Well with the year almost coming to an end I have to say it’s been an eventful one. I survived 2013 with the ups and downs and roundabouts. It has travelled fast and it’s hard to believe that we will be starting it all over again for another year. I have sent people on dream trips, bucket list trips, honeymoons and weddings; and got to see their photos and hear their wonderful stories. I have been on learning trips myself whether it be sailing on Celebrity’s ship or visiting Vegas for Virtuoso Week or escorting our home team football packages for games. Overall it’s been one big life lesson that has been difficult at times trying to balance work life with personal tragedy but I did it. Juggling does not come with an owner’s manual so all we can do is face one day at a time and do the best we can.
I definitely feel I have grown and improved in my knowledge and confidence in this industry. I have developed amazing relationships with suppliers with whom I keep contact with and receive regular updates. I have maintained and obtained some wonderful clients that I have gotten to know personally as well as professionally, and I take great pride in the service I provide.
When I first started writing these articles I wondered what I was getting myself into; but as the time progressed I found it was easy for me once I put pen to paper to simply start writing. I have had lots of wonderful feedback over the months from people who had read my articles and I was surprised at the impressions I had left. It’s also been interesting to read other agents’ diaries and realize that many of us face the same battles and dilemmas on a day-to-day basis. To be able to bounce ideas off of other people and see how they dealt with their problems has been a great asset for me. A problem shared is a problem halved I believe.
I think one of the biggest lessons I learned this year is that our relationships with our suppliers are crucial. Without honest, solid, reliable vendors to turn to, we become just like any other booking engine out there with no back up. This is what separates us from the Internet. We stand behind what we sell and we want to offer peace of mind for any traveler going on vacation. We care!
Of course people are always so quick to criticize a vendor when things go wrong that we often neglect to praise the ones that do go above and beyond during a crisis. I personally praised a particular vendor for assisting me with a difficult situation, and that person has now been awarded a performance certificate for her hard work and efforts. Social media is so powerful and has a lasting effect on how people choose what to do in certain scenarios–good or bad. So use it to your advantage but don’t abuse it as it can backfire too.
In closing I am excited for Christmas and the colder snowy temperatures in my area. Instead of just looking at beaches and oceans for vacations it’s a great time of the year for people who want to plan ski vacations and sip Gluhwein by a fire while the kids are building snowmen outside. It’s the time of year where giving is more important than receiving, and the time of year to reflect on the past and dream about the future.
I have a lot to reflect upon, and significant changes to expect these next few months as I will be traveling on a journey so different to any I’ve done before—the voyage of motherhood. I am delighted to be expecting our first baby boy or girl in March. My adventure is only about to begin and I am so excited for this trip of a lifetime. I hear it changes your life.
What do you have to look forward to for 2014?
Nikki Smith works in a Boise based brick and mortar agency, Global Travel, a Virtuoso Agency. Nikki got her start in her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland when she started in the industry as a flight attendant. She has also worked as a guide for ski and snow vacations worldwide.