Hello! I am Marti Litwin, an independent home based travel advisor with En Route Travel in Westlake Village, CA. I have been in the travel business for 5 years now and have really enjoyed my clients, colleagues, and of course, the opportunity to travel a bit more! My background and previous work experience were totally unrelated to travel. I have a Master’s from the University of Southern California in Gerontology and worked at USC doing marketing before I became a teacher for a few years prior to having kids. I was a stay-at-home mom for 10 years and loved every minute of it! It has definitely been a journey entering this profession and arriving to where I am today. But, I’m excited and honored to be writing for TRO Travel Agent Diaries.
To be honest, I initially just wanted a part time job where I could work from home and still manage my priority of being a present mom to my kids. I truly had no idea of the challenges or rewards that lay ahead! As a child, my family did not travel very much, but when I met my husband we traveled more. I felt my travel experience and destination knowledge was too limited for a career in travel – although I’ve turned that obstacle around as I now passionately believe in families traveling as often as possible and that travel is a critical part of educating children. I’ve come to realize so many of our best experiences as a family have happened while traveling; we have so many stories and jokes and special moments we’ve shared that have bonded us together. Those memories and priceless times together have driven my passion in building my travel business!
In five years, I’m thrilled with the business I’ve created! The initial challenges of cultivating clients, learning the booking process, building internal organization, and creating a consultative model were truly an education and unparalleled experience that you could never train anyone for! A lot of my marketing, planning, organization, and people skills were thankfully transferable, and I was able to apply those strengths to my new endeavor. It’s exciting to move on to a different phase of my career and offer my clients service and knowledge with great confidence. A few critical values that I am mindful of is to ALWAYS give the best service to EVERY client 100% of the time, ALWAYS learn and improve, and ALWAYS be grateful to clients, suppliers, and colleagues.
So since it is January and a brand new year, I thought about my business and this new column and how I wanted to tackle it. It may veer off course, but that is fine. Here’s where I plan to take you over the next year as I try to improve and grow my own business:
- January – Create a Marketing Plan (incorporate a monthly newsletter, a new client welcome packet via mail and email, and a tracking list of past, current, and potential new clients)
- February – Get Organized (Simplify daily task management, create client profiles and data, and have checklists)
- March – Clarify my Objective/Message/Service Goals (Improve selling myself and my services, show my qualifications)
- April – Referrals (Campaign to get more of them, and also keep recurring bookings from current clients)
- May – Sales (Techniques, closing a sale, and upselling)
- June – Professional Development (Read relevant books, online courses, and reach out to mentors)
- July – Manage Stress (Crisis management protocol, handling difficult clients, and avoiding problems)
- August – Client Relations (Communications with clients, gifts to clients, and overall how to keep clients)
- September – Supplier Relations
- October – Incentive Programs (Track incentive accounts and explore FAM trips)
- November – Product Knowledge (Take trainings, look into specialist certificates, and add credentials)
- December – Year In Review (Evaluate progress and goals in 2016, look at business growth, and plan for 2017)
Marti Litwin is an independent Virtuoso travel advisor with En Route Travel in Southern California. She has a Master’s degree from the University of Southern California. Marti shares her value of sharing unforgettable family experiences with her clients. In addition to travel, she enjoys yoga, health and wellness, her 2 children, and an adorable rescued Golden Retriever, Cookie.