September and October are a busy couple of months for me. As it always is in this industry, it’s trying to find the balance between everything we have to do and still get it done.
Autumn is the time of year that tour operators do their product launches for the upcoming winter season. There are days that I could be at one for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! I’d never get any work done if I went to all of them, so I decided that I would attend the ones that I hadn’t been to last year, and ones that were of immediate interest to my clients’ current inquiries. I’m always happy when I come away with new-found knowledge and just one of these times I’d like to be the winner of a fantastic trip!
The Calgary airport just opened their new international terminal. One of the best opportunities I had was a trial run through our new airport. My time to do this would be an entire morning during the business week. I was worried that it wasn’t good use of my time. I’m so glad I did this as now I’m able to tell my clients exactly how to navigate the new terminals and the technology. Every process is now automated. You check in at a kiosk where you get tags for your checked luggage, which you attach yourself before you send it on it’s way. The new system at security will definitely speed things up, and customs uses kiosks as well to expedite the process. Technology is great for some of my clients but for others it can be intimidating; I’d like to think that I can help alleviate their fears a little.
I’m also discovering a change in booking patterns. Clients are now looking a bit further into the future than before. Those that booked 6 months in advance are now 9 months to a year ahead. It certainly makes it easier for me when booking river cruises and the smaller hotels in Italy – the early bird does get the worm! The pre-planning conversations I’ve had with clients are definitely paying off. It would be nice to be able to spread things out a bit so business is more evenly paced throughout the year, that’s what I’m going to work on next.
Melanie Hersom is an independent consultant with Tier One Travel in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She believes in providing Personalized Vacations and Exotic Adventures. Melanie loves spending time with her granddaughters. “I don’t want to go anywhere twice until I’ve been everywhere once.”