Yes, 2010 is finally finding down. But, I’m already looking forward to business happenings for 2011. It’s been a rewarding year, business wise and I really want to keep the ball rolling in the right direction. As I previously mentioned in my last column, I’ve been doing a lot of travel throughout the tropics over the past few months. From Mexico to Turks and Caicos, Punta Cana and back to Mexico again. I’m discovering quite a few new products that I’ve been very excited to share with my clients. Read the rest of this entry »
This year has been interesting to put it mildly. Our first large incentive group, new independent agents, revitalized website and first public speaking engagement are all 2010 happenings at my agency. I’ve made quite a few changes in my marketing plan. I have started utilizing social networking more and have been attending trade shows and industry events weekly. All are part of my new agency plan. The agency vibe has been a bit stagnate over the past few years and I felt it was time to put some new game plans into action. I’ve also ramped up my traveling this year in favor of touring as many locations and resorts as possible. My clients want the inside scoop and it’s my job to bring it to them. Read the rest of this entry »
Since my last entry, I took the plunge and hired an SEO/Website design team to work their magic on my website. I’m very excited about this project and am looking forward to great things from this company. We are going to work together on the pieces of the puzzle to make The Tropical Travelers a more viable name in the leisure travel searches happening every day. Between Google Analytics, statistics and keyword optimization, my head is spinning a bit. However, I believe that when all is said and done, I’m going to come out with a fantastic website full of wonderful travel features that will certainly gain more business for my company. Read the rest of this entry »
Some people re-arrange their bedroom every month or so. Military families move after every tour of duty (or so it seems). These people know how to get out of a rut. And as difficult as it is to admit, I am in a rut and I need some change.
I feel my business has been stagnating for a while and I’ve decided to take a new direction. How many years can you keep doing the same thing with approximately the same bottom line? Being a one woman show and wearing many hats, it leaves little time to think about the next step. I recently spoke John Peters of Tripology about how to grow my business and which direction to take. He had some very good ideas for me. Because there are only so many hours in the day, I feel as though I can’t possibly take on any more business, therefore I’m not able to make more sales or commission. Read the rest of this entry »
Advertising. What works? What doesn’t? As a business owner, I could spend all day on this conundrum. I feel as if I’ve tried it all–newspaper, wedding magazines, bridal shows, local magazines, pay-per-click, radio, even television. I haven’t seen any kind of response except from pay-per-click. And we all know, that can get quite costly very quickly.
It seems that in talking with people, they still don’t know where to turn when booking vacations. They have no idea how to find a trusted agent who specializes in their ideal locations. How do we reach these people? Is the local chamber of commerce the trick? Or a networking group perhaps? I’m not sure how I feel about these types of meet-ups considering many of them want you to bring leads to share. I’m not a huge advocate of the “salesman” mentality, so giving out a client’s names to a group of people isn’t really my thing. Read the rest of this entry »
Loyalty. It’s a strong word. Being loyal to one tour operator can make for a strong business relationship; but is it always the right way to do business? I’ve worked with the same tour operator for 95% of my reservations for nearly ten years. I do it because I believe in their product, their service and just generally like working with them. So when a client asks about a hotel that is not represented by that company, which direction do I go? Read the rest of this entry »
Growing up, I had a friend whose mother was a Realtor. I remember numerous last minute trips to her mother’s office, her mother dropping her at my house (last minute), cancelled outings (last minute), and so forth. The almighty dollar was of utmost importance to her mother and it seemed to me, that everything else was secondary. And if that worked for their family, that’s great. I know the job of a Realtor can be 24/7 and a tough one at that–especially in this economy. And, often I find myself comparing my own career to that of a Realtor’s. Read the rest of this entry »
Discounts versus customer service. It is a recurring theme in my office most days. So much, that competing with online pricing has become more time consuming than actually planning great trips for my clients. Spending vast amounts of time with many of my clients to find the perfect vacation for them, only to have them bring me a price that is sometimes $800 less than my quote, is a little disconcerting to say the least.
I have always prided myself on providing excellent customer service and going the extra mile for my clients. I do my best to offer first hand information that is useful to them–information they won’t find online. And I feel that many clients really appreciate this, which is why they keep coming back to me year after year. But, Read the rest of this entry »
Groups are on my mind today. I’ve put together my fair share of wedding groups, from small (10 people) to large (100 people). Last year, I decided to try my hand in incentive group travel and I’m still not exactly sure what I think of the process. I started working with one prospective group in May 2009 and after five months of negotiations, I finally had a signed contract in my hands. The group is headed to the Mayan Riviera in May 2010. To say it hasn’t been a frustrating process would be a lie. Read the rest of this entry »
The past 15 plus years of my life have been spent thinking about the tropics way more than most people should. Some might call it all consuming or an obsession. I call it passion. I’ll admit, I was bitten by the tropical bug early on and have weathered the storm of commission caps, cuts, wars, disease and recession ever since. Read the rest of this entry »