Running a successful travel agency is hard. Success never comes easy. And it is always uncertain. It involves risk, money, long hours, learning new things, and operating way out of your comfort zone. Success is not comfortable. You want comfort…get a new mattress.
Running an unsuccessful travel agency is much easier. And trust me, we will have a lot more unsuccessful agencies in our future. Look at what the Bureau of Labor Statistics has to say.
Employment of travel agents is projected to decline 12 percent from 2016 to 2026. The ability of travelers to use the Internet to research vacations and book their own trips is expected to continue to suppress demand for travel agents. Job prospects should be best for travel agents who specialize in specific destinations or particular types of travelers.
The BLS said that in 2006 there were 105,300 of us. The BLS says we’re now (2016) about 81,700. That is a 22% drop in ten years; with another 12% by 2026 (which is really just around the corner). So, how do you make sure you are in the successful column? Sometimes, I find it is easier to look at how you avoid landing in the unsuccessful one. So, here’s some food for thought!
Don’t chase someone else’s dreams
Your agency is yours. Develop it as you see fit, not as someone else may see fit. You will have missteps along the way to be sure, but the passion and desire you have for chasing your dream will help you succeed.
Don’t start projects, and then forget about them
To-do lists are only good when there are check marks on them. Unfinished business is actually no business. Some projects will be short term (calling in that payment) and some will be long term (buying that agency across town), but finish what you start, or figure out when and how to scrap it!
Don’t give up.
It may be cliché but success does not come without sacrifice. Don’t give up! There will setbacks throughout your career and some will be major. Press on and never give up.
Ask for help
Life has no manual. I checked out my local Barnes & Noble for “Life for Dummies” and it does not exist. People before you have made the same mistakes. They know what has worked. Seek them out and seek their advice. You need not take it all, but ask. I think you will be surprised to find that most people are more than happy to help!
Don’t put down others
We are all at different points in our lives. Others are learning; while others are the sage gurus. Remember, we all started small at one point and at various times we all needed a leg up. And as I my father famously told people that asked for his advice, “be careful whose toes you step on today because they may be connected to the a$$ you may need to kiss tomorrow.” Maybe not politically correct, but solid advice for a Dadism.
Learn to say no
We all have limits. Learn what yours are and stick to them. They may be based on your knowledge or physical (or mental) capabilities or they may be time based. Know what you are capable of and never be afraid to simply say “no”.
I am not the most organized person on the planet. I try to be. But I can tell when I am organized, I am firing on all cylinders. Things are moving off my to-do list, and stuff is getting done. When I am not, I can tell I am scattered. My solution is to take time off from the work at hand and organize my desk…clean up some electronic files…focus on the remnants of mostly-done to-do list items. It is a reset for me and starts me off again fresh.
Step out of your comfort zone
You never know until you try. Your mom used to say that as she tried to feed you brussel sprouts. And the same holds true for business. I am not suggesting that you throw caution to the wind and embrace the crazy with wild abandon. But be open to new experiences and ideas and step out on occasion. Responsibly of course!
Don’t do what I just did
My final tip, avoid doing what I just did. I started this column 4 hours ago and just returned from about 45 minutes of being in a Reddit black hole. Yes, don’t procrastinate. While it may be difficult at times, just do it. There is a sense of satisfaction in that a task is done. You can check off your to-do list box. Your thought train should be a bit more coherent. As best as you can, just get it done sooner rather than later.
I know we have a lot of old timers here. What are some of your tips?