In the travel industry we have become experts at adapting and changing with each challenge which is tossed our way. Commissions, SARS, wars, recessions, terrorist attacks, disease, regulations, pestilence– you name, it we have seen it all and adapted. I know in my own business, my business model has changed several times over and with each of those changes came a lot of stress and pressure to perform. After all I am a single dad with three kids to support. Failure was not an option.
In the early days, one of the most frustrating things was the delay in results. As a society, we are pretty much focused on instant satisfaction. When we drive a car and turn the wheel—the car turns. When we send an email asking a question—we expect an answer. The American psyche is focused on instant gratification. In the travel industry, this is likely why YTB saw so much success in their early days—people believed that a cookie cutter website would offer instant riches. Of course it didn’t help that that is exactly what they were told and promised. Judging from the number of people leaving the YTB program, it appears that many are experiencing a delay in results. The delay ticked me off originally. I organized a group cruise–why wasn’t it sold out yet? I opened up a small very high end office for luxury consults. Why weren’t the millionaires beating down my door to buy travel? I wanted instant results. And they rarely came. Now after almost 15 years in the industry, I can look back and see that the delay in my results was actually crucial to my success. Consider the following:
1. It lets you acquire new skills.
New project. New skills. Pretty simple, right? In any new project, we will find obstacles which need a new skill set to manage. Use the delay to build these skills.
2. It gives you the time to rearrange your focus.
Let’s say your New Year’s resolution was to specialize in wine tours. Will this simply slide into your business plan? Or will you need to shuffle something else to a lower priority? Will you need to drop something entirely? When your results are delayed, you have time to make thoughtful, deliberate decisions on how to re-organize your travel business.
3. It gives you practice time.
Practice makes perfect. Use this time to practice so when your results do come in, you will have mastered your new skills. Wine tours? How about a Sommelier’s course so you can walk the walk? Become the master of your own domain.
4. It allows you to expand your network.
Do you know all of the vendors who do wine tours? Do you know the best ones? More importantly, do they know you? Take this time to seek out those who can help you in your success.
5. It teaches patience.
Patience is one of the critical traits every travel professional must have. Think about the time spent on hold and the countless changes made by clients. Take this delay in your success and use it to your advantage. I remember the adage my mother used to say–good things come to those who wait.
6. It allows you to recover when you screw up.
We all make mistakes. Face it, it is going to happen. It is better to make them early and learn from them rather than later. A delay in your results will allow you to fail, fail again, and then get it right.
7. It promotes legitimate growth.
There’s nothing like the real thing. When you experience success too fast, very often it is short lived and not legitimate. Joystar burst on the scene, went wild in the industry for a few years with impossible programs. They talked a good talk, but unfortunately they could not walk the walk and it ended up costing hundreds of travel professionals a lot of money. YTB is on a similar track. Slow and steady growth will typically result in much more long term success
While, I think I may have just tossed some conventional wisdom out the window, I am not suggesting to let any new plans drag on forever without results. You do need to see movement toward the results. If we can learn to accept a delay in our success as a positive, we can lay the foundations for solid future growth. However, if we fight it and artificially enhance it, often we end up frustrated and disappointed. The next time you embark on a new initiative in your travel business, use any delay you might encounter to your advantage. You quite probably will come out ahead!