Travel Counsellors Andy La Gette

Time management for travel agents

Andy La Gette from Travel Counsellors gives his valuable insights on time management.

Effective time management is the bedrock of any successful travel agent or agency. Variety is the bane and the beauty of our industry, with no two days the same. Workload can be seasonal − and if not predictable − it certainly peaks and troughs. The busiest times can leave us not knowing where to start. Quieter times (from what I can remember!) can leave us wondering what to do with our time.

The solution to effective time management is to find a routine and structure. Write daily lists, including a mix of urgent items with less pressing admin and client calls. Keeping in touch with customers is of paramount importance, but it is easy to neglect if it’s not on a list. Replying to enquiries and generally keeping customers in the loop throughout the lifecycle of a booking is one thing, but beyond that, schedule time to keep in touch with those who haven’t contacted you for a while. Reconnect with customers when they least expect it and they will think of you the next time they need to take a well-earned break.

I’ve learnt that while it may feel counterintuitive at the time, building breaks into your schedule saves a lot more time in the long run because a fresh mind is twice as effective, so step back, reassess, and go again.

“Control the controllables”, they say. I agree this is vital but only gets us so far. We are blighted and blessed in equal measure with the unexpected. Short notice trips, late changes, weather disruptions, and dare I say, airline industrial action – things inevitably happen without warning and we need to be ready. Where possible, try not to put things off until tomorrow. Tomorrow may not be as free as you thought. Try to wake up to a clear desk so that you’re ready if and when the next unexpected challenge arises.

Companies as a whole aim to keep one step ahead of the competition, and as a home working travel agent, I strive to keep one step ahead of myself. Plus, when it all feels like it’s getting too much, speak up! There is never any shame in asking for help. Building a safety network of trusted colleagues and a support team around me has proved to be invaluable in increasing my efficiency, and what’s more, resulted in time well spent.

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