It’s the end of April and I’m engrossed watching the NHL playoffs. And I’m in a funk-of-a-slump. On the work front I am still promoting my existing group space for the Civil War Cruise and the fund-raiser for the Wounded Warrior Project. But I have reached a plateau in recruiting more group business right now. Hence, the slump, and the obsession with hockey playoffs.
I am fighting my way through the slump however. To that end I had a brainstorming session today with a woman who is not in travel. She is a marketing genius, and has a lot of connections in my area. She was a wealth of information, and we found out quickly that we each have strengths that complement each other (meaning we might work well together). After 90 minutes she was energized and excited.
We had half a dozen ideas on the table, and set an appointment to follow up tomorrow. If just one of those ideas comes to fruition, it will be the shot in the arm that I need right now.
My other strategy to get out of this slump is to take advantage of some supplier resources. One of the cruise line BDMs will be in town this week, and I want to maximize her presence in town. I am arranging some appointments for us to meet with one or two group leaders. These are targeted appointments, with very specific people and very specific goals. I have developed a group proposal for each to give them an idea of what we can do for them (fund-raising for one; supplemental income for the other). To be successful, these appointments need to have a purpose and be laser-focused on a target.
Other ways I’m trying to fight my slump include reaching out to past clients. I am specifically avoiding my many past group leaders. I am planting some seeds that will hopefully bloom down the road. They are seasoned travelers, they’ve booked with me more than once, they love to travel, and they have friends. Why not get a small group of friends together and travel as a group? And what are the benefits to them for doing so? That’s the current pitch I’m using to scout out future group leaders.
And finally, it’s never too early to think about Spring Break. I have a potential group leader that is in the early stages of planning Spring Break 2013 for graduating seniors from two local private schools. This is a normal event for them, but in the past they’ve planned in a haphazard fashion (booking around Christmas for Spring Break three months later). I am pushing for her to rally the troops now, for next year’s spring break, to lock in room availability and pricing early.
When I report back in a month, the Nashville Predators will be heading to the Stanley Cup Finals and we’ll be closer to the end of this year’s hockey season. And hopefully the end of my current slump.
Susan Schaefer is the owner of Ships N Trips Travel as well as niche operations trading as Kick Butt Vacations, focused on college students; Kick Butt Events focusing on fundraising; and Your Kiwi Specialist specializing in anything New Zealand. You can reach Susan by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.