I have to admit, I tend to be an education junkie. I’ve always been that way — wanting to take every class possible in college and graduate school. I’ve even taken classes that didn’t count toward any degree. It wasn’t always easy applying what was taught in classroom to the workplace. If only things would be black and white, and never gray. We all know that isn’t reality, and even more so in the travel industry. Sure there are different aspects of the business and varying areas that we must learn. Some can be taught in a classroom setting or online, but there are some that you just learn from experiencing them first hand.
When this diary goes live, I’ll be on the last leg of a multi-week journey through Europe. It’s definitely an area that I don’t visit often enough. Since we were already spending money to fly over, why not make the most of our time and really delve into multiple countries? It’s a wonderful way to grow personally, professionally, and gain new knowledge to assist clients with their adventures.
What I have come to realize after many years of building my business is that I need to reward myself; and so I have decided to travel to at least one new destination every year. By doing so it can really give me that boost I need. Don’t you get excited when you go somewhere or try something new? It’s like opening a present.
Clients want our expertise; clients need our expertise, but that expertise needs to be something more than they can read on the Internet. It needs to be personal — personal knowledge, personal experience, personal contacts in the destination, etc. They need to know how to logically plan activities, where to dine, where to stay, and much more.
Do you have an education plan similar to a marketing plan? I do now. I made a list (and it’s pretty long), but I have prioritized it, and when an opportunity comes up I refer to my list to see if it fits my priorities. What destinations are you most interested in yourself? That would be a great place to start and share your passion. Try to visit a new destination each year; something different, like adding to your portfolio. Not that you can’t assist clients if you have never been to a specific destination, you certainly can. However, I have found that with each place I visit, I see it in a different light than what I envisioned before I visited. It’s like the last pieces to a puzzle. There really is something to be said about good old fashioned education, don’t you think?
Stephanie Cannon is the owner of Honeymoons Designed, a home-based agency located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has been a professional travel consultant since 2006 and specializes in Romance Travel. Her focus is on customizing unique, authentic, and unforgettable experiences. Most of her client base consists of couples celebrating a honeymoon, destination wedding, anniversary, or vow renewal. She is a recent Certified Tahiti Specialist and currently enrolled in the CTA program.