Travel Advisor Success Story: Megan Hill, Destination Fun Travel

Claudette Coffey

Travel Consultant Success Story: Megan Hill, Destination Fun Travel

Megan Hill. (Source: Megan Hill)

Success Stories focuses on seasoned travel advisors and how they achieved success. Here’s a look at Megan Hill, owner of Destination Fun Travel.

How did you get started as a travel consultant?

I grew up in a family that shared a passion for travel, which was driven by my grandparents who would often take us with them on trips around the world. Although I have always enjoyed traveling, I fell in love with it in 1986 when I went to Africa for the first time. I thought Africa was the most amazing place I had ever been.

Then I decided that I wanted to travel everywhere in the world. From that moment on, traveling and exploring the world became my top priority. I truly enjoy learning and experiencing the different cultures, history, cuisines, traditions and natural beauty of the world.

I opened Destination Fun Travel in 2008 after a successful 15-year career in the pharmaceutical industry working for Wyeth (Pfizer) and Abbott. Although I really enjoyed the pharmaceutical industry, my passion was still traveling and experiencing the world. I decided to make travel not only my passion but also my career.

How did you build your business?

When I first opened my agency, I was a one-person business, and my goal was to exceed expectations for each client with exceptional customer service. I selected a few travel wholesalers and partnered with them, and took full advantage of my BDM support during market analysis.

I have been very loyal to my clients and have provided exceptional customer service. I wanted my clients to feel special, as if they were the only clients I was working with that day. In the beginning, my business grew mostly through word of mouth and through wedding proposals. (I purchased a custom fun bar display for Destination Fun Travel that really made the agency stand out at the shows.)

As the agency grew, I began hiring staff and consultants to help me. I have personally trained them and also watched them achieve success. Teamwork is the main focus of the agency, as we all help, support and encourage each other.

What qualities make you a successful consultant?

When I was in the pharmaceutical industry, I was a trainer for both Wyeth and Abbott. I really feel like this training has helped me tremendously with the agency, with my agents, and with clients to think outside the box, analyze the market, and find where the agency and its market are.

I love brainstorming with other successful consultants about things they are doing that are working well and following up on those elements with my team. I encourage all advisors to create a business plan and write down their thoughts, ideas, obstacles, and goals and refer to them throughout the year.

What are the greatest challenges you have faced?

I opened the agency at a time when online travel agencies like Expedia etc. were becoming popular. But I knew that OTAs were not going to replace agents, as there will always be clients who want/need someone to take that trip to the next level.

Of course, the biggest challenge overall was the Coronavirus and the lockdown of the entire world. But with COVID-19, a whole new passion and opportunity has emerged for advisors. Agencies and consultants have become smarter through Covid-19 and have improved the way they work and operate, such as documenting each client’s booking approval with suppliers’ terms and conditions, always receiving and documenting insurance acceptance/rejection in writing from the client, etc. An opportunity for people to experience first-hand and understand the value of a travel advisor. I know I can confidently say that post-coronavirus we are better consultants and agency owners, and the travel industry today is smarter and better than it has ever been.

What are your greatest accomplishments?

My greatest accomplishments to date will be with the strong success of the agency and my amazing team of advisors. The agency focuses on providing a supportive team environment to assist, encourage and guide counselors to succeed.

Many years ago, I was invited to attend the Sandals Stars Awards before my sales were at the level they are now. I felt honored to be included, and I am so appreciative of Sandals and other travel partners who saw the potential in me. I was a sponge in the journey of connecting with others at this event. I’ve taken lots of notes from successful advisors along the way.

It was only a few years ago that I was on that stage receiving those big awards. This definitely brings a great sense of accomplishment and pride. The agency and Destination Fun Travel Consultants win numerous sales awards every year with many agency partners ranging from ALGV to Classic Vacations, Sandals and Beaches Resorts, etc. Training, cooperation, support, trust and teamwork is what makes it happen.

What tips can you give to consultants new to the industry?

Think outside the box and look for those golden travel selling opportunities around your community. This can be done through social media, networking, consumer events and finding a need/niche in the market that you can fill and exceed expectations. I encourage all counselors to look deep within themselves, find what they enjoy about booking, and focus on their love and passion.

Always listen to the customer’s needs and wants. Sometimes advisors tend to reserve their own budget for client journeys and not the client’s budget. Always try to upsell your customers, because happy customers will be repeat customers. You are always better off under-promising and over-delivering.

I recommend starting bids with ocean view or ocean front concierge level rooms. Then, advisors can move up or down, depending on the client’s wants and needs.

I also encourage advisors to personally pay for and experience the butler suite. They can then talk honestly and passionately with future customers about their own experience and why spending a little more could take their flight experience to the next level.

Talk about taking advantage of the many resources available through our travel suppliers and partners. As for marketing, make sure you find the best networking opportunities.

Most importantly, enjoy your work as a travel advisor. It’s truly one of the most fulfilling careers out there, and I’m thrilled to be a part of the travel community!

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