By Scott Koepf
Vice President of Sales
…Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose, yuletide carols being sung by a choir, and folks dressed up like Eskimos. Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe help to make the season bright…
It’s that joyful time of year when we look forward to cozying up by a fire and ringing in the holiday season. And, as you sip eggnog, ideas for your New Year’s resolutions may be simmering. Exercise more, eat healthier, spend time with family – these are all great resolutions, but have you made any for your travel business?
Remember, January is weeks away and that means the start of Wave Season – our busiest booking period of the year! So why not make a New Year’s resolution now? In fact, why not resolve to have your most successful and profitable sales year ever in 2014, and start working toward that now!
Now you may ask, “What should I do to help my business have its most successful year yet?” My answer to that is to start by ensuring you’re prepared for 2014. Have you done your homework? Have you studied? Are you practicing your sales skills?
Resolve to Focus on Best Business Practices and Professional Development
Every travel professional, no matter how many years of experience, is wise to dedicate time and resources to furthering their education in the business. In sports, an athlete doesn’t make it to the professional level and stay there without continuous practice, training, and conditioning. The same goes for top selling travel agents – they are always looking to learn and improve their sales strategies and ultimately close more sales.
As a home-based agent, it can be more challenging to find educational resources to work on professional development and best business practices, so it is important to know what you have available.
While there are associations like ASTA, CLIA, and NACTA; peer communities such as the Travel Professional Community; and the suppliers themselves that offer product training – one of your most valuable resources for professional development can often be your Host Agency.
Whether you’re already affiliated with a Host Agency or considering joining one, it is important to know what kind of professional development opportunities each Host Agency offers your business, and evaluate if that is the best support for your business needs and if it will help you grow your income.
At Avoya Travel, we are focused on professional development and offer education that is centered on enabling the travel agents in our network to become the best travel agents possible and reach their maximum sales potential. Our collection of professional development resources is comprehensive and award-winning, and here is just a sampling of what we offer:
The Avoya Academy™ (New!)
Regional, Hands-on Workshop Series
We recently created the Avoya Academy for our Independent Agencies to come together in small groups and receive personalized education on the many advantages Avoya Travel provides that can significantly increase their income potential and growth. These workshops are offered over a two-day period around the country, and the registration is capped at a small number so each attendee receives personalized instruction.
Our Independent Agencies that participate experience hands-on learning from members of Avoya Travel’s executive leadership and support staff, including workshops on Agent Power™ – Avoya Travel’s award-winning Travel Agency Operating System™, how to get the most out of our groups and exclusive promotional offerings, best practices of product specialization, as well as roundtables with some of Avoya Travel’s Platinum Preferred Suppliers.
Here is what one of our Independent Agency owners said about her experience at the Avoya Academy:
“I have been selling travel for 35 years and attending the Avoya Academy provided me with incredibly valuable learning opportunities and it was a great investment for my Independent Agency. The program was motivational and engaging – I walked away with some new sales tips and the networking with other Independent Agencies and time with Avoya Travel’s support staff was invaluable.” – Connie Lemmon, owner of an Independent Agency of Avoya Travel.
The Mastermind Program™ (Award-Winning!)
Small, Peer Group Mentorship, and Community
The Avoya Mastermind Program™ is one of our most popular and successful professional development resources. The program is a powerful, interactive platform which combines the talents and experience of our thriving Independent Agencies. In 2013, it received a Travel Weekly Magellan Award for its innovative approach to education and support.
Organized in small peer groups, the hands-on program enables the sharing of sales and business best practices, encouragement, and ideas that assist Independent Agency owners in achieving sales goals. Members begin with one-on-one sales development sessions with an Avoya Travel Agency Development Specialist and then are carefully matched and placed into an Avoya Mastermind Group.
The groups meet virtually via web cams on a regular basis to facilitate interaction and establish accountability for each member. The participants are able to motivate each other and offer a sense of friendship and connectedness that is often absent from a home-based environment.
Since establishing the Avoya Mastermind Program, the number of travel agents participating in groups has grown wildly and so have the sales and incomes of those members!
Here is what one of our Independent Agency owners said about her experience with The Avoya Mastermind Program:
“I am so thankful and happy that I finally joined the Avoya Mastermind Program. It is finally clicking and I am definitely working smarter. Just yesterday I had over two bookings totaling over $42,000, and I have several more Live Leads that I am working on closing before the end of the month. I am looking forward to what’s in store for me next with the Mastermind Program.” – Susan Donnelly, owner of Black Mountain Travel, an Independent Agency of Avoya Travel
Avoya Travel Annual Conference
National Convention Bringing Together Industry Leaders
Each year, hundreds of our Independent Agencies and Preferred Suppliers come together at Avoya Travel’s Annual Conference, our event that provides a high-energy and motivational forum for attendees over the course of a week. This is our “must attend” event of the year!
The conference programing offers networking with Preferred Supplier top executives, Avoya Travel’s support staff, and other travel professionals. Attendees can participate in a trade show, small-group learning sessions, seminars, hear groundbreaking announcements first, plus during the conference we recognize our top performing Independent Agencies and have given away more than $150,000 in reward prizes from Preferred Suppliers.
Here is what one of our Independent Agency owners said about Avoya Travel’s Annual Conference:
“Avoya Travel’s Annual Conference provides unique opportunities for Independent Agencies to network and share ideas with some of the industry’s top leaders, our key executives and Support Staff from Avoya Travel, and other Independent Agencies in our network. The educational content from Preferred Suppliers and Avoya Travel that is shared during the event undoubtedly benefits my Independent Agency.” – Randall Schenkel, owner of an Independent Agency of Avoya Travel
Avoya Travel University™ (Award-Winning!)
Live and On-Demand Professional Development
Our Independent Agencies have access to Professional Development programs at Avoya Travel University™ which offers top educational resources, including daily live and on-demand vendor, destination, and sales webinars. Avoya Travel University is available through our web-based Travel Agency Operating System™ – Agent Power™, so no matter where you are, you can access tutorials and educational sessions at any time as long you have an Internet connection.
As you look toward 2014 and think of resolutions to make that will help grow your business sales, remember the importance of professional development to your success. Evaluate your educational resources and consider making a change that will give you access to award-winning professional development and business support.
“The way Avoya Travel approaches and provides business development is phenomenal. As a Host Agency, they are business development centered and focused on helping us become the best travel agents. The people within Avoya Travel have helped me grow my business beyond anything I could have done on my own. With the resources and education they offer, there are so many ways to be successful with Avoya Travel.” – Lesley Egbert, owner of Live Longitude LLC, an Independent Agency of Avoya Travel
To learn more about how Avoya Travel can be the right change for the New Year and your business success, call us today at 888-446-3209 or visit www.JoinAvoya.com.