Amanda Matthews, owner and managing, director, Designer Travel

Sometimes as a travel agent you feel like the industry undervalues your time, skills and the strong relationships you have with your clients.

Online discounting, ‘computer says no’ attitudes, suppliers and hotels encouraging your clients to book with them directly – the list goes on.

However, on a recent family holiday in Mauritius I witnessed hotels truly going out of their way to show how much travel agents really do mean to them.

Trade service

Firstly, most of the hotels in Mauritius go out of their way to offer the trade special rates as they understand the value of an agent seeing their island and experiencing their properties at first hand.

I was lucky enough to visit Beachcomber’s Trou aux Biches and the Heritage Le Telfair and I can now say I am a fan of both – and Mauritius itself.

I took the opportunity to meet with Stephane, the general manager at Le Telfair.

We took time out to discuss business and he listened and asked for lots of feedback; he was genuinely interested in how things worked in the UK.

I welcomed his approach to looking after clients and about working together with one objective: to ensure our mutual clients have a fantastic holiday at a competitive price.

I went on to mention that I had some of my own clients arriving while I was in resort. Stephane gave me a blank card and asked me to write a welcome message for my clients. He then took the details of my clients, made a few phone calls and said to leave it with him.

The day before my clients were due to arrive he informed me that he had upgraded their room and arranged a welcome gift.

He also had one of his team notify me when the clients arrived so I could meet them on arrival.

The following evening, at my request, he had arranged for us all to have dinner in the hotel’s stunning Asian restaurant – the setting and service were incredible.

Let’s just say that my clients were truly impressed, and they witnessed the true value of a good travel agent.

It made me feel like a key part of the holiday chain again. And in return, the hotel will have an advocate in me and Designer Travel will without doubt be recommending lots of clients to the hotel. Thank you to Stephane and the Le Telfair team.

Lasting partnerships

As this experience shows, small gestures go a long way in this industry. Working together and valuing what each of us bring to the table is critical in building strong and lasting partnerships.

Good travel agents know their clients, know what they like and have the power to make recommendations that clients
will trust.

Don’t underestimate what can be achieved when you make agents feel like a valued part of the chain.