In the travel industry we have become experts in change. We are known for adapting and changing with every challenge tossed our way. Commissions, SARS, wars, recessions, terrorist attacks, disease, regulations, pestilence, and more! If you can you name it, as an industry, we’ve probably overcome it. I know in my own business, my business model has changed many times; and with each of those changes comes a lot of stress and pressure to perform. After all I am a single dad with three kids to support. Failure was not an option.
In the early days, one of the most frustrating things was the delay in results. As a society, we are pretty much focused on instant satisfaction. Hello Twitter! When we drive a car and turn the wheel—the car turns. When we send an email asking a question—we expect an answer. The American psyche is focused on instant gratification. The delays in gratification ticked me off originally. I organized a group cruise–why wasn’t it sold out yet? I opened up a small very high end office for luxury consults. Why weren’t the millionaires beating down my door to buy travel? I wanted instant results. And they rarely came.
Now with nearly 20 years in the industry (yikes, I am almost a lifer), I can look back and see that the delay in my results was actually crucial to my success. Consider the following:
1. It lets you acquire new skills.
New project. New skills. Pretty simple, right? In any new project, we will find obstacles which need a new skill set to manage. Use the delay to build these skills.
2. It gives you the time to rearrange your focus.
Let’s say your New Year’s resolution was to specialize in wine tours. Will this simply slide into your business plan? Or will you need to shuffle something else to a lower priority? Will you need to drop something entirely? When your results are delayed, you have time to make thoughtful, deliberate decisions on how to re-organize your travel business.
3. It gives you practice time.
Practice makes perfect. Use this time to practice so when your results do come in, you will have mastered your new skills. Wine tours? How about a Sommelier’s course so you can walk the walk? Become the master of your own domain.
4. It allows you to expand your network.
Do you know all of the vendors who do wine tours? Do you know the best ones? More importantly, do they know you? Take this time to seek out those who can help you in your success.
5. It teaches patience.
Patience is one of the critical traits every travel professional must have. Think about the time spent on hold and the countless changes made by clients. Take this delay in your success and use it to your advantage. I remember the adage my mother used to say–good things come to those who wait.
6. It allows you to recover when you screw up.
We all make mistakes. Face it, it is going to happen. It is better to make them early and learn from them rather than later. A delay in your results will allow you to fail, fail again, and then get it right.
7. It promotes legitimate growth.
There’s nothing like the real thing. When you experience success too fast, very often it is short lived and not legitimate. There have been many flash-in-the-pan travel companies in the industry. Don’t be one of them. Slow and steady growth will typically result in much more long term success
While, I think I may have just tossed some conventional wisdom out the window, I am not suggesting to let any new plans drag on forever without results. You do need to see movement toward the results. If we can learn to accept a delay in our success as a positive, we can lay the foundations for solid future growth. However, if we fight it and artificially enhance it, often we end up frustrated and disappointed. The next time you embark on a new initiative in your travel business, use any delay you might encounter to your advantage. You quite probably will come out ahead!