It is the end of July, and I am looking back at the amazing transformation my business had taken so far this year. As a long time travel agent, I wonder if anyone else out there has done this? Have any of you completely changed their marketing after years of doing all things for all people? Has it been a 100% business shift or do you still sell product and destination outside your new marketing plan?
As many of you know, this is the year I decided to take control of my business. I closed my storefront agency, and moved my business into an office suites location. No more walk in customers. My concentration shifted to one specific market; destination weddings and honeymoons.
It has been a powerful experience, making a marketing commitment, being accountable for that commitment, and sharing successes with you. Today, I need to share some struggles.
How do you say ‘no’ to business that doesn’t fit into the new business model? Do you say ‘no’ to it, should you say ‘no’ to it, and can you afford to say ‘no’ to it?
Here is an example to illustrate my dilemma. I am at a point in my life where, in my personal travels, I want to experience more than all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean. I yearn for new destinations. That type of wanderlust is what drew me to this business more than 20 years ago. I do some televisions spots on our local FOX morning show, and have been speaking about destination wedding locations, and how a travel agent can help facilitate your perfect day. Last week I shifted from my own marketing plan to talk about China, because there was a great rate on an escorted tour offered by a preferred supplier. I let my personal “bucket list” of travel experiences override my new marketing plan, and spent the show talking about what a great group trip this is at a fantastic rate. I also shifted my television commercials to advertise the trip because I really felt it was a good value.
The result? My phone has been ringing off the hook! I just booked 8 people while I was writing this article, and expect many more bookings to come. There has been a far greater return from the television advertising on this trip, than on any other wedding or honeymoon product I have showcased.
You can see my dilemma. Escorted group bookings add a nice dollar amount to the bottom line. It is a destination I personally want to visit. But, it has nothing to do with my current marketing plan. Have I been unfaithful to my business?
Amy Hobbins, MCC, CTA, is a 20 plus year industry veteran. She has managed both the corporate and leisure side of a full service retail agency, as well as teaching evenings at a travel school. She is the owner of Journeys Unlimited Travel, with an emphasis on destination weddings and the honeymoon market. Journeys Unlimited Travel is known for its full “travel concierge” services available to their clients.