Knowledgeable, passionate sellers are still best at making bookings, says Miles Morgan, managing director of Miles Morgan Travel

Having returned from the ITT Conference in Sorrento, I am pumped and ready to go, buoyed with new ideas and enthusiasm generated from simply mixing with fellow travel professionals and seeing such a great destination.

My high street retail company generates business from walk-ins and, increasingly, digital media. It remains very much about the people – the stars I have in my 15 branches.

It was interesting that David Burling’s excellent presentation at the conference focused very much on a digital future for Tui. But Dave conceded no algorithm could beat Tui’s top-selling high street agent. Why?

Enthusiasm and excitement

The key for the retail guy is to do what the new world of machine‑learning creatures can’t: excite, inspire and enthuse with knowledge.

Yes, the future – virtual reality, video fly-throughs of hotels and cruise ships, and the like – is very sexy, but these things lack the essential ingredients of passion and enthusiasm.

These are what the local agent offers, together with the ability to explain why it suits the client, which is the biggest single factor to ensure a great holiday.

I often say to our team that we have to inspire our clients to travel.

Having recently been lucky enough to fly Etihad business class on the stunning A380 and then its Dreamliner, I could go on and on about the experience and why it is such a great choice for a client and worth the extra money.

I could do likewise about the beautiful city of Sorrento from my ITT trip. This sort of passion does a number of jobs: it ensures your clients know that you ‘know your stuff’, it secures a booking and, finally, it vastly reduces any talk of discounts.

The client is so bought into the whole experience, the price comes second to their stunning holiday.

We sometimes forget people save all year for their holiday and, while price is important, getting the right holiday should outweigh anything else.

Matching that client to the right holiday also ensures your repeat business stays high.

Fam trip tips

I therefore say to operators, airlines and tourist boards, keep those educationals coming. They are vital to all this.

A few suggestions. Airlines, how about offering business class one way when seats are available?

Don’t let internal politics stop you – it is not a cost that has to go against someone’s budget, though often it does. When seats are empty, I always think it is a lost opportunity they are not filled.

Operators, seeing hotels is crucial, but to get staff enthused make sure enough of the trip is looking around the resort or destination.

Hoteliers, the opportunity these staff trips offer is immense; open your doors to as many as possible and reap the benefits.

So, congrats to Tui’s top-selling agent in the UK, Billy from Basildon (not sure he was from Basildon!).

He certainly proves yet again the life of the agent will not just exist but thrive in the years to come.

To do so, you need to know your clients well and certainly ‘know your stuff’ when selecting suitable holidays.

Passion for the dreams we sell will always shine through. I am so lucky to have that at Miles Morgan Travel in spades. Our success says it all.