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Cheryl Paddock

Encino, California Travel Agent

An Exciting Office for Travel Agents

on the Maasai Mara

The Encino branch of Protravel provides a collegial, supportive and exciting environment. Many of us have areas of specific expertise and enjoy helping each other succeed. I work hard to help our agents, most of who are independent travel agents (ICs), be more productive, build their business and better serve their clients. Plus, every travel agent has my cell phone number and knows they can call me 24/7 if they are caught in an emergency that they need help untangling.

This office provides a much higher level of support than is available in most travel agencies because I know our travel agents will be more productive if they are not mired in busy, time-consuming tasks.

With that in mind, I set up “Team Encino,” a dedicated group of employees whose job is to take on time-consuming tasks and assist our travel agents in any way they can. If you need a ticket exchange or keep getting an error message or are having trouble with invoicing, Team Encino can help. Similarly, if you want help with hotel negotiations for a group trip, need someone to cover for you when you are sick or traveling, or want support in taking on a corporate client, we are here for you.

As a Protravel and Virtuoso travel agent, you probably have more tools and benefits at your fingertips than you realize. Our lunch-and-learn sessions offer a chance to learn more about these. For example, we have deals and leverage with certain airlines that sometimes allow you to provide free upgrades from full-fare coach to business class or business class to first class. Plus our Virtuoso hotel amenities program is a huge selling point. We also provide training in new systems, like Access, which provides lovely itineraries to our clients.

Our relations with vendors are top-notch. About 60 to 80 vendors visit our office every month which is a great opportunity to gain expertise and create personal relationships that can benefit your clients around the world. Plus, through my work in entertainment travel and the clout of Protravel, we have powerful contacts who can help with waivers and favors such as clearing a frequent flyer seat or waiving a hotel cancelation fee. And we get amazing cruise and tour deals.

Protravel also offers great marketing tools. For example, if you provide an e-mail list, your clients will get a note from you every two weeks with special deals and travel tips. Agents who use it have been surprised at the success; clients may not be interested in anything specific in the email, but often it triggers the idea to book their next trip with you. Some past clients have even returned to their agents as a result of receiving our newsletter!

Our office is growing! We are looking to add a few experienced travel agents to our office, and we are open to training people, especially those who want to switch over from other industries and have a passion for travel.

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