Here we are at the end of the first quarter of the year and I can’t believe how fast the time is passing. You may recall that I began this column with a goal. I wanted to take charge of my business, learn how to say “no” to some potential sales, and not let the industry control me. I was so positive I could do it, but a quarter into the year, I am thinking that those might have been some pretty lofty goals. You do need goals to have something to work toward, and I wanted to lead by example, as any good owner or manager would. What I have learned is not to try and do it all at once! My enthusiasm for change led me to rush into it.
One goal was to specialize and not be all things to all people. I was determined to sell myself, and not the product. With many years and much expertise in destination weddings and honeymoons, I decided to put a significant portion of our advertising and marketing budget with what we knew best, and where we were good. Bridal show season is in full swing, and I jumped in “head first”, thinking that a repeated presence at the shows would resonate with the brides. When they see Journeys Unlimited Travel at every local bridal show, they will know that my agency is the local agency who wants to work with brides. With this goal in mind, I have done 4 shows in 3 months. Whew!
We all know the key to a successful show is follow up, follow up, and more follow up. Four shows in three months resulted in too many leads and not enough time to complete thorough follow up. And if you don’t have the time to follow up with your leads, someone else will. This was my first mistake.
In my last column, I told you about our “texting” club, as a simple, innovative way to reach our brides. We do have a large following of brides who are taking part in the contests I am running as part of this new way to socially market, but I don’t see a lot of those contacts turning into booked honeymoons. I realize that it has only been 3 months, so the jury is still out if this is the best way for me to stay in touch with my brides. This could be mistake number two.
So now what? As the second quarter is about to start, where do I go from here? After taking a step back to analyze things, the solution became apparent. You don’t have to change everything to change something. Yes, specializing is good. Yes, social media is good. The real key to success is finding a way to combine it with what is currently working for you. Whether it’s email, direct mail, or carrier pigeon; if you are seeing success in reaching your clients, continue it! If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Just enhance it.
So far, the most important lesson I have learned is that some ideas will work, and some won’t; and what works one time may not work the next. Don’t abandon the basics. For me, the real key to finding new success is to just keep trying—one step at a time!
Amy Hobbins, MCC, CTA, is a 20 plus year industry veteran. She has managed both the corporate and leisure side of a full service retail agency, as well as teaching evenings at a travel school. She is the owner of Journeys Unlimited Travel, with an emphasis on destination weddings and the honeymoon market. Journeys Unlimited Travel is known for its full “travel concierge” services available to their clients.