I’ve heard it said that Thanksgiving is the “official” start of the holiday season. But if you have been shopping anytime in the past thirty days, you would see that the “official, official” start seems to be right around Halloween. For most of us, this is a slow time. The kids are set up in their school routines and the adults tend to be concerned with two major meals, holiday spending, and just making it through to 2012. Travel seems to come to a lull.
The corporate traveler is likely staying local for the holidays and putting the wraps on another year, or possibly making a mileage run to move to “platinum.” Any travel happening around the holidays has already been booked and paid in full. Certainly, very few leisure travelers are thinking about spring break or summer travel. So what is a travel professional to do?
This is a perfect time to get it all together.
- Clear out the clutter. Ditch last year’s brochures, spring clean your office.
- Contact your clients. Make sure you let them know you are thinking about them. Don’t sell them, just say hello. Have you sent a Thanksgiving Card?
- Look at your marketing plan (you have one, right?) and tweak it. Make sure your guideline for 2012 is still on track.
- Connect with your colleagues and see if there are any ways that you can work together to increase both of your businesses in 2012. At least connect to say hello!
- Identify your top X clients over the past few years and focus on them in 2012—give then VIO status. An existing client is much easier to sell than a new prospect.
- While you are in your database, why not add some updates to their profiles. Are they single, married, with children, divorced? Do they like cruises, tours, FITs? Are they leisure or corporate or both? How do they like to be contacted—phone, email, Facebook, text message, or not at all? With this information you can stand out from the crowd.
- Try to look to 2013. OK so it is a year away, but get yourself in the mindset that you are going to still be here and stronger than ever. Look at trends and see if there is a niche you can develop—they don’t develop overnight, you know!
- Rest up a little. Take a day off here and there and let any telephone calls go to voicemail. Clear your head. Smell the air. It’s been a tough few years and you deserve it!
- Change the oil in your car and the filters in your furnace. Why? Because you know they’re due and you just haven’t had the time to get them done.
Before you know it, January will be here and the phones will begin ringing more often, the web traffic will grow, and people will once again be thinking about travel and (more importantly) booking it! This business is cyclical and each year most of us see the ebbs and flows. We are in an ebb now, so let’s take the time to be ready for 2012!
What do you do to decompress after a busy year? Do you see a downturn in business the last few months of the year? Let me know!