Welcome to the Elite Travel Family.
You have joined a family that has lived and breathed travel, for some, their whole life.
Members of the Elite Travel family have intimate knowledge based on their own travel experiences and can make personal recommendations on hotels, cities and tours all over the world. One of the many advantages of joining Elite’s Host Program is the ability to tap into that wealth of knowledge. If you have a client that is asking about a region that you may have not visited, reach out to one of your fellow agents in our Private Facebook Group, Team ELITE Travel Lounge, Be sure to join if you haven’t done so already! They will be glad to jump in and help with suggestions and advice for you to pass on to your clients. We will have members of our staff monitoring and engaging in the group as well! We just ask that anything that is policy related be directed to support@EliteTravelTAP.com so that you get accurate information.
We also rely on client’s feedback after their trip so we can use that information to expand our own knowledge base. Feel free to pass on both positive and negative feedback about locations and suppliers to the ETC staff so that we can correct, improve or just plain ole THANK those people for providing a great experience!
Our goal is to help you, as a new member of our team, to be successful in providing your clients, friends, family, neighbors and business associates with the ultimate in service.
WHERE TO START
Be sure you have sent us the following so we can set you up in our systems. You cannot begin booking any trips until this paperwork has been submitted to us.
INDEPENDENT TRAVEL CONSULTANT AGREEMENT – You should have already submitted this to us but in case you haven’t just click and you will be directed to the agreement to sign. You’ll also be able to access the following 2 forms we also need from you at the bottom of this agreement.
W9 – Please fill this out and submit to us as soon as possible. If you ever change your business name or any other information, you are responsible for submitting a new form to us immediately upon the change. Without this, we cannot pay you your commissions nor will your 1099’s be sent to the right name/address if incorrect.
**It is highly suggested that you set up a company (an LLC or S Corp – speak with your accountant or financial planner for what’s best for your situation). It’s best you do this before setting up your account with us to avoid extra work on both your part and ours in changing your information. If you need assistance with this process, please call us at 561-447-8869 ext. 2004 to discuss your options.
DIRECT DEPOSIT FORM
Please make sure your Direct Deposit form is filled in accurately and provide a clear copy of a VOIDED check so that we can verify. You can use the link above if you ever need to change your direct deposit information as well or you can fill it out electronically here. We are not responsible for misdirected payments should your bank information change. You must submit this to us as soon as possible after the change has taken place.
Once we have received all three of these items, based on your membership selection, you will now be able to begin receiving commissions. Please allow 48 hours for changes to take place.
You should be receiving emails (separately) regarding:
- Activation and access to your CRM. Please immediately activate your account when you receive the email.
- AgentUniverse (Travel Leaders Network) This will be an INVITE that you MUST respond to. You will then have to visit the website and create your Agent Profile. You will then be given automatic access to CruisePro,
- PinSIGHT – You will receive an Invite from us and then it will be followed up with access to the site either directly or through AgentUniverse website
- AirPROPrime – You will also receive an invite from us which will allow access to this tool.
Please also note that you need to file for your Florida Seller of Travel Exemption letter. This is something that needs to be filed annually by all Independent Travel Agents under Elite Travel. You can file online here or print out and send in via snail mail here. Be sure to do this within 30 days of signing up and then send us a copy of the letter you receive so that we can keep it in your file.
SIGN UP FOR SUPPLIERS
Visit each of the supplier pages for instructions on how to access their front end sites as well as any Travel Agent Only booking sites. Please read instructions for each carefully as they vary for each supplier. If you have any questions or are unclear about signing up for a vendor’s site, please email us at support@EliteTravelTAP.com.
We suggest you sign up immediately for the ones you think you may be using and then over time, you can sign up for the remainder.
If required to contact us to register for any supplier, please note that we will only allow up to three(3) requests per day per agent for supplier signups as this can take up a considerable amount of our time.
DO NOT sign up as an agency as WE are the AGENCY on record (that is why you get to use our IATAN credentials). You are the Agent. You will ALWAYS use our address and phone number unless they specifically ask for your address or a secondary number.
We have Basic Training on our systems available to you both through our site, through TravelESolutions (TESS) and through Travel Leaders Network (LMS). We will be adding as we progress.
- Your clients will fit into 3 different categories
- The Seasoned Traveler – They KNOW what they want and most likely have already done all the research. “Please just book these flights and/or hotel”. That’s what they want. But we can offer them the peace of mind knowing its all being taken care of.
- The Shopper – They know generally where they want to go and are looking for best options based on price, location, amenities etc. We have all state of the art tools and access to suppliers to accomplish this. When someone begins by saying “I want the cheapest…” or “I found a better price on ….” be careful and re-qualify the client making sure they are indeed ready to book with you. The worst kind of “shopper” is the one who is just shopping price and not caring about the service you are providing. Those will most likely be wasting your time.
- The “Take Me Away” Client – They just want to go on vacation but need ideas on where should they go. Here’s where our skills kick in. We ask the appropriate questions (Qualifying Questionnaire) and have the means to give them multiple options that fit their needs.
The more we know about our clients, the better we can serve them. It will make it easier to suggest options and accommodate their preferences. If we know they are avid golfer, then suggesting resorts with a course may be more appealing to a client for their vacation than one that does not.
Regardless of whether they are booking a weekend in Vegas or a week in Paris, it is best to use the following 4 steps to ensure you have successfully exceeded your client’s expectations.
Throughout this webste you will see forms that are linked. These are forms you can use by signing up for an account with Cognito Forms
In addition, you can also use these forms created with Cognito for your use:
- Client Travel Questionnaire
- Additional Traveler Fact Sheet
- Important Travel Information (you can find this in your CRM under Templates)
It is important that you communicate often with your client so that it is clear of what they need to know and do and to let them know which is our responsibility and which is theirs. Making a mistake can be costly for both the client and the travel agent.
This is just a basic introduction to the client to our company along with what can be a customized introduction message from you. You can create your own and add it to your CRM templates or use any shared samples that may be listed (Advanced package only).
Agent Client Notes and Questionnaire
The more you know about your client, the better you serve and anticipate your client’s needs. Does your client prefer aisle seat or window, must all flights be direct, rooms with two queen beds or a king, smoking or non-smoking, hotels near the airport or downtown, are you ok renting cars or do you need a car service, does the hotel need to have a gym, pool, Wi-Fi, etc.
You can store all this info within your Client’s profile in your CRM.
Client Travel Questionnaire (Qualifying Questionnaire)
This the information that you need to go ahead and doing research and make bookings for your clients. We need as much information as we can get regarding budget, likes/dislikes, preferenced suppliers, etc.
We also need for them to supply us with their personal information as well as the information of those traveling with them. Remember that we should ALWAYS get their name as it is on their passports. Asking someone ‘Is that your legal name?” or “What name do you go by?” is very different than specifically asking “What is your name EXACTLY AS IT APPEARS on your passport?” Always get middle name or initial as well. Name changes made to bookings already paid for can be costly, and in some case may prevent travel.
In most instances, bookings will be made under one name however the client will be traveling with friends, business colleagues or family. Not only would you need full names if flights are involved but many other resorts also require information on all travelers. You’ll need names and ages for Cruise lines bookings and Disney Resorts. If multiple travelers are not in the same family, you may send each a form. They do not all have to be on one.
In many instances, you’ll be dealing with your client’s credit card information to make payments to third parties on their behalf. Payments can never be taken from clients directly and then paid for by you, the Agent. Client bookings must always be made directly to the vendors using their preferred method of payment. You are NEVER to make a payment on a client’s behalf. This could result in a legal situation resulting from non payment to issues with insurance along with a host of many other problems. If you have any situations arising where this may be in question, please contact us at support@ElilteTravelTAP.com
There are waivers we need for a few things.
WAIVER #1 – This is to be sure that all their information is correct.
Please check the attached information upon receipt and verify all information is correct. [YOUR AGENCY NAME] will not be responsible for omissions or errors if not brought to my attention immediately. Payment must be received by the due date to avoid vendor cancellation.
Another thing we like to put on all of our correspondence (or some version of this) is:
“DOCUMENTATION: U.S. citizens travelling to any destination outside of the United States will be required to present a valid U.S. passport. Passports must be valid for 6 months past the return date. Some countries require a visa for transit or entry. Passengers are responsible to ensure that they have all the proper documents for entry. All names on documents must match the legal name on your photo I.D., and travel document information must match tickets. Please check the State Department website at https://travel.state.gov for further information. Immunizations may also be required. Failure to comply with these regulations may result in denied boarding, denied entry, and/or government imposed fines. If you are a citizen of another country, there may be additional requirements. Check with the nearest consulate or embassy of the destination you are travelling to and find out the entry requirements for non-U.S. citizens
Waiver #2 TRAVEL INSURANCE WAIVER – This indicates that we have offered insurance to the client and explained the need for it. They need to either accept or decline insurance.
Things happen, we all know that. The way to minimize the impact of sudden illness, bad weather lost baggage is for the client to take out Travel Insurance. ETC has a deal in place with a trusted seller of travel insurance that you can offer to your client. It is highly recommended that you offer the insurance to all clients for all trips.You are the travel expert, that’s your value. Part of being the expert is letting clients know travel insurance exists and the risks involved if they decline insurance.
Sample travel insurance waiver:
“I assume and understand that there is a risk involved with my travel and my travel activities and/or excursions. I acknowledge that I was informed about my options but I declined the insurance.”
The best thing to do is to email a quote through the insurance company’s website so you have an electronic paper trail insurance was offered. Since they usually have an option to send reminder emails, it increases not only your paper trail, but also the likelihood they’ll purchase insurance.
And some words of advice from travel insurance companies that want to protect you against travel insurance licensing problems? When communicating (verbal or written) with clients, offer/recommend travel insurance; do not sell travel insurance. Repeat after me: I am a travel expert, not an insurance expert.
It’s important to not keep the client waiting more than 24-48 to give them a quote. Don’t worry if the itinerary needs some tweaking or the price is a bit out of their budget. It’s important to keep the client up to date with the progress you are making with their trip/vacation. Communicate pricing that you are finding by offering no more than 2 or 3 choices. You must also make it very clear that pricing fluctuates on a daily basis and nothing is final till the booking deposit or full payment. It is our experience to offer no more than the 3 best options based on their information.
The best place to start doing your research is finding out which suppliers specialize in the destination or type of vacation your client is requesting. Then feel free to use our Private Facebook Group to see if anyone has any recommendations regarding the destination or the supplier you are researching. Once you have done that, it’s best to obtain quotes from various sources…and even search the OTAs (online travel agents like Expedia TAAP, etc.) to make sure you dont’ find a price that they can get for less.
It’s also important as you obtain quotes and pricing to make sure the rates you are receiving are commissionable. We can’t stress this enough. Whether you are using a recommended supplier or not, sometimes they may have special rates or “partial” rates that are NOT commissionable. We must introduce ourselves as Travel Agents and then ask if the rate we are being quoted is commissionable.
Remember, you get paid based on the commissions generated. You don’t work for free and in most cases, your client doesn’t expect you too. If you are working with a supplier who is not on our preferred Supplier list, it is your responsibility to find out what the commission structure is and how it is paid out to the agency then let us know. We would prefer if you’d contact us first before committing to any vendor we have not yet vetted or signed up for as we may know of a particular issue with that client. You are, of course, free to choose whichever supplier you’d like, but it is YOU who is ultimately responsible for hunting down your commission from the vendor. If we have to do it, this will incur a charge to you.
For several of the companies you will be working with to get pricing, Elite Travel Concierge is already registered so once confirmed that a rate is commissionable, the process for us to receive payment is already in place.
- Communicate flight times to ensure they fit within their plans.
- Some people are willing to pay a little more to not have a 6:00 am flight.
- If they have a layover, how long is it?
- Is there enough time in between to catch their next flight?
- Are there options at the airport to check into an airlines lounge area if the length of layover is excessive?
- Does the hotel have airport shuttle service to the airport and would that be cheaper than. Do they want their hotel to be near a shopping area or on the beach?
Proposals / Itineraries / Invoicing
Your CRM provides you with the tools do to proposals, invoicing and itineraries. Some supplier sites also provide you with a tool to provide proposals. Here are some tips you should follow if using a suppliers proposals:
- Always use YOUR email address so that the proposal is sent to you and you can then forward to your client from your business email address.
- Make sure the proposal has your contact information on it before forwarding
- Be sure that you have indicated that they must respond to the waiver claiming they have read everything and it is all correct BEFORE YOU BOOK
- Be sure to include the content stating that pricing fluctuates and nothing is guaranteed until booked.
- Be sure you have offered them insurance and they sign waiver stating they ACCEPT insurance or they DO NOT.
Once you have been give the go ahead to book everything, there are still two very important things that need to occur. You must send your client an invoice from your CRM as well as any electronic documentation received from the vendor for them. Some tips for invoicing:
- Make sure the invoice includes EVERYTHING being booked at that time and make sure Agent Markups or Commissions are NOT anywhere on the invoice inadvertently.
- Be sure to have received a credit card authorization form (using Client Tasks in the CRM will assure that you have all the appropriate info).
Secondly, and most importantly if you want to be paid for your work, you will need to submit your booking into the CRM. We ask that you do this within 48 hours because if an issue arises and we get a call from the supplier, we need to know who’s booking it is. You’ll need to enter each booking (Air, hotel, car separately or as a package all together) , who you booked it through and how much the expected commissions are. No need to worry if it’s exact or not. We will always pay you the percentage based off the actual amount received from the vendor.
For every trip we create a detailed itinerary for the client complete with flight, hotel, car and excursion details and contact info. Our CRM creates great itineraries using pictures and information taken directly from the supplier.
If you prefer to personally hand to the client, we suggest printing everything out and presenting it in a professional looking folder providinig details of their entire trip.
- Individually detail out all their flights, including layover information along with conformation numbers and seat assignments, if known.
- Also include details of any shuttle service that has been pre-booked including confirmation and a local contact telephone number (also find out from the shuttle company where your client should meet the driver. Will they be at the gate with a sign, a specific area outside the terminal …)
- Details of their hotel including the address and the hotels local tn, confirmation number and type of room booked.
- Any excursions that you have booked for them. Again, include conformation numbers, dates, local tns and where the client will meet the excursion.
- At the bottom under suggestions, this is your opportunity to add your own personal touch as to additional items the client may find handy on their trip. This could include details on weather at their destination, suggested items to bring, suggested gratuity information. You may be familiar with the area and recommend places to eat, or places/areas to avoid.
Fees are a personal preference and you may charge your client fees for items such as “research fees”, booking fees for non-commissionable items such as domestic airfare, restaurant reservations, theater tickets, etc. HOWEVER, as an Independent Contract operating under Elite Travel’s credentials, you are not allowed to accept ANY PAYMENTS FROM ANY CLIENT DIRECTLY. Should you wish to charge your clients fees, you will need to notify us of the fees and we will send them an invoice. You can access FEE PROCESSOR under Info tab to the left. The invoice will come from Elite Travel I.C. and you should notify your clients of this. Your agency name will be listed on the invoice and you will be notified once the charges have gone through.
Please note that these fees are considered commission and you will receive your percentage based on your selected membership level. In addition, you are also charged a 3% fee for us to invoice your client. Our portion of the commission plus your 3% processing fees will be deducted from your next commission
We suggest you choose wisely when deciding whether or not to charge “research fees” as this may turn away some clients. You need to know your clients. You may also choose to inform your clients of this fee and state that it will only be charged if they DON’T book with you….and get that in writing that they clearly accept those terms!
Following up with the client after their trip has ended is not only professional but shows a level of respect and courtesy to the client that they will remember when they next need someone to help with their travel plans. Be sure to utilize the functionality of the CRM marketing to stay on top of your clients when they return from their trip (available in the Advanced package only!).
If you don’t have the Advanced package, we strongly encourage for you to send out a customized Welcome Back email after your client returns. Did the trip live up to their expectations? Were there accommodation up to standard? Would they recommend a hotel they just stayed in to their friends? Please pass on both good and bad feedback about locations to our affiliate network.