Agent Diary: ‘We’ve been busy laying down plans for the coming lates season’

Some of my team won’t have experienced ‘second peaks’, so prepping them will be vital, says Hays Travel Gateshead branch manager Colin Burns

Howdy, partners! May I begin this week by offering my sincere apologies to anyone who I “accidentally shot” with Sourz Apple drink at the recent Geordie Ball hoedown?

What a great event this was and, as the name suggests, we had a country and western theme at the Grand Hotel Gosforth Park in Newcastle.

I had spent 40 minutes randomly shooting my water pistol at other guests and was even on to a second gun before I was informed that they contained Sourz Apple

In keeping with this theme, my hosts for the evening – the lovely Ryan Readman and Louise Tansey of Ambassador Cruise Line – provided us with water pistols for a bit of fun.

Unfortunately, I had spent 40 minutes randomly shooting my water pistol at other guests and was even on to a second gun before I was informed that they contained Sourz Apple and not water!

Still, it was a great night and so good to catch up with everyone.

Positive outlook

I spoke to a few colleagues who said they had taken some comfort from my most recent Agent Diary article. I’d written about January not being as busy as we had expected, and some of them had worried that it was only they who were missing out.

However, all were speaking positively about February and early‑March trading, so hopefully it was just a sign of changing trends.

At our managers’ meeting last week, we spent some time laying down plans for the coming lates season or ‘second peak’.

It occurred to me that neither Harvie, Sophie nor Beth in my team will have experienced a good old-fashioned lates season before

What will our windows look like? What will we include on our social media pages? How will we make sure we create the urgency to book a deal as soon as we find it, so customers don’t miss out?

And, most importantly, how will we make sure every customer gets the best service from our teams?

It occurred to me that neither Harvie, Sophie nor Beth in my team will have experienced a good old-fashioned lates season before, and prepping them about what they could expect will be vital.

Will we see a big return of those “any time, any place, anywhere” customers – like the old Martini slogan – and, if so, how will they handle that and make sure they give a service that will secure them a booking?

Same priorities

My advice to the team has been that these customers are no different to any other.

They have come to us for help in finding a holiday that is right for them and our job is to ask the right questions, establish the customers’ priorities and then find them something suitable.

To save any confusion, I’ve also told them that if any customers come in asking for a “cancellation”, they just mean a late deal.

Our job is to ask the right questions, establish the customers’ priorities and then find them something suitable

So, as far as I’m concerned, service will still be the biggest differential between us and our competitors on the high street and online and, if we get it right, I’m confident we will be fine.

Anyway, it’s time to go and saddle up and get ready for that ride through the rugged terrain of the second peak of our year.

My pistols are loaded with patience and perseverance – and my posse is prepared and ready to avoid those cactus spikes and loose rocks that might get in the way.

Yee-haa!


Kirsty spreads some sunshine

We celebrate our service excellence at Hays Travel with our Be the Sunshine programme, whereby colleagues are rewarded for going above and beyond. Our Kirsty was a regional winner in February after I nominated her for helping a family who wanted a Christmas trip to Lapland. One child was a wheelchair user, so the customer was unsure how suitable the accommodation and attractions would be. Kirsty spent weeks speaking with Tui’s assisted travel service, who liaised with their resort office to ensure the little girl would get the best possible experience. When everyone was happy, Kirsty confirmed the booking.

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