Journeys Unlimited – Did I cheat?

Posted on by in Travel Agent Diaries

Hello Again!

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.

  2 thoughts on “Journeys Unlimited – Did I cheat?

  1. 1George Oberle says:

    Amy,

    It can fit if you segment the business building one niche at a time.

    Create momentum in the first niche (Honeymoons), brand YOU as the niche expert, create online and offline promotions, build your web content offering product and advice, develop an email list and monthly newsletter and nurture vendor relationships.

    Then increase your footprint to include another niche (China) that includes all of the above segmented from the first. Build the second (or third) niche to the point you MUST make decisions which way to go because you are too busy. If you reach this point of saturation, you have created a successful business niche.

    Increasing your footprint is good to seize opportunity and conversely protection against unforeseen obstacles.

    Good Luck!

  2. 1Sherrie Funk says:

    We sell cruises and vacations. Period. No “just an airline ticket”. No corporate travel. Just cruises and vacations. We are members of Vacation.com and support our preferred suppliers. By focusing out business to those suppliers that support us, we are getting greater yields on our bookings. You don’t have to be as narrowly focused (ie. destination weddings/honeymoons) if the opportunity arises that you can sell that bride’s parents on say a trip to China. Good work. Keep it up.

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