ARC MarketPlace Agent Spotlight: Meet Sharon Martin of Golden Rule Travel
In high school, Sharon Martin took courses on becoming a travel agent, which peaked her interest in the field. After graduating, she completed travel school and began working for her first travel agency.
Martin joined Golden Rule Travel when they established a location in her town and has been with the agency for the last 23 years. I caught up with her recently to learn more about her story.
Location: Berlin, OH
Role: Travel Consultant
Agency Type: Full-service Retail Travel Agency
Recent Travel Destination: Italy, Spain, and Switzerland
Bucket List Travel Destination(s): South Pacific and Asia
Years Using ARC MarketPlace: 2 years
Do you specialize in any areas of the world or types of travel?
Our agency specializes in missionary and humanitarian trips worldwide. Here in the U.S., groups are often involved in cleanup and rebuilding efforts after a natural disaster. Internationally, trips entail building or maintaining churches, schools, and waterways.
What is your greatest challenge as a travel advisor?
It’s challenging when clients come in with no idea of where they want to go, and I have to help them figure out the best fit. To help, I typically ask them questions around their budget, what season they want to travel, how far they are willing to travel, if they prefer an all-inclusive and if they want a U.S. territory or not. Once we narrow down the scope, ARC MartketPlace is always helpful in picking out things to do in the destination.
Is there a trend you’ve seen in the market that you think will impact future travel?
I’ve noticed most recently that people have been cautious of traveling to certain areas in Europe and the Middle East because of political reasons. They then look at other places for missionary work like Asia, South America, and South Pacific.
How do you use ARC MarketPlace?
For our agency, we have one agent as a subject matter expert on each tool—and I am responsible for ARC MarketPlace. I keep up-to-date on new activities, tours, and shore excursions, so if any agents ask, I can direct them to the right place.
Are there any go-to products that are popular for your clients?
It’s very client-preference driven. For the missionary trips, we incorporate tours and activities so those participating get to see something in each city they pass through. This helps to give them a better perspective of the area in relation to the work they do. For example, if groups travel to Africa, we always book a safari.
Do you have a story about a positive travel experience for one of your clients?
I recently booked a day tour in Morocco, which included a couscous cooking class. From the transfers to the tour, to the train up the mountain, it was so easy to book on ARC MarketPlace. The client gave us a lot of praise, but the website really did all the work.
How does ARC MarketPlace make your job easier?
ARC MarketPlace is one-stop shopping. With the ease-of-use, breadth of activities and volume of information, it makes finding options and booking so simple. With other providers, you have more hoops to jump through. If other agents are not using ARC MarketPlace, they should be!
Do you have any advice for new travel agents?
I would recommend new travel agents align themselves with someone with experience and listen to other agents. Hands-on experience is also one of the best tools. Don’t get too frustrated early on. It will eventually come to you if you are willing to do the research and build your own experiences.