Travel insights from Jennifer Dugan, chief family officer for Dugan’s Travels

Are You Working for Peanuts?

When developing a new agent, the hardest thing to teach is the concept of what the income is on each customer. At first, agents are so eager to take whatever they can get. An airline ticket? Great! Go ahead and charge a $15 fee. If you just entered it into a website and booked it quickly, then a quick profit of $15 is not too bad. The problem is, what if you spent hours talking to this customer? What if this customer calls you ten more times before he or she travels? What if that person has flight problems and wants to speak to you at 2:00 am? We cannot see what is in the future for each customer, but we can protect ourselves by making sure our time is not for peanuts.

It is so important to start tracking how much time you spend on each booking. This means from the initial contact whether it be phone, email or in person. You should always know how much time you have spent to earn that commission so you can break it down to an hourly rate. If you spent three hours on that air ticket customer and broke it down to $5 an hour, would you be happy with that? Now some will say yes, and some will say no. You need to know what your answer is.

How much time do you spend with each customer?

  • Initial contact with customer
  • Research time
  • Proposal of trip time including questions
  • Actual time made booking the reservation
  • Presenting the confirmation and going over it to make sure there are no issues
  • Follow up prior to trip with supplier and client
  • After the trip follow-up

Start keeping timesheet on each customer. You can then build a more accurate picture on how much time is spent and breakdown what you were earning per hour. Do not count on your memory for this. Either start writing it down with pen and paper or start a log on your computer. There are problems and examples if you look online for time sheet by customer or project. Microsoft has a template for one you can download.

Weekly time sheet by client and project

I know this might seem time consuming, but it is so important to decide what types of business you want to take on and how much you should charge for your time. You may decide there are certain travel requests you will just not accept like airline tickets only. It is all about how you value your time and being truthful about what your time is worth.

About the Author

Jennifer Dugan

Jennifer Dugan founded Dugan’s Travels in 1997 with the goal to have a career while being at home with her growing family. Since that time, Jennifer and her team have created a family-friendly host agency where hundreds of agents work to realize the dream of owning a successful home-based travel business. Dugan’s Travels, now a recognized top host agency in the United States, offers comprehensive education and development programs to help agents gain knowledge, establish industry relationships, and build the confidence needed to succeed. When not working tirelessly to put her agents first, Jennifer enjoys spending time in the mountains with her husband and seven children.

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Oct. 02, 2019
Tags: Dugan’s Travels , fees