Capturing Lightning in a Bottle | Travel Research Online


Capturing Lightning in a Bottle

Like many agents out there, after the pandemic I’m busier than ever with new and repeat business. It has doubled year after year and, 2023 is shaping up to double again. As a solo owner/operator, it took some trial and error to find my groove. I can’t point to one thing that moved the needle—it has been a combined approach from multiple angles. Here are some things that have helped me accelerate my multi-million-dollar business growth.


Lightning in a jar. Generative AI


Stack the Deck

I’m a hosted agent with Outside Agents. After extensive research to select a host, I’m thrilled with my choice. Their reputation in the industry, engaged leadership, training, and community of agents is second to none. Their automated marketing, technology, training, and relationship with suppliers are just some of the things that give me an advantage. I have a powerhouse in my corner to help me serve my clients with better promotions and amenities from the leading suppliers, while having access to endless resources to develop my skills.

Never Stop Learning

On any given week, I attend at least 2-3 webinars. Never stop educating yourself in this industry or you will fall behind. Whether it’s travel trends, marketing trends, supplier trainings, social media best practices or general business knowledge—you will learn something new. I also prioritize attending in-person training and site visits that will lead to booking more business (cost benefit analysis of being away from my family and office). There is nothing like experiencing something yourself. Also, take the time to connect with other agents, BDMs, and supplier leadership in the industry. It is invaluable!

Try, Fail, Try Again

At least twice a year, take a minute to track your progress toward goals and assess the performance of your marketing plan. What’s working well, what’s not working, where can you improve, what is costing too much for the return on investment? If you’re not doing this, that’s ok. Start doing it now. It doesn’t have to be formal or suck up a ton of time. Write down a few goals. Then, jot down a few ideas and ways you want to try to meet those goals. Not everything will work and that’s ok. Take the learning and move forward with something else. That’s how you find what works for your business in your market.

Be Authentic

Don’t be afraid to be yourself when meeting with clients, suppliers and other agents. Your unique experiences, perspectives and knowledge are your advantage. No one else has what you have—own it and let it shine. Whether it is an email, copy for a social post, a web page or even your voicemail message, be you. People gravitate to those who are authentic and passionate about their profession. Your marketing should match you. Don’t force what doesn’t feel right for you. For example—if you’re not comfortable going live on social media, don’t. Find another way to meet the same goal.

Ride the Wave

It’s a bit cliché, but ride the wave as best you can as things progress. Keep tweaking and refining your approach as needed. If you fall, get back up. If you need a break, allow yourself to unplug and recharge. Burn out is real, so don’t let it get to that point. Care for yourself, your clients, your fellow agents and the industry. Like any career there are ups and downs but, at the end of the day, there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing.


Tahryn Nicastro is an independent agent with Outside Agents/Cruises and Tours Unlimited. She owns and operates Shore to Sea Vacations, an award-winning travel agency founded in 2016. Based in NJ, she focuses on Romance and Family travel with a national client base. She’s been featured in various industry and consumer articles. You can find her on social media at Facebook and Instagram.



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