How to Own Your Business, Even as a Frontline Travel Agent

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Ruthanne Terrero, CTC Vice President–Content/Editorial Director
Ruthanne Terrero, CTC Vice President–Content/Editorial Director

With the new year upon us, we’re bringing back some popular how-to tips to help you sell better and enhance your clients’ experience. 

There’s a small supermarket near me where I go to purchase fresh fish and vegetables; what I’ve always loved about it is how the owner takes such pride in it. Nine out of 10 times when I'm there I'll see him racing around the parking lot collecting shopping carts. If he sees you getting out of your car he’ll wheel one over to you and when you're leaving he’ll take your cart back up to the curb and send you on your way with a wave and a grin.

I’ve been going there for about three years now and only recently realized that he’s not the owner of the store. This man’s job is to collect the shopping carts. He just does it with such gusto and pride that he commands immense respect — so much so that you'd think he owns the place.

I have a friend who used to do the accounting for a gourmet supermarket. He was a great dresser and always had a smile on his face. When he walked around the store, the customers used to think he was the manager of the place, even when he was with the owner, who was not so dapper or friendly.

The image you present to the world all comes down to your attitude and what you want to project when you get out of bed in the morning. Are you facing the day with the thought that it brings great potential? If you walk in to your workplace with that frame of mind (even if it’s a virtual office that’s five feet away from your bedroom), the odds are you’re going to attract some positive energy with all that you do. If you’re going in to an actual office and dress to impress and take ownership of all that you do, vendors and customers alike are going to be drawn to you.

The fact is, if you’re a travel advisor, you own your business, whether you’re an independent contractor or an employee of your agency. By that I don’t mean to get into who owns your clients or your book of business. What I’m saying is that you are in possession of the environment you craft for your customers. Working with you can be an okay experience in which you do what your clients want you to do and you send them off with a list of their reservations for a hotel, a car and an airline seat. Or, doing business with you can be a dynamic happening, where every encounter excites your clients about the possibilities that await them in this world. They just can’t wait to speak with you at every opportunity and each trip you send them on somehow changes their head around in the most positive way because of the special touches you’ve put on their itineraries.

Do you own your business? Do you own how your day starts? If not, figure out how to control the basics of your business so that you have an infrastructure that lets you pile on the wows for your clientele. Who knows, you might give off such an authoritative vibe that you'll be mistaken for the owner of the travel agency you work for.