Immersing yourself in the culture of travel is a good way to provide the right side of your brain with creative fodder for brainstorming. One way to keep yourself current and fresh in the travel industry is to mix with other travel professionals. The interchange of ideas, the trading of new techniques and destinations, is a nearly invaluable opportunity for you to learn how other agents are successfully putting new concepts into practice. What works in other markets is very likely to have some applicability in your own.
You are fortunate to be in an industry where you do not have to operate in a vacuum. There are regional associations to which you can belong, online communities and trade shows you can attend. Each of these venues provides an opportunity to mix with other agents in a largely non-competitive setting and to exchange ideas. The key is to actively involve yourself, however. Merely “lurking” is not nearly as productive or enriching as actually participating in discussions. There is a vast repository of accumulated wisdom in the thousands of travel agents who participate in forums like TRO’s Community . Your participation in any of these online forums almost certainly guarantees that you will learn how other agents are working their businesses, the marketing techniques that are working and those that are not.
Likewise, trade shows are an important part of the travel agency business. At the major shows held several times a year there are opportunities to learn from industry leaders, from suppliers and from other agents. Trade shows are an excellent way to re-energize your practice.
Finally, spend time in at least one other trade for which you have an affinity. The techniques used by other industries to promote and market are very likely to have some applicability for you as a travel professional. Whether it is the construction industry, photography, accounting or automobile sales, spend some time on occasion looking at how other industries approach their markets. Pick up their trade magazines and read a few articles. I’ll bet you find your creative instincts awakened when you connect the dots between that industry and travel.
Tomorrow – Creative Brainstorming Techniques