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C. Leroy (Leclerc Voyages): “In agencies, we can find the same offers as online, but with the added service!”

Interview with the 1st place winner of the Travel Agents Cup

Cathy Leroy, Director of Leclerc Voyages Travel Agency in Saint-Aunès, the 1st place winner of the Travel Agents Cup, explains on her vision of the career of the Travel Agent. For her, without doubt, the profession has a great future ahead. Interview.

Rédigé par Céline Eymery translated by Joséphine Foucher le Jeudi 2 Octobre 2014

C. Leroy (Leclerc Voyages): “In agencies, we can find the same offers as online, but with the added service!” - The Travel Agents Cup organized by the IFTM is the opportunity to shed light on the job of the travel agent. Is it a profession in which you have faith?

Cathy Leroy: Of course, I believe in this profession. I’m 35 years old, and if I didn’t believe in it I would have changed jobs!

The Travel Agents Cup is a great challenge to take up, you have to speak in public in front of a jury, talk about a destination. It’s not easy.

But it’s an event that honors our job and valorizes our knowledge. - Distribution is facing difficulties. There is competition with the Internet, new ways of traveling, such as collaborative trips. How do you perceive these evolutions?

C.L.: The competition with the Internet or other players is not necessarily negative.

It forces us to put forward our added value: advising, knowledge on destinations, focus on doing the job right, but also the after-sales service.

And we also accompany the client during his trip.

For clients looking for unbeatable prices, I’m positive that they’ll be able to find the same price as online in a travel agency, but with great service on top of it!

The products sold by online agencies can also be found in traditional agencies.

And also, the travel agent has the capacity of explaining the price difference between two tours on the same destination. There is no secret.

In my agency, we sell everything: from the “à la carte” honeymoon in Polynesia to vey simple products in France.

We still have clients who come in to buy packaged products such as a week in the Var, or in the Basque country, or a weekend in Disneyland.

C. Leroy (Leclerc Voyages): “In agencies, we can find the same offers as online, but with the added service!” - The training of travel agents is often criticized. What do you think about that?

C.L.: I have the privilege of belonging to a network that offers a wide range of trainings: on destinations through workshops, in the sales sector, how to maintain client loyalty, we have a large tool box accessible to us.

A good travel agent needs to be able to sell well, but also know the products and countries.

Aside from trainings, the travel agent must be curious and attuned to geopolitical contexts, the influence of weather, be aware of new hotels, new trends, new airline companies etc. - Where do you see the profession in 10 years?

C.L.: I believe in my job. I don’t exactly know how it’s going to evolve, but we’ll always have our place in the hazards of traveling: political instability, blocked planes… ensure that clients will always be relieved of having someone to call who can assist them.

Finally, our profession will continue to grow hand in hand with technological advancements.

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