Like a shark, you know you have to keep moving forward. In business there is no such thing as sitting still. Clients come and go. Destinations rise and fall in popularity and demand. There is always something new on the horizon. In fact, if your business is not growing, chances are pretty good you are losing ground. No time for sitting still.
Is it too early to talk about 2018? I don’t think so if you are headed that direction. Here are five ways to keep both you and your travel practice growing and even thriving. When 2018 arrives, you will be on the right footing.
- Study – Keep learning new things. Take a course, enroll in a certification program, hire a business coach. There is so much to learn and absorb in the travel industry, there is no end to product information, destination knowledge, marketing, sales and customer service. We are fortunate in this industry to have a wealth of resources, so get busy.
- Practice – I have always referred to your travel business as a “practice.” In the same way a medical doctor has a practice and in the same way a yoga student refers to their activity as a practice, you benefit yourself most when you are continually learning and sharpening your skill sets. It’s one thing to know something intellectually and quite another to put it into practice. Learn new things and integrate them into your business methods. The word “practice” is both a noun and a verb. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to practice your skill set. Just as any athlete practices before going onto the field of play, rehearse your phone skills, your business letters, your public speaking opportunities. I hear practice makes perfect, and I’m pretty confident of the truth of the rumor.
- Marketing – Enhance your marketing by trying something new. Take on a new marketing venue and study it, practice it and incorporate it into your travel practice. Don’t think of marketing skills as a bag a tricks, but rather as a way of thinking, a way of interacting with your clients and prospective clients.
- Give back – Actively involve yourself in the various communities in which you are inherently a part, and make it fun. Volunteer where you can, participate with the people in your local community, in your peer group professionally and in charities and good causes where you find empathy. You will be amazed the personal and professional growth arising from giving yourself to others.
- Travel – Does it go without saying that travel agents should travel? It is easy to ignore the very advice we give our clients. For a travel professional, however, travel is more than a divertissement…it’s our business. When a travel professional journeys, it is an opportunity to reconnect with the passion that first moved you to become a travel agent. By traveling, you are reminded of both the pleasures and the pains of the experience – it creates a greater degree of empathy for your clients.
If you are sitting still, your competition is pulling ahead.