December 21 will be the shortest day of the year, the Winter Solstice. Those of you who know something about astronomy will remember that the word Solstice means “sun standing still.” On that date, the sun reaches its southernmost extreme and the tilt of the earth begins to move back to allow for increasingly longer days. But hidden in our modern holiday celebrations are a few ancient secrets. Just a few centuries ago, when more lives were intimately bound with the agricultural calendar, the shortest day of the year had very significant meaning. Village folk would celebrate the beginning of a new year by lighting fires, burning logs to help a feeble sun roar back to life. Sure enough, it worked.
Pagan underpinnings aside, perhaps the ancients had it right. Chances were pretty good that the sun would return on its own. But, just to be sure, they provided a bit of assistance.
There is a lot of optimism in the air right now as everyone looks forward to the end of 2009 and a new year. There is every reason to hope that 2010 signals the return of a more enthusiastic travel market. But let’s don’t leave events to unfold on their own. Perhaps we should engage in a bit of activity designed to assist things along. Lighting a few fires might be a good idea to ensure that the feeble economy roars back to life.
Take the initiative.
This is not a good time to stand still. I’m hoping that we have inspired more than a few of you to generate written marketing plans for 2010. That’s a good first step. Now it’s time to begin living those plans. Take action. Get into motion. Light some fires. Your clients want to travel, they want to take advantage of the value pricing still in the market. Chances are very good they are going to travel next year.
Proactively be in touch with your clients. Offer your assistance. Tell them about the great values you see every day in your email inbox. Let them know that now is the time to see Ireland, Thailand, Greece and Rome. Now is the time to stay in a five star resort at three star prices.
Your clients are “yours” only if you claim them. Leave them unattended for too long, fail to anticipate their needs, and you do so at your peril. The fire goes out. Chances are pretty good your clients will return to you on their own, but there are other venues and channels of distribution hoping they won’t. There are forces aligned to lure your clients into direct bookings, online sorcery and all manner of alternatives to the traditional travel agent.
It’s time for a little marketing magic, and you have none to waste. Your competition is not standing still, and you should not be either. Get to work.
Now, let me tell you what all that mistletoe and holly is really all about.