Have you set your goals for 2015 yet? Do they include becoming more organized and maybe a little less frazzled this year, as you aim to increase your luxury travel sales? Mine do, as it seems they do every year. In this world of luxury travel, staying organized, focused and efficient, along with being ridiculously detail-oriented, has to stay top priority pretty much all of the time. The start of a new year is a perfect time to create a “Vision Board” or maybe, as I did this year, an ongoing “Vision Journal” that can be started in January and added to throughout the entire year.
I literally cut out words and photos from magazines that speak to me, and in doing so, I realized that the pages of this year’s book have taken on themes including health, success, love, business, travel and joy. It’s not all about business, but I never forget to include a few dollar signs and words about business success, as we all need to manifest what we want in our lives.
As I’ve transitioned over the years from journalist to full-time entrepreneur/luxury travel advisor, I’ve realized the huge importance of consistently setting challenging—but not unrealistic—goals. I know it’s smart for me to do this not just at the beginning of each year and not just in regards to my business. With so many new requests for luxury trips coming in, if I don’t take the time to step back and goal set about what will help me most efficiently take care of my clients and grow my business, the result will be less than optimal. This is something that is pretty much a fact and a no-brainer for any business owner, not just one specializing in the sale of luxury travel.
Looking at my list of goals this year, I see that I placed “building my referrals from my existing client base” much higher on the list than “increasing revenue”. That’s not because I don’t want to grow the company’s profits; it’s because I know that this will happen organically as I take even better care of my existing clients, and this, in turn, generates more referrals to like-minded high-end travelers.
Another key goal is to make sure my entire team is working with me in a way that best allows me to give the most personalized attention to my top clients, and trust that they are handling all of the small details that go into planning every single trip. We are constantly looking out for new productivity tools, apps, and client management systems that allow us to improve our work flow. Not being afraid to bring on additional support as we go forward and grow is also on my list of goals this year. It can be scary to ask for help at times, but it’s scarier when your existing assistants or support teams tell you they are simply burnt out and you can see it in the quality of their work.
Any of us that sell luxury travel need to recognize when it’s time to ask for help, in order to make sure that our clients do have the best possible experience and come back time and again to book with us. If and when things start slipping through the cracks, it becomes your reputation at stake. Rather than risk this (or worse yet, lose a client because no one on your team got back to him in a timely fashion), make it a top priority to check in with everyone daily, see where they need you to personally step in and handle details that you don’t want missed, and keep in mind that it’s your business, your clients, and your branding that is out there for the clients to talk up in a positive or negative fashion. Aim to keep the chatter positive this year as you work towards an increased confidence in your team and your clients and know that the ultimate pay-off will be an increased referral rate and higher profits.
Stacy Small is the president/founder of Elite Travel International, an LA-based Virtuoso travel firm. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @elitetravelgal.