|Vice President—Content/Editorial Director, Ruthanne Terrero|
Now in its sixth year, Travel Agent magazine’s annual 30Under30 issue has celebrated a collective 190 young professionals who have joined the travel advisor community since 2008. This group has become quite a presence in the industry, bringing a fresh perspective to travel consulting as well as a boatload of enthusiasm and energy. In this issue, we welcome our newest “class” of 30Under30 members. While many of them have been in their new careers for a few years already, I thought I’d offer some advice.
Stay enthused: You’ve actually nabbed your dream job at a very early age—congratulations. You’ve let yourself in for a very satisfying career of creating remarkable experiences and memories for other people. Always remember that this is your end goal, even on those days when you may have to reschedule travel itineraries that have been interrupted by weather or world events.
Stay creative: If you’ve looked around and realized that you have ideas for selling travel that you’re not seeing implemented anywhere else, push forward. This industry welcomes entrepreneurialism. If you have a better way of marketing to get new clients or a fresh approach to crafting itineraries that you haven’t seen before, go for it.
Get a mentor: We talk about celebrating the newcomers to the travel industry but there are some pretty brilliant folks around you who have been in the business for decades. They’ve seen it all and know the pitfalls that can occur when communication with a client isn’t clear and they know how easily a trip can be ruined by simple errors on your end. Learn from them.
Enjoy the travel but...: You may find yourselves having a number of opportunities to travel on familiarization trips, especially if you have impressed the hosts of prior trips. It might be tempting to take everything that’s offered, but remember, you’re running a business and you need to be able to give your full attention to your clients’ trips. Also remember that when you’re on a fam, you’re still on business and you’re representing your personal brand as well as your agency’s, so make a good impression.
Do travel to learn: You need to see the world for your job, so make every effort to see the latest hotels and to learn all about as many destinations as possible. Your clients want to know that you are familiar with what you’re pitching to them. Select those opportunities that will make the most of your time and give you plenty of knowledge and passion that you can take home and translate into sales.
Be kind and respectful to suppliers: These are the folks who will help you at your most desperate moment, like when your top client decides on December 15 that they do want to get away for Christmas week. Do you have a relationship with suppliers that will enable you to pick up the phone and ask for assistance? Or will you realize you’ve burned so many bridges by being overly demanding that it’s unlikely anyone will go out of their way for you?
Learn from each other: You may feel at times you’re the youngest person in the room when you attend industry functions, but there are many of you out there. Find each other and share best practices and tips on things to watch for. Travel Agent hosts a Young Leaders Conference just prior to Luxury Travel Exchange International and the group has an active Facebook page. Contact the other members of this year’s 30Under30 class and introduce yourself to get a conversation going.