Mark Tanzer

Mark Tanzer

As the countdown to the traditional late sales season approaches, it’s a good time to remind Members about the online training that ABTA has developed to help sales staff to have conversations with their customers about subjects that might be difficult, but are nonetheless very important: whether that’s about vaccinations and medical advice, or safety and security.

Every year, we see destinations or holidaymakers feature in the media headlines for the wrong reasons and while a travel company can’t necessarily stop these incidents happening, they can speak to their customers about what they need to be aware of, and what they should prepare for, before they travel.  While travel agents or tour operators may not have all the answers, it’s important to make customers aware of the best and most up to date source of travel advice – the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO).

We listened to Members’ requests for support and guidance about how and when to raise the matter of FCO travel advice. Working closely with the FCO, we developed a new practical online trainingfor free, to support staff on how to talk to customers about the availability of FCO travel advice and how to respond to difficult questions customers sometimes may have about their destination. Members can access the training either through ABTA’s new education and careers hub or directly at www.abtaknowledgezone.co.uk/login/.

The training itself should only take around 20 minutes to complete, is very practical and uses real experiences from frontline sales staff to illustrate best practice in providing FCO information over the phone and face-to-face. There is also a short animation with examples of how to deliver this advice. It also offers guidelines on how to make FCO website information clear and visible in both online and print materials. 

Since the module was launched earlier in the year, we have had positive feedback from frontline sales staff who have already completed it. We would encourage all of our Members’ staff to take part in this training to help customers to travel with confidence this year.

Separately, I’m delighted to announce that Early Bird Registration is now open for the Travel Convention 2018, which will take place from October 8-10 in the wonderful city of Seville. The Early Bird offer, which is available until 29 June, starts from £505 + VAT for ABTA Members and Partners and I urge delegates to take advantage of the reduced registration fees. With Truth, Trust and the Future of the Expert as its theme, the business programme is designed to provide ABTA Members and the wider industry with a broad spectrum of insights designed to help them shape the travel industry of tomorrow. To find out more, visit www.thetravelconvention.com.