Agent Insider

We asked our readers: What are your travel business goals for 2008?

"We hope the growth we had last year continues into 2008," says Mike Weingart of Carlson Wagonlit Travel in Houston. "We also hope to emphasize our international deluxe tours and cruise business. Our goals also include playing a greater consultancy role. Lastly, we would like to be able to hire a couple 'perfect' agents!"

Bob Cook of GO Travel in Orlando says that among his business goals in 2008 are to "increase profit per transaction by selling shore tours and insurance; narrow down preferred supplier list to increase commission levels and reach override goals; increase personal contact with past and current clientele." For current clients, he plans on "offering them both options to add on to their current trip, such as private tours, limousine services and shore excursions in addition to 'freebie knowledge,' such as updated weather reports, nearby passport office locations and 'don't miss' points of interest." For past clientele, Cook aims to "make certain that all past passenger offers are sent to them, with a follow-up call within 48 hours."

Terry Denton of Carlson Wagonlit Travel in Fort Worth, TX, says his office's four goals are "to add $3 million in new corporate business, to achieve stand-alone profitability in every leisure branch office, to increase group department revenue by 50 percent—and to reach these goals without having a stroke or a nervous breakdown."

Amanda Klimak says that at Largay Travel in Waterbury, CT, 2008 will be a year of excellence. "We are extremely focused on our key economic driver, revenue per full-time employee, and have established goals for each department and the company as a whole. We have scheduled monthly reviews and quarterly checkpoints to verify that we are on track and making progress on our journey to success. We are confident that 2008 will be our best year yet!"

"Thankfully, our agency experienced significant growth last year," says Robbert J. van Bloemendaal of Carlson Wagonlit Travel in Garland, TX. "We believe it is because the traveling public is beginning to understand the added value provided by a travel consultant when scheduling a trip. Our goal for the next year is to continue to improve the service we provide to our clients and to communicate the advantages to them in using us. Then even more people will realize that, at minimal cost, booking travel with an agent gives customers the benefit of professional expertise, but also the assurance that they have an advocate when there are unforeseen problems."

"Our focus for 2008 will be on our preferred vendors," says Linda Strait of Great Southern Travel in Springfield, MO. "We have a 'short-list' of vendors that we have developed a relationship with for a high-quality, consistent product, good customer service and income opportunities. Our goals have been established for our entire company, and translated into branch goals and also individual agent goals. Each agent can plan their year, based on client booking history through Client Base. Each branch manager can plan their marketing based on historical booking patterns in their office through Trams. Training and incentives are in place. If these goals are met, all 'bigger picture' goals will fall into place."

Alex Kutin of Carlson Wagonlit Travel in Indianapolis says: "One of our goals for 2008 is to increase our sales in the honeymoon market. To achieve this goal, we have committed to aggressively being where the brides will look for their honeymoons. In 2008, we plan to (1) work more bridal shows, (2) utilize direct mail targeting brides, (3) send e-mails to brides, (4) advertise in a local bride's magazine."