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BUSINESS ADVICE TTG TRAVEL AWARDS WINNER


LIKE A DUCK TO WATER


Wowing clients and rising to the top in sales helped Gerald Buck scoop TTG’s Cruise Agent of the Year award last year. Charlotte Flach finds out more


H


aving only begun his career as a travel agent three-and-a- half years ago, Gerald Buck has hit the ground running


and already wowed the cruise industry with his expertise. Before joining the team at ROL Cruise in


May 2016, Buck had no travel experience and decided to apply for his current job after hearing about the agency’s expertise and how well it treats its staff. By April 2019, he had ended the financial year as the agency’s top seller for the second year running. Buck was also promoted from cruise consultant to commercial account manager in the same month. These are just a few of the reasons he was crowned Cruise Agent of the Year at


the TTG Travel Awards last September. “I walked into work the morning after the awards to applause from all my proud colleagues,” says Buck. “When you work in sales you’re only as good as your last month – winning was a validation of all the hard work I’ve put in.”


CUSTOMER-CENTRIC SERVICE Despite entering the industry later in his working life, Buck has already made a big impact on his customers. Recently, a client requested a special anniversary trip to surprise her husband but did not give much information about what she wanted. With very little to base the trip on, other than the fact that it needed to be luxurious and include a journey on the Orient Express, he spent weeks building a bespoke package. Buck believes it is this dedication to his clients that made him stand out from the competition and scoop the coveted TTG award. “I always sell the holiday as honestly as I can by weighing up the client’s needs against what different cruise lines offer. It’s about going all out to do your best to deliver what they are asking for.” With a genuine enthusiasm for the cruise industry and a knack for smashing sales targets, Buck hopes to keep excelling in cruise despite


coronavirus challenges. He says: “I can’t describe how much I value the


industry. There is no doubting what a monumental challenge the coronavirus pandemic poses, but I’m confident we’ll all pull through this, and the cruise industry will emerge stronger for it.”


30 TRAVEL TRADE GAZETTE 23.03.2020 TOP TIPS


Buck offers his advice for agents looking to succeed in selling cruise


Absorb as much as possible: Cruise lines are very generous with their time. One of their priorities is ensuring agents have the knowledge they need to sell the product, so attend as many supplier sessions as you can.


Get out and see the product: Go to as many ship visits as possible – it will make your job so much easier if you’re able to describe the differences in dining venues or cabins to your clients.


Share knowledge: Ask colleagues about their experiences and for their advice. The benefit of being in an office with other sales people is that you can call on and share expertise.


Channel enthusiasm: Be passionate about what you sell. If you can’t get excited about the product, how can you expect your customers to?


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