I suspect that most of us are glad 2009 is over, as there is no question that it was a year full of challenges for both travel suppliers and travel agents alike. And, while there are some positive indications that this will be a better year, there are a lot of travel professionals that feel 2010 will be another bad year.
We all know that in 2008 and 2009 the travel industry slowed. Travel suppliers were forced to come out with some innovative offers, most of which included lower prices, which resulted in lower commissions for travel agents. But, many agents faced the problem head on by aggressively marketing the resulting great offers. And guess what happened? Many of them had great years. They saw the glass as half full and marketed the offers their preferred suppliers were offering. Do you think the suppliers didn’t take notice of which agents helped them in 2009?
It is no surprise that some agents see 2010, as a half-full glass with many opportunities, while others are seeing a half-empty one with less commissions for another year. My point is that travel agents need to start thinking and marketing this year like the glass is half full.
For eight years, I hosted a two hour Saturday morning radio show, in Miami. While we prided our selves in having great cruise industry guests and a very entertaining show, I knew that many of our listeners were tuning in for the weekly specials. We rode that horse, and built our mailing list to over 70,000 travel club members. They were looking for the deals and our $28 million a year in sales, proved we found them for them.
If you are going to survive in today’s Internet world, you have to keep sifting though that half full glass and find the specials your clients will buy. If you don’t find them first, you can bet someone else will; and then yor clients will no longer be yours.
My New Year’s Wish!
I hope that all of you will make it your number one New Year’s resolution to join the ranks of the positive minded travel agents who saw the glass as half full in 2009, and start marketing all of the great offers your preferred suppliers will be sending your way in 2010. And you know what? If you do, you might just get that glass almost full just in time for 2011.
Larry Norman, CTC, MCC is an icon in the industry. He has been a consultant to over 5,000 Home Based Travel Agents and trained an estimated 22,000 travel agents over his career. He was Travel Trade’s 1996 Travel Educator of the Year. Larry owned a four state network of 17 agencies, with annual sales of $28 million. Larry is known as “The Outside Sales Agent Expert” for his presentations on outside sales at Travel Trade Cruise-A-Thons, ASTA, ARTA and NACOA travel agent conferences among others.
You can share your views with Larry at LNormanCTC@aol.com