Avoya Top LB HBTA Oct 17

An Interview With TravelQuest’s Stephanie Lee

By Joanie Ogg CTC, MCC

It’s been awhile since we last spoke, what’s happened the past year at TravelQuest?

We’ve had a fantastic year our best yet! Travel Quest’s numbers have grown over 150% since last year while still maintaining an annual sales revenue of around $200,000 per agent. We’ve had tons of changes but I would say the three biggest are:

1) ‘Social Media in Travel’ webinar series- Our new free, webinar series for both TQ and non-TQ agents to help agents understand and utilize the power of social media.

2) Custom made portal- Real-time commission tracking, training calendar, and an agent forum for asking each other questions

3) TQ University- Our in-depth training program for agents new to the industry as well as veterans looking for ways to grow their business.

Where can agents learn more about the social media webinar series and what will it cover?

We’ll be hosting a variety of free webinar series but this particular one covers search engine optimization and social media topics. Here’s a quick preview of what’s available:

Using and Understanding Twitter – Aug 18th, 1pm CT
Facebook Marketing 101 – Aug 25th, 1pm CT

Agents can visit our webpage http://www.TQagents.com/webinar to learn more and RSVP for a session. Again, it’s free and available to anyone interested in learning more about the topics.

Give agents an overview of your program and what you offer.

We have three programs for agents (70%, 80%, 100% commissions) and work with both new and experienced agents. Everything is included in our program: training, CRM, technology, support, and the GDS for agents fluent in the system. We have top commissions across the board and strong supplier relationships.

Our custom built agent portal also allows agents to track commissions and okay statements with the click of a mouse.

How does your being a Travel Leaders franchise benefit your agents?

One of the advantages is that our agents have access into exclusive promotions and agent incentives that are unique to Travel Leaders agencies. There are also marketing programs, trainings, and vast amounts of group cruise space our agents can book into.

TravelQuest really seems to have expanded their social media program this year. What have been the keys to your success?

Honestly, we’re still learning and always will be—that’s part of why I love social media, it’s so dynamic! But yes, we’ve really embraced social media and focused a lot of resources into our online presence the past year. Since launching our program a little under a year ago, we have 925+ Facebook fans and since our Twitter launch just 3 months ago we have over 600 Twitter followers.

One key to our success is the understanding that social media is an investment and is about building relationships. You have to be in it for the long haul and the returns don’t come as quickly as you may be used to from traditional marketing means. It’s been a year of trial and error to find what reflects our personality as well as what engages our audiences.

What’s the next step for agents looking to learn more about TravelQuest?

I’d be happy to help them out! They can give me a call at 800.392.6484 or send me an email at Stephanie@TQagents.com. Agents can also find more information on our program by visiting www.TQagents.com, www.facebook.com/TQagents, or send us a tweet at @travel_quest.
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Stephanie Lee works in Operations at Travel Quest. She graduated from the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University with a degree in Environmental Studies/Liberal Studies. Stephanie was awarded ASTA Young Professional of the Year in 2008 and was named one of Travel Agent’s “30 under 30” in 2009.

She can be reached at Stephanie@TQagents.com or 800.392.6484. For more information on Travel Quest visit www.TQagents.com, www.facebook.com/TQagents, or send them a tweet at @travel_quest.

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Joanie Ogg CTC MCC
Joanie Ogg Marketing Group

Editor

Joanie Ogg is a thirty-five year veteran of the travel industry and has been involved with the independent contractor evolution since 1988. She is the principal of Joanie Ogg Marketing Group, which specializes in consulting and speaking on the topic of Home-Based Travel. She also provides marketing and sales for wide variety of products under the umbrella HomeBasedTravelAgent.com.

A demonstrated industry leader, Joanie most recently served as the President of the National Association of Commissioned Travel Agents (NACTA) and TravelSellers. She and her husband Tom acquired NACTA in 1996 and sold it to The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) in 2000. Joanie’s tenure in the travel industry includes owning and operating one of the first successful host agency models. She has owned and operated several storefront travel agencies (both commercial and leisure), as well as a Hawaii wholesale tour company.

Her decades of success have garnered her numerous accolades over the years. Her accomplishments have been recognized by receipt of two Lifetime Achievement Awards from major trade groups, being named as one of the “100 Most Powerful Women in Travel” by Travel Agent magazine on several occasions, voted as “Travel Agent of the Year” by the readers of Travel Trade magazine, and has been recognized by many other industry organizations throughout her tenure in the industry. In 2008 Joanie Ogg was inducted into the CLIA Hall of Fame, an honor held by some of the most influential executives in the travel industry.

Joanie is a Master Cruise Counselor (MCC) and a Certified Travel Counselor (CTC). Joanie has co-authored two popular travel industry books for cruise specialists and home-based travel agents and has authored hundreds of travel trade articles. She has inspired tens of thousands of travel agents attending her presentations at trade events, cruise seminars, international trade gatherings and numerous local educational venues throughout the United States. With a time-honored background and forward-looking vision, she is often featured as a speaker at many of the travel industry’s major conferences and events. Joanie’s speaking talents are widely sought as a travel industry emcee by the most recognized travel organizations. She has emceed such events as Cruise-A-Thons, ASTA’s CruiseFest, The Trade Show, The Travel Institute Forum and all of NACTA’s National and International Conferences.