Uniworld CEO Ellen Bettridge shares her top tips for agents – Travel Weekly

Uniworld CEO Ellen Bettridge shares her top tips for agents – Travel Weekly

Last weeks Cruise360 conference had some fantastic takeaways but our favorite by far was from Ellen Bettridge, CEO of Uniworld.

After the heavily attended State of the Nation panel.Bettridge took to the stage with a powerful message: travel agencies matter now more than ever.

She first highlighted research from the US that showed 60 percent of a surveyed group who had never booked with a travel agent before the pandemic now say they would use one, with the number rising to 80 percent when it comes to international ones Bookings go travelling.

“They’ve learned that if something happens, they need to have someone on the other end of the phone that they can turn to and be there to help them, and that’s what you do,” she said.

“The use of travel agencies is experiencing a resurgence.

“But you have to be visible, you have to actually take some risks and get out of there. And as you are, you have amazing knowledge; You have to get out there and share it.”

Why is Bettridge so passionate about travel agencies? She used to be one.

“And that’s why it’s so important to me. So I feel very comfortable giving you my tips,” she said.

Here are her top four tips for travel agency success:

1. Ask your customers what they want from their vacation.

“You have to make sure you ask your client the most important question: what do you want out of your vacation?” she said.

“Make sure you give them the right experience. If you do, they will come back to you.

“If you don’t do this, they won’t come to you for advice, not just to complete a transaction.”

2. Find out who else they have sailed with

“Ask your customers: Who did you last sail with? Did you like the experience? Was this all inclusive? Is that important to you?” Bettridge continued.

“These are the questions you need to ask to make sure you’re giving them the right experience.”

3. Selling cruises should be an important part of your business model

“Cruise sales must be part of your model. See, we’re all in this to make money, right?” she said.

“You lost the commissions you got from airlines where, like cruises, you sell a package. One thing, it’s easy, done, you just check in with your guests, you give them their documents, they go on vacation, you don’t keep track of every little hotel and everything along the way to make sure it’s done.

“You just have to get them off the plane and get on the cruise. And you will earn some incredible commissions.”


Bettridge’s last piece of advice, however, was her best;

“Remember, you provide great service and you must ask for a recommendation,” she concluded.

“People will be looking for a travel consultant because their consultant has retired or decided to go out of business. When you are here, you must ask for this transfer.

“Ask while you’re in the middle of the transaction while getting them excited about what they’re doing. That’s when you ask for the transfer.

“And then thank them for the recommendation. You know, you can give them a sentimental handwritten note or send them flowers because you know that little things like that will make all the difference in the world.”