee Megan had been shortlisted in Travel Weekly’s Agent Achievement Awards

And it would appear award nominations are like London buses, as after Megan found out she had been shortlisted, we learnt we had been nominated for accolades elsewhere for our cruise expertise.

The industry is facing lots of challenges, but this makes all the hard work worth it and is a timely reminder that we’re all doing the right things. We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for a hat-trick of wins.


SHUTTERSTOCK social media

Spotlight on young talent

I simply had to share this. My step-granddaughter came to the shop the other day as she was a little bored during the school holidays. I was worried she would be even more bored with us in the shop but, goodness, she proved me wrong. She’s only 11 years old but I see a bright shining star on the horizon. Rosie took the most incredible video of the Ponders store and added a voiceover that blew my mind! It was so good I would have happily paid good money for it. I, for one, will be keeping an eye open for all the young talent that is out there, and will do all I can to learn from them.

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