Who says being a travel agent means that one only sells travel? Although that is what most of us do for the majority of the time; there are other aspects of the job that go without much herald. Of course, at times we may become bean counters, office managers, paper shufflers and even janitors in some way or another while we operate our business; it can still be a grind on a daily level.
So for me, I have found numerous ways to branch out and challenge myself in other areas of the travel industry that offer plenty of interest and excitement beyond the everyday selling routine. For those of you that read our weekly article, the “Travel Agent Diaries”; you can assess we all come from different backgrounds with different interests. Given the chance to pen this article has been a great way to expand on my love of writing while becoming aware of my own trials I have encountered this year. Additionally, I look forward, when my year is up, to continue to write, sharpen my prose and expand to other travel related themes and experiences.
In addition to selling travel, I also am a chapter director for OSSN in Palm Beach County, FL where I meet with many home based agents and connect them with others that have similar types of business models. I host meetings throughout the year and bring in top suppliers to speak about their cruise ships, tours or destinations while providing our members an opportunity to meet others in the industry that may benefit them and their business. It is a challenging position, but it provides me with contacts and resources I would never have obtained if not for taking on the post of a chapter director.
Although I have never been shy about speaking in public, I am about to gain my first experience in public speaking as a panelist at a travel conference in October. I will be joining Richard Earls of our own Travel Research Online in Boston to discuss the importance of “branding” on Facebook; where we will share insights and real life stories about social media and how it integrates with ones business model. This will be quite the opportunity for growth and I look forward to the challenge of speaking in front of the many agents, suppliers and big wigs in the travel industry.
Another opportunity that arose recently, involved fundraising for our youth tackle football league, in which I raised a significant amount of money for the league by incorporating a raffle for a weekend cruise. Although it was quite a learning curve to make sure it was implemented correctly while maintaining a strict control over the entire process; we ended up with an overall successful campaign. Although there were a few bumps in the road; I learned a great deal about raising money and volunteering my time.
And finally, I have made a number of educational presentations over the last few years, participated as a group leader for an inaugural cruise, and have been asked to participate as a host and speaker for a Seminar at Sea Fam cruise to round out the many opportunities that have knocked on my door.
So where will this all end up? I will probably never know, honestly, because opportunities knock all the time and although many may be small and menial; it is the larger, more challenging prospects that intrigue and drive me. I have always put myself in positions where I am asked if I want to step up to the plate and participate; and usually, I am quick to accept, only to sweat the details in private. But if I can better myself somehow, experience opportunity and growth, and enjoy something different from the day to day grind we all seem to endure, then I will put myself out on an island and rise to the challenge while reaping the rewards that come with the opportunities.
Vincent Yeck, CTA, DS is the owner and agent of Yeck’s Cruise & Travel in Lake Worth, Florida. He is a “Destination Specialist” for the Caribbean and specializes in cruises, family travel and groups; including youth sports fundraising. He also is the OSSN Chapter Director for Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast, a travel industry trade association representing and supporting the Independent Travel Agent, Home Based Travel Agency, and the Outside Sales Travel Agent. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or his website at www.yecks.com.