By Joanie Ogg CTC, MCC
When asked this question, I would venture to say all of you would say vehemently, YES! It is no secret that more great clients, increased commissions and managing productivity all will help to make the growth of your business a reality. However, there is much more we can all do to grow our respective businesses and that is simply by growing personally.
I challenge you and myself as I write this article to ask us these 5 questions and to see what we can all do to make some or all of this part of our committed plan to grow our businesses.
1. What was the last book you read from cover to cover about sales and marketing?
Certainly books on this subject focused on the travel business are a great choice, yet often times reading a book about an entirely different business model can breathe some new life into our business plans. I found the following site that seems to have a great list to start with. http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/8826. Best_Sales_Marketing_Books
2. When was the last time you participated in an industry-focused webinar?
We are offering some great new webinars through the Travel Professional Community. If your in-box looks anything like mine, there are a multitude of webinars from a variety of sources you can choose from. If you are a member of a host agency and or consortia, they are probably offering a menu of terrific webinars to help you grow your businesses. Take advantage of as many as you can either live or recorded. Most of these are recorded so that agents can listen at their leisure. All of our webinars are recorded and can be found at http://www.homebasedtravelagent.com/webinars-for-home-based-travel-agents/ or by clicking on the Webinars-On-Demand graphic at the top right corner of www.homebasedtravelagent.com.
3. Do you attend the local meetings put on by associations or groups you belong to?
Industry associations and networks want you to be a part of local meeting they put on. When I was the President of NACTA, one of our biggest challenges was getting agents to come out to the local meetings and ASTA was having the same challenge. If you are able to attend at least a few of these a year in your area, do try. It helps you to connect and learn with your peers and make some great friends as well.
If getting out to attend these meetings is a challenge, be sure that you participate in our weekly chats on the Travel Professional Community. All of these are live key-boarding chats with other members of the community and they are not only educational but often entertaining. Make some new friends online in our Tuesday Chats at 12PM EST.
4. Do you search out general business related educational offering’s online?
One place I have found to be a great source of technology training is http://www.lynda.com/Member.aspx. Follow the link below to view the video about the multitude of training options available. From learning excel to learning about posting videos on your web site. If you can think of something you want to learn about, it is probably there! I believe they have something like 74,000 tutorials. With purchase options of $25 a month with no long-term plan to a full plan of $375 per year, the pricing is certainly affordable.
5. Do you budget for and attend travel conferences and trade shows?
You simply have to make this part of your yearly business plan and cost it into your operating budget. I cannot tell you how many agents I have met over the years at travel industry trade events who share with me how doing so has given them the ideas and plans that has made their businesses soar. I suggest that you consider this as an annual cost of doing business and choose those event(s) that bring you the ultimate ROI.
There is no question that some events are better then others and if you ask your peers who have attended, they will certainly give you their honest opinion. I would venture to say that personally I have probably attended and participated in hundreds such events. If you ask me which are the best bang for your buck in our industry today, I will have to say those put on by Travel Weekly Trade Shows and CLIA. Following those would be your consortias annual event and perhaps that of your host agency. One of the benefits of the large events such as Travel Weekly’s Cruise World or CLIA’s Cruise3Sixty is that you will see hundreds of industry suppliers all under one roof. Combine that with keynotes featuring some of the travel industry’s most enlightened leaders, break out sessions on a wide variety of topics, workshops presented by successful travel agents just like you, ship inspections, and fams. Take it from a gal who has been around the trade show proverbial block and put a good many miles on my high heels attending conferences. I know a quality show when I experience it and you will find this at the Travel Weekly events and CLIA’s Cruise3Sixty.
How about we meet up in Ft. Lauderdale November 6-10, at the upcoming CruiseWorld conference to compare notes on what we have all done to commit to our growth! We can even offer you a discount to attend the show when you use the code HBTA when registering. Here is a link with the show schedule and more information. Hope to see you in November!