The past few months have been intense. I think I have worked harder this past year than I have ever worked in my life, and I’m no slacker! But battling the economy, working with my slave driver of a marketing coach, and making over my marketing materials has been an exhausting experience.
I’ve learned some interesting things over the last nine months. I think the most interesting thing of all though, is that despite the economy, we did not change our business model. We have always required a deposit for our services before we start putting together prices and itineraries. That didn’t change. Sales are up, and 78% of the people we’ve met with, have decided to hire us to plan their honeymoon or destination wedding. I’ve read countless posts from agents who continually get burned by potential clients who use their knowledge, run them around for days with price matches, only to book elsewhere or online themselves. Every time I see one of these posts I want to jump through the computer and help these agents find a way to sell themselves so they don’t continue to have this aggravation be a part of their daily lives, but all I can do is tell you that there is an easier way!
This year we’ve also jumped into social marketing. Since I don’t know the first thing about Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, or any of the other sites, we found someone within our organization that really does understand and enjoy it, and has time to manage it. While it’s still too soon to tell what impact these efforts will have, we’re learning a lot from other agents who are using it with great success.
The biggest project of all over the last few months has been the new website. Unfortunately I didn’t make the best choice in retaining a developer for this project as it wound up costing a great deal of time and money. There were so many other projects contingent upon the new site being done, and now several things are behind as a result. The lesson learned is to always work with someone local that you can meet with in person that really understands your needs and is excited about the project! We’re starting over again with a local designer that has done other projects for us this week.
Lastly, I believe I’ve learned that you have to keep moving ahead. Yes the news is terrible, but each new situation brings some kind of new opportunity. If nothing else I believe the recession served as a wake-up call for many that we can’t take anything for granted, and that everything counts! If it’s slow, sit down and plan out your marketing activities for the next three months, and then measure your results. If it’s busy, make sure you take the time to let your clients know how much you appreciate their business. But don’t let the bad news stop you from moving forward.
Laura Frazier is the President of Bliss Honeymoons based in Columbus, OH. For more information, you can contact Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org
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