We have passed the halfway mark in the year and it is time for my midterm exam. Where has the year gone? So many events have happened this year that have affected the industry and my business, not the least of which has been the economy. We have had the volcano in Iceland, the British Airways strike, civil unrest in Athens and most recently the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Although these events and others have had a powerful impact on the industry, I have seen my business grow since this time last year — something I would have never imagined at the beginning of the year given the current state of the economy.
We are still not out of the woods; and events happening around the world and here at home have an impact. In the travel industry, we have all become accustomed to dealing with the ever changing climate and volatility of our business. I have been fortunate enough to be able to continue to tap into new sources for business and re-tap into old sources like Tripology. I am projecting a positive outcome for 2010 and beyond. I already have bookings into 2011 and continue to receive inquiries from current clients as well as referrals for next year. It is always nice to get an email or phone call from a client from whom you have heard from in years saying, “you helped me with a trip to…..” or a call or an email from a referral saying, “my friends used you for their trip to…..” I have seen more of that this year than in the past. I believe people do want to speak to someone with knowledge and experience to help them to with their next travel adventure, and not just go online and book from a pretty picture. I am absolutely grateful for this and grade the experience of this business growth very highly.
On the downside of things, there is the paperwork and paper reduction issue. I don’t think anyone enjoys this aspect of the business. I started out the year with all good intentions of making headway (I am sure most of us have). My New Year’s resolution for my business had been one of reducing paper and becoming more efficient in balancing the pleasure of the arranging my clients’ travel adventures and the monotony of the paperwork, invoices and documentation. I have tried very hard to stick with this resolution, but I find I need to give myself an “A” for effort, but a “C” for execution. I started off the year on a high note as far as paper reduction. I took advantage of the slow time to clean up the paperwork mess. When I started getting busy again, the paper started to build up again. Tax season forced me to reduce the paper down to a manageable size, but I know it has started to grow again. I think this will be an ongoing challenge for me.
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Lastly, I see the opportunity to finally (this fall or early winter) to cross the pond myself. The more travel adventures I put together, the greater the need I have to get there once again myself. Education and experiences are most important in helping my clients with their travel adventures. Clients want to know that you have experienced the places you are recommending. In a previous article, I had mentioned about the opportunity to travel to Iceland, not once, but twice and chose not to go for various reasons. I can’t be the Wandering Puffin and not wander. I am experiencing serious withdrawal by not getting back to my playground. Opportunities to see places like the Baltic States have come across my desktop which I am investigating. I know I will cross the pond at least once this year, but for now, I can’t give myself a good grade.
I guess I have learned a few things after this midterm. I believe I have earned a good grade, perhaps a “B”, but I can always improve myself to better serve my clients and continue to enjoy being a part of the amazing and ever changing industry.
So, halfway through the year..how are you doing? Leave a comment!
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.