This wonderful year is coming to a close, and it has been a roller coaster ride indeed. I am humbled by the opportunity to have been able to write for such a great community, and I will take a lot away from this experience. Geez, it sounds like I’m done! But, in fact, I feel as if I am just beginning. I am constantly intrigued that I learn something new every day in this industry, and while some of the things I learn cause me to scratch my head, there are other lessons I’ve learned this year that have ensnared me deeper into this business – so for that, I am thankful.
I took a look back at my first article, “Kicking it off right!” and I reviewed the list of items I wanted to accomplish, become better at, or simply begin implementing. Well, I must admit that there are some areas in which I failed miserably; for instance, the networking I did was paltry. While I did attend several networking type of events this year, I fell short of my own goal, but hey, I can do better next year! And that is the beauty in life and business, you can always do better.
Another aspect I feel I missed the mark on was social media. I do have my blog, but I have not jumped on the Twitter bandwagon, nor the Facebook wagon (as of yet); however, I recalled reading a couple of passages in Tony Hsieh’s book, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
that applied to my perception of social media as a whole; the first being, “Don’t play games that you don’t understand, even if you see lots of other people making money from them.” Both Twitter and Facebook are discussed throughout every industry imaginable, and while I can appreciate that they are definitely wonderful marketing tools, I feel that if they are not executed properly, they can do more harm than good. So with that being said, if I do decide to jump on either or both of these wagons, I want to be certain I know what I am doing, versus simply following the pack and doing what everyone else is doing. And that leads me to another poignant statement from Hsieh, “Differentiate yourself. Do the opposite of what the rest…are doing.” Differentiation is one of the keys to success, and I work hard every day to set myself and my business apart from rest of the pack.
I have been blessed with a multitude of individuals within the travel community as well as outside of the travel community that have generously given of their time, wisdom and suggestions. It is a humbling experience to have to call upon others to help you, but what I’ve found is that people are more than willing to help with constructive feedback; especially when they see you are serious about your endeavor. The business world is a competitive place, but it lightens my heart every day when I see so many within our community that are willing to provide valuable assistance to those who are new to this industry, and even to those more experienced travel professionals who also need suggestions from time to time.
So often we look back at a year and sweat the things we feel we haven’t accomplished, versus commending ourselves for the accomplishments we did make. I am guilty of that too; however, as I look back on this year, while there are significant areas of improvement, I know that all in all, I did pretty darn well, and I know that the lessons I learned this year will only benefit me in 2012. Thanks to all of those who read my articles and added valuable input. I wish you only continued success for the remainder of 2011 and much more in 2012!
Chanté Owens is co-owner of Chicks That Trip, and is an independent affiliate of Incentive Connection Travel. Chicks That Trip specializes in group travel, culinary & wine experiences, and major sporting event packages to the UK, France, Italy, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and select Southern Caribbean Islands. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit her website at www.chicksthattrip.com and her blog penned under the name, That Chick Té at http://chicksthattrip-lobbybarconfessions.blogspot.com/