Working smarter | Travel Research Online


Working smarter

I am perhaps one of the most impatient people I know. I can’t wait for anything. I hate lines. I hate slow moving traffic. Fedex is my friend. My friends and kids know this too—if they are talking and don’t get to the point fast enough, I will tune them out. But, my youngest daughter was confused when she overheard me on the phone discussing how pleased I was with a waitlist.  Then I had to explain that when I control the waitlist, it is a good thing; but when others do…not so much. OK, so where is this going? Working smarter!

Last week, I was reading a travel forum and one of the agents was having an issue with accommodating a prospect on a group trip. Everyone made all sorts of suggestions on how to accommodate her prospect to no avail. The bottom line was that there simply was no room available for her.  I ran into that problem this week as well when my semi-annual group trip to the Rocking Horse Ranch sold out.

All of the “work” has been completed, and booking families into the group is a breeze—especially since I am not dealing with a convoluted group department. Of course I want to sell as many spots as possible. But the physical rooms are gone and quite literally, there is no room at the inn. Knowing that I will have a few cancellations between now and travel (we negotiate a very flexible cancellation policy), I started my own waitlist. I sent out mailers to my leads and prospects and let them know that we were indeed sold out. I created desire. And because everyone wants something they can’t have, I now have 19 names on my waitlist begging for a spot. From past history, I know I will have three or four cancellations and the ranch will have maybe ten more. Not a bad place to be. I just made ten or more sales!

This is great for my bottom line right now—my fourth quarter is usually my worst when it comes to income. But what this waitlist does is make it even better for the next time!

Yes, there is a next time. I have found a group that is tremendously successful time after time, year after year. Managing it is almost like riding a bike—I have my standard forms, contacts, amenities, etc. When I announce this group, I can count on 15 families signing up within the week and I can usually predict (within one or two) the number of families who will ultimately travel. The combination of my expertise, the property, our added value, and the exclusivity makes this a winner for everyone.  And after I let my past travelers know about this new trip, who do you think will be notified next?

I believe that being successful in this business (or any business) is more about working smarter than working harder. My colleague on the other forum has a group trip that is in demand and she can sell it out time and time again. I have a group trip that is in demand and can sell it out time and time again. It may be mundane to me, but to my clients it is a weekend full of fun and entertainment. The effort put forth in managing this group is little more than the effort put forth in managing a single cruise booking. Copy and Paste are my friends and when it comes time to do it again, all I need is a date from the property and to know if my net rate has increased! Now that is working smarter!

How do you work smarter in your business? Please share the wealth–leave a comment!

  One thought on “Working smarter

  1. Suraj Zutshi, CTC, CTIE says:

    Always have a waitlist. Over the years my trips to India, Nepal, Tibet, Sri Lanka have had the good fortune of having waitlists and cancellations are inevitable. I limit my group size to 18, one year I accepted 22 and went out with 17. The most remarkable was when the trip was six weeks ago and I said the seats go to whoever can me the money quickest. I had payments coming in by overnight mail! But the trips are always a good value and that is what sells them – being the cheapest does not help. Yes, we all want something we cannot have – we are human, after all.

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