Guy Young

Guy Young, Chief Engagement Officer, The Travel Corporation.

MailPound: How did you decide to pursue a career in the travel industry?

Guy: I always loved the idea of being in the hospitality industry and I took my very first job working as a front desk agent at a Days Inn hotel in Southern California. I worked my way up through the ranks, eventually taking on a role as a Regional Vice President of Operations for a group of hotels in Orlando, Florida. In 2000, I was very fortunate to be recruited to take on a senior role for The Travel Corporation where I have spent the last 18 years. I have spent most of my career on the leisure side of the business where, through the many brands at The Travel Corporation we get to offer wonderful, and in some cases life changing experiences, for travelers all over the world.

MailPound: In your experience over the past 18 years with The Travel Corporation, what would you say are the most important traits of a successful travel agent?

Guy: Many advisors get into the travel business because they love travel and there is a relatively low cost of entry to become a travel advisor or to own your own agency. Being successful though does require hard work and resourcefulness. We live in a very competitive world and it is not easy to find and retain clients. Successful advisors do not take their clients for granted. Being on the supplier side, it is always fascinating to see how often clients will move from one agency to another. To retain a client’s loyalty you have to listen and understand what travel experience is going to best match the client’s requirements (and this may be different to what they originally had in mind); you must work with reliable partners who you know can consistently deliver an outstanding holiday experience; and perhaps most importantly you must always stay in touch with your clients and never simply assume that they will book their next holiday experience with you. While it is always good to be sourcing new clients, never neglect or take for granted your existing clients. My experience is that successful advisors have a very solid base of repeat clients.

MailPound: What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing travel professionals today?

Guy: The amount of information available today on the internet can be overwhelming. While this presents a challenge, it is also a fantastic opportunity for advisors. It is interesting to me that despite the continued rise and usage of the internet, the travel agency channel has enjoyed enormous success over the last several years. As clients become overwhelmed with information, now more than ever they need the advice of a professional travel advisor. A good travel advisor will either personally know the destination and the best and most reliable suppliers or, through their peers and tools provided by the consortia/host agency, can quickly access this information. This will save their clients a considerable amount of time and, if working with the right suppliers who value and respect the agency channel, advisors will access pricing that is as good or better than what a client can find on their own.

MailPound: How do you maintain your daily motivation and inspiration despite obstacles or setbacks?

Guy: It is always important to remember that setbacks are part of life and the best thing we can do is use setbacks as a learning opportunity. It is an opportunity to do things differently - and better - the next time around. One must never lose sight of how lucky we are to work in an incredible industry where our job is to help make travel dreams come true. I have received so many wonderful letters from guests about their travel experiences on our brands; receiving and reading this feedback is all the motivation I need!

MailPound: What can the travel agents learn and experience on TTC Agent Academy?

Guy: Education is a very important part of being a successful travel advisor. Our brands require the advice of a good travel advisor who can help clients understand the incredible value that one can get on a guided vacation or a river cruise. In fact, 90% of our business is done through travel advisors and so it is critical for us that advisors understand the unique selling points of our brands and how best to work with us. The TTC Agent Academy is an on-line training currently available for many of our brands, including Trafalgar, Insight, Uniworld, Contiki and African Travel. The Agent Academy is designed to be educational and fun and the beauty is that with one single sign on you can access all of the brands.

MailPound: What are some fun facts about yourself?

Guy: I have been fortunate to live in four different countries – so far. South Africa, France, Canada and the United States. This has given me the wonderful opportunity to experience different cultures and is an important reason why I love to travel. My wife and two kids also love to travel and – to date – their favorite travel experience was a Trafalgar guided vacation of England and Scotland.