This wonderful year is coming to a close, and it has been a roller coaster ride indeed. I am humbled by the opportunity to have been able to write for such a great community, and I will take a lot away from this experience. Geez, it sounds like I’m done! But, in fact, I feel as if I am just beginning. I am constantly intrigued that I learn something new every day in this industry, and while some of the things I learn cause me to scratch my head, there are other lessons I’ve learned this year that have ensnared me deeper into this business – so for that, I am thankful. Read the rest of this entry »
It is hard to believe that we are about to enter the final quarter of 2011! My business partner and I are embarking on adding two new divisions to our business next year, so we have been knee deep in 2012 goal setting. While I’ve been investigating and researching various concepts and ideas, I got to thinking that the travel industry is very similar to the investment world. In essence, you may start out with one investment vehicle, and eventually you want to spread your risk, so you begin investing in other types of investments. Instead of simply having a mutual fund, you may also invest in CDs, individual stock purchases, hedge funds and gold.
I see the travel business in the same way. It’s imperative for long-term longevity to do your core business right, but in order to spread your risk and also make money during the times when one area of your business may not be at its peak, having diversification can be the difference between a successful and profitable business, versus a business that is floundering and stagnant. Read the rest of this entry »
In our industry it is imperative to stay fresh and new. With that being said, I read a lot, and I study a lot of information about sales, marketing, branding and specialization. There are many travel professionals who have a generalist business model, and it works for them; however, in my business, we have determined what areas we want to specialize in, and have now truly started the process of directing all of our efforts towards obtaining that specialized business. Read the rest of this entry »
Leveraging our business relationships to assist our clients is a good way to do business; however, it is necessary to tow the line in order to ensure we are making recommendations based on our individual clients’ requests versus simply trying to force a client into selecting a vacation because a supplier is offering a hot incentive; reward nights or a fabulous FAM. Supplier sponsored events are excellent ways to see what products and services that particular supplier sells, as well as getting that “face time” to further our business relationships, but as the travel professional, we need to ensure that we are properly identifying the best property, cruise, holiday tour package, etc for our client, regardless of what may (potentially) be “in it” for us. Read the rest of this entry »
I have been reading a multitude of articles within the travel community, as well as outside of the travel community regarding fees. Of course, we all cringe at the fees being instituted by the airlines for everything under the sun; yet there are advocates within the travel community that feel strongly that service fees are the way to positively affect the bottom line.
In recent months, I have had the opportunity to listen to several webinars regarding instituting fees; including one by Nolan Burris, and others (both in and outside of the industry) who strongly tout the benefits of charging fees. I can see both sides of the argument, and I have heard both sides of the argument. The most common reasons I’ve heard against instituting fees include: Read the rest of this entry »
Recently I have been thinking about all of the conferences that are held throughout the course of a year, because tomorrow, I am attending the International Destination Expo in Puerto Rico. At the beginning of each year, I start receiving email notifications from various organizations requesting my presence and extolling the value of attending their conference in order to check out all of the latest and greatest information that I can only hear about at their conference. Read the rest of this entry »
I consider myself a relatively organized person; especially compared to most people I know, so it is with much chagrin that I am writing this particular piece regarding CRMs—or Customer Relationship Managers. Over the past year I have been vacillating between a couple of CRM programs; now, before I tell you which ones, I would like to say that I am one who does not typically deliberate for over a year about anything. While I am not a kneejerk reactionary person, I do like to make decisions and move on. So, this situation has caused me a great amount of stress for a couple of reasons because, a) I don’t want to select the wrong program and feel “stuck” with it; and b) I would prefer not to pay for a program that isn’t going to be able to provide me with at least a majority of my needs. Read the rest of this entry »
Wow, it is hard to believe that a new year has already begun—one to be filled with endless possibilities and new terrain to be navigated. Business road maps are being completed; budgets are being worked on, and time management will quite possibly be at the top of the list of things that we, travel professionals, will continue to grapple with throughout the year. Read the rest of this entry »