So, this is it. My year (closer to 11 months, but who’s counting) is up. Looking back, all I can say is what a year it’s been—both personally and professionally.
But first I would like to thank Travel Research Online for asking me to do this series. I can’t say it’s been easy – but it has definitely been worth it. You would think writing to a deadline would be a piece of cake, given the way we have to hit deadlines every day in our business. It’s not. The fact is, sometimes you just don’t feel it. On the other hand, sometimes you do. It’s amazing how many times, among all the other random thoughts going through my head, I have said to myself: “I need to remember this for the next Travel Agent Diary.”
So, if you recall, I started the year childless and now have 3 happy teens and tweens, along with my aging mother and disabled brother living with me. That, along with building this host agency, makes about 4 full time jobs (if not more). But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Even on the days I hate my life, I love my life. So, I would also like to thank all of them—and my partner, my agents, and my clients. All of you conspire together to keep me off the streets—and unmarried. Which, given my history, is probably saving me a ton of money and my hypothetical next ex-wife a ton of stress.
Speaking of agents, I now have exactly twice as many solid, producing agents as I had when I started the year. Four more years of growth at this rate, and Bridges & Holman will be a serious player. While sales have come down and steadied from our terrific first quarter, we’re still outpacing previous sales by a considerable margin. Not to be too blatant, but if any of you are thinking of changing hosts, feel free to reach out to me. I am easy to find. And we really are building something here that I think would be a boon for many. A phone call or email costs nothing!
I am all set for CruiseWorld, with our exhibit stuff laying around the office ready to send to Fort Lauderdale, and my presentation “Relationship Marketing through Social Media” about halfway done (I never finish these things until about a day and a half before).
I have had the privilege of spending a long weekend in San Francisco and a longer weekend in the Grand Canyon with the keikes, 3 days in Tucson for the Global Travel Marketplace, and 4 days in Mexico City on a FAM trip. In 4 weeks I will step onboard a cruise ship for the 1st time this year – a 2-day pre-inaugural on the Norwegian Escape. This will be the 1st year since 2005 that I have spent less than 14 days cruising. I remember the good old days (2007) when I took 9 cruises in a year. But, hey, I guess that’s the price I pay for building something beautiful. Both a happy family and a thriving business are wonders to behold. But now I am just getting mushy.
Seriously, my friends, it’s been a super year, it’s gone by incredibly fast, and it has been a real growth experience for me by writing this series. I just hope that you found one thing in one column that touched you in some way, and helped you become a better agent, or a better person. I know I have had more than a few “aha!” moments myself. Which is why I would encourage any of you to give serious consideration to doing the same. I am sure the editor, John, will be looking for a new set of brilliant, dynamic, ambitious and articulate travel agents to do the same thing next year. And I’ve set the bar fairly low on brilliant, dynamic, ambitious and articulate, so I hope some of you will reach out to him. I guarantee you won’t regret it.
With that, I am signing off for this month and this year. Hopefully I’ll cross paths with some of you in the future, as we all keep plugging away at our chosen profession.
Editor’s note: If indeed you are interested in writing for the TRO Travel Agent Diaries series next year, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave Holman is a Partner at Bridges & Holman Worldwide Travel, based out of Southern California, with 9 years experience in the travel industry. He will draw on his past experience as a serial entrepreneur, as well as his time as a hosted agent at Coral Sands Travel and Expedia Cruise Ship Centers/OVC, as he builds and manages his (relatively) new Host Agency. You can contact Dave via his website at www.holmantravel.com, or better yet, through his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DaveHolmanTravel.