What It’s Like To Be The Best

Delphine Decle, winner of the 2016 Travel Agents Cup, still can’t get over winning…

Delphine Decle of Jancarthier travel in Aix en Provence has been named “France’s Best Travel Agent 2016” at the annual Travel Agents Cup (TAC) at IFTM Top Resa.
Delphine was selected out of eight finalists, each of whom had to “sell” a destination over a period of five minutes to a jury of eleven travel industry professionals – as well as to their peers, as the agents that didn’t make it to the grand final became part of a greater jury. In Delphine’s case, the destination was California – and the “scenario” was for a family of four travelling in summer. We asked Delphine how she felt about winning the prize.

I still can’t believe it! I’m proud of myself, as I gave my best and I am delighted that the jury recognised my professionalism. I really didn’t think I would win, so the surprise was even greater! I was well prepared, but up against other candidates it was not enough just to do well; I had to do better than the others. I had the chance to defend something that was close to my heart, so I “sold” my subject with passion. I wanted to be professional and effective in my proposal.

Your theme was “California summer holiday for a family”… It appears you have already thought about this before and had a lot of information easily at hand. Why is California so interesting for you, and what are you most looking forward to with your next visit (prize)?

California is so rich in activities, I find that it is really a beautiful region and it allows us to offer trips really adapted to the expectations of each customer. I love dealing with requests for travel in California at the agency, because we’re working “à la carte” and I’m always looking for an original or unusual activity. We have basic itineraries, but nothing is set in stone, and it’s up to us to build the ideal trip. For my next trip, I think I’ll bring my family along for my kids to discover the route that I presented in the final! I already know California a little bit, and I am really delighted to be able to go back and discover more of this wonderful region.

It was interesting that you thing (the spectacular) Lake Tahoe have a point of call, which is less popular for foreign tourists than Yosemite, for example… How important is it to help people discover “different, but amazing” places like this?

It’s through offering different places that we bring to the fore the business of being a travel agent. It is how we add value to a trip, by proposing places that will enable clients to discover the country in a different way. I love also recommending a restaurant or a bar, and I often ask my clients to talk to me when they come back about what they liked the most; it is rewarding for me and it allows me to give tips to the following travellers. Proposing Lake Tahoe seemed appropriate, since the proposed subject I had spoke of the willingness of the customers to discover American culture, and Lake Tahoe is really a place that Americans love. We thus find ourselves at the edge of a sublime lake in California for water sports activities. It’s a stop-over that people don’t necessarily think about, that is not part of the “classic” fly and drive; a touch of originality that makes a trip unique, and it is really what customers are looking for when they enter a travel agency.

What does winning the TAC mean for your agency’s business, and how will you be “exploiting” this?

Frankly I still don’t realize the impact it might have. I have received many emails of congratulations and I am very touched! My participation in the TAC was above all a personal challenge… and now I am the France’s best travel agent! Amazing! I will put my trophy on show at the Agency, and I will continue in any case to work in the same way, with the same passion.

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