Let me be the first to say “Happy New Year!” 2013 cannot come soon enough as the globe tries to pull itself out of a global recession. Travel has been off, but there are many signs indicating that a strong 2013 is on the horizon for the travel industry.
The election is over. The uncertainty (for better or worse) is behind us and we can now move forward. President Obama has proven to be a very pro-travel president (excepting that little gaffe about travel agents not existing) and if his initiatives are carried out, we should see an industry once again begin to thrive.
Pent Up Demand
Consumers have an innate desire to travel. Personally, I have not been able to travel as much as I want (due to the economy) and I am in the industry. But, the belts are beginning to loosen up and you will likely see that consumers will be itching to travel. You may not see a terrific influx of Crystal World Cruises, but I suspect that the volume of transactions will be increasing.
If 2012 proved anything, social media is here to stay. Facebook has more than a billion users—read that as potential clients. Pinterest is growing with leaps and bounds and is a perfect medium for travel—after all, our job is to paint pictures and Pinterest is the ideal platform. Twitter is still growing and I believe that it may become one of the most valuable social tools in your arsenal. If you are not active on social media yet, please make it one of your 2013 resolutions to become active! You won’t be sorry.
It has been said for years, but 2013 may be the year when agents realize that to thrive in the new travel world, they will need to nichefy and specialize. Let’s face it, today’s consumer feels capable to handle most of their travel needs. Most actually enjoy the research and planning that goes into it. Why wouldn’t they? Don’t we enjoy it when we do it for them? And the tools available really make it easy for them to put it all together. No longer are we held by physical boundaries. Your client can just as easily work with an agent in East Jibbip as they can with you. Find your passion and exploit it. Become the expert and don’t let anyone else sell you short. I am looking forward to the TRO Agent Diaries this year—we have two specialists who should be able to offer plenty of tips.
With the industry evolving so rapidly, it will become critical for you to monitor everything you do. Monitor your marketing plan, business plan, the effectiveness of your newsletter, blog or site traffic, social media ROI, close ratios, ad responses, and more. I will be the first to admit it is a hassle, but if you miss a market shift, you could run aground and languish in the shallows just waiting for someone to rescue you.
In all, 2013 looks to be a year of opportunity. Take advantage of it and keep your eyes open for every one that come along. Do not be afraid to take a risk—but be sure to manage that risk appropriately.
Well, in about 20 hours, 2013 will be here on the east coast, so once again, let me be the first to say—Happy New Year!