I was trying to think about what to write this time around and looked back on last month’s Travel Agent Diary entry. Last month, I was considering a balance between being a generalist and having a niche market or specialty areas in which I have a passion. I was feeling more optimistic about how my business was picking up, but it was just starting. Thankfully, it has continued to do so. I was also concerned by the “demise” of Tripology which turned out to be premature as they are back like the Phoenix rising, and part of Rand McNally. I am excited to have this resource back, having found the other resources, not nearly as good.
I learned that a true balance in business is necessary in order to succeed in a time of economic downturn. I have been reconnecting with old clients and even found a few who were in the process of reaching out to me. One woman said the timing of my email to her was perfect as they were considering a trip in the late fall to countries in Central and South America. While this is not my true niche, a good working knowledge and good contacts makes it a good situation. Essentially intertwining the specialist with the generalist seems to be working for me. Having the ways and means to ride the economic wave is essential.
One of the effects of business picking up is that I have the opportunity to travel again. I was no different than my clients and delayed my travels due to the economy. Traveling to the destinations which I sell is an essential part of my business and my business plan. I was to go to the Mid Atlantic Conference in Iceland this past February, but put it off until next year. Unfortunately, my income is based on the discretionary income of others. In the meantime, I was invited on an educational trip in May to Iceland, so the postponement actually turned out to be a good thing. I intend to participate on this return visit to one of my favorite places in the world and a prime location for my company’s namesake–the puffin.
Another part of balancing the effects of the economic downturn was to reassess how to use resources and time more efficiently, especially since I am a one man band. I have cut down on the purchase of supplies and tried to focus my resources on specific marketing campaigns that I believe are cost effective (email broadcasts) but more focused on the individual client. I have tried to clean up my database and my work space. How can it be that when you are shredding old papers, you discover some of them are from the last century? Cleaning up in these areas has allowed me the opportunity to be more efficient overall, but it is a process, something perhaps that may not have happened, if the downturn had not happened. It was truly a catalyst. I am again optimistic about the future of my business and that of the industry, but as with the last economic downturn, I have had to try to find out ways to be more efficient and this time, it is to benefit me and Wandering Puffin–not the agency through which I worked in the past.
Jamison Bachrach is better known as the Wandering Puffin for the way he likes to travel. Jamison has been in the travel industry for almost 14 years and has been home based for a little more than 2 years and specializes in independent European travel planning, specifically, central and eastern Europe, as well as Scandinavia.
Jamison has traveled to over 35 countries, including most of Europe. Wandering Puffin LLC. Is located in Plymouth, MN. Jamison can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 763-244-0669. www.wanderingpuffin.com.
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