The recession really hit my bottom line this past year. I am looking forward to a better 2010 as far as bookings are concerned.
There have been many changes for me this past year. First I tried to implement research fees. This worked well with a select few clients. Since I sell mainly all inclusive packages I have found that charging research fees has cost me some clients. I went back and forth all year on charging fees and not charging fees. Finally my mind is made up. For all inclusive packages I will not be charging research fees. I will price match if possible and I will monitor prices post booking and give my clients the lowest price. This way I stay competitive and increase my business. It is working very well. My business has seen an increase already.
This year I have also branched out to include other revenue sources in the travel market. I am a mentor for new agents with my host agency Travel Planners International. When a mentee makes a booking with Travel Planners I earn a small portion of their commission which is my payment for the work I do. Each week I spend approximately 30 minutes with each mentee “teaching them the ropes.” I put in about 3 hours a week mentoring new agents and have found it very rewarding.
Web design and development has been a hobby of mine for years. This year I have turned it into a revenue stream by designing and developing websites for other travel agents. By learning Joomla I can create dynamic websites in less than half the time using Dreamweaver. Joomla also has plenty of modules and plugins that make my life easy and websites interactive.
This year was a challenge due to the economy. However, I must say that I learned a lot this year, especially on how to be more creative to generate income. I have enjoyed writing monthly for these travel agent diaries. The experience has caused me to monitor my business closer and not take things for granted. I have learned much from the other agents who also participated.
I wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season and happy selling for the New Year!
Pat Saizan, ACC, CTC owns Saizan’s Travel based in Altamonte Springs, FL (a home based agency hosted by Travel Planners International). For more information, you can contact Pat at Pat@SaizansTravel.com.
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