2008 is shaping up to be a memorable year. It‘s been the year of a truly historic political season and presidential election and the year of what turned out to be one of the most engaging Olympics ever. But those of us in the travel business have had a particularly eventful year. It reminds me of the Chinese curse: “May you have an interesting life.”
The year started with a weak economy that turned into a full-blown banking crisis. The dollar abroad has taken a severe pounding (so to speak) making travel to Europe a more expensive proposition that it has in years. Oil speculation jacked the cost of fuel up high enough to provide the airlines and cruise lines ample opportunity to create a fee-ing frenzy. There are certainly fewer airlines now than in January. To make things more interesting, hurricanes at times this season have been lined up across the Atlantic like cars at an 8:30 a.m. Starbucks drive through.
Yet the travel industry had proven amazingly resilient. It’s not been a banner year, but by almost any measure it’s been a better year than many would have thought given the convergence of events. What’s next?
It is times like these that present real opportunity to a select group of travel professionals that understand the role of marketing. During an economic slump, many companies pull in their marketing, exactly the wrong move. When others quit marketing, there is no better time for you to accelerate your own. Potential clients have an easier time hearing you when there is less competitive noise, and you gain important “mind-share”: when times turn around, and they will turn around, it’s your company’s name they will remember.
With 2009 right around the corner, now is a good time to get all of your marketing plans together to take advantage of the opportunity to make yourself heard. TRO is doing its part by presenting a day-by-day guide to building a marketing plan in its 365 Guide on its home page. Follow along with TRO over the next two months and we will help you put together your marketing plan. But you have to provide the key ingredient: ACTION.
Too many business people feel they are working off of a marketing plan simply because they have a marketing plan. Just having a plan is not enough. You have to DO something. Put yourself on the line – freshen up your marketing collateral, enhance your image, write some articles, start a newsletter, find speaking engagements. That is the glory of business life. Each of you are in charge of your own business trajectory. Whether you are the owner of an agency or an employee, you are responsible for your own growth and professional development.
What’s next? Action. Put yourself in the game.