We had 50-mile-an-hour winds this morning in New York, which made walking to the train more interesting than usual. No matter how quickly I walked I felt I was standing still, because the wind was unfortunately hitting me head on.
|Ruthanne Terrero, CTC Vice president–Content/editorial director|
As I struggled to get to the station I turned and saw a teenage girl on her way to school fly by me on a skateboard. As she navigated the street, the wind caught her back and she was nearly flying. She spread her arms out for balance and her hair, which was braided in to two pigtails, were airborne, sticking out horizontally in the breeze.
Then she turned the corner and was gone.
It was a glorious sight.
How often do you see kids finding new ways to plow through the drudgery of getting themselves to school early in the morning? And how often do you find teenagers wearing braids anymore? This young woman was clearly in tune with her inner vibe and not conforming with her peers.
Her free, creative spirit sets a good example for all of us, if only when it comes to adding a dose of pizzazz to those tasks we constantly do by habit.
Here are five tips to help you reinvent yourself to recapture the joy of life, as it relates to being a travel agent.
- Start your day differently. How many of us reach for the laptop or our phones while we’re still in bed to check our emails, even before we’ve had our coffee? How frequently are we still there, half an hour later, answering an email that could have been answered after 9 a.m.? This is me by all counts and I’m considering staying off email for at least a short stint in the morning and reading The New York Times instead. If I’m tight on time I’ll read just the business section as there’s always something at a high level that will affect the travel industry. I’m also going to make good on my intent to start the day with yoga because as we all know that is the answer to everything.
- Re-strategize your troubleshooting: As a travel agent, you’re probably always walking in to issues that need resolving first thing in the morning. Passport questions, flights that need rescheduling, questions from clients...no day is ever the same. Each situation needs to be dealt with, but not immediately. Prioritize each issue, fix the emergencies and set a time to deal with those remaining. Then move on to your to-do list so that you’re not staring at it at 5:30 p.m. wondering why you ever thought you would get anything important done at all today.
- Discover a new supplier: Do you have a vendor who keeps asking to meet with you? What they’re offering might not be anything you need right now but why not let them come around to share their product with you? Keep the meeting brief and tell them ahead of time what your qualms are so they’ll be ready to meet you on your own terms. You could end up with a new connection that could help you down the line and at the very least you’ll have a new friend in the industry.
- Reposition your image: What does the welcome language on your website say about your agency? Is it something you wrote five years ago when your web developer told you you needed some lingo to put in the “about you” section, so you came up a quick blurb while you were driving to the airport? Decide what you are about in just two or three sentences that say it all. If you’re having difficulty, consider what you would say if you were going up in an elevator someone who was getting off in five floors asked you what you do.
- Realign your client list: You’ve probably got quite a mix of customers, some who waste your time, every time, and those who take several vacations a year. There are probably a few types in between. Why not prioritize them into a list so you’re investing efforts in those who will actually spend money with you? Section off your top players and vow every day to research vacation options that are on their bucket list. Don’t discard those who rank toward the bottom, but do come up with a strategy for dealing with their inquiries so you’re not dropping everything whenever you hear from them. You might even consider bringing up the fact that they haven’t yet traveled with you and is there anything that’s keeping them from taking a vacation. They might have a simple barrier you can help them overcome and they might make it to the top of your list of A-players.