A solid data base will become increasingly important to Results! Travel and its member agencies according to John Risner, Results! Travel’s General Manager. Risner told the 200 plus members attending Results! Travel’s 8th National Meeting in Nashville, TN, September 24-26 that Results! was “more and more, moving in a direction of being data driven.”
“Currently, Results! agencies are working together on a data project that will soon allow us to negotiate even better earnings opportunities for our participating members. Knowing exactly what we sell, to whom, and how we sell it is the secret to future success for our network,” Risner said.
“ When we work together, we achieve far more than we do alone. By coming together and sharing data, consolidating the information and filtering it, we are better able to focus our efforts and maximize earnings potential.”
“The travel marketplace continues to change rapidly – due in large part to the economic challenges of the past year – and it was extremely gratifying that we had roughly 200 agents, managers, owners and travel industry experts join us this year,” Risner said.
“We took a hard look at the trends and ‘new reality’ of our industry and focused on what our members can and should be doing right now to be viable, successful, and unique in the minds of their clients. We need to transition from the past year’s ‘survival mode’ into ‘growth mode’ and that was the focus of this year’s meeting.”
One of the keys to the meeting was a panel discussion with key agency owners who provided attendees with the business techniques and strategies they have implemented that have allowed them to succeed despite the economic challenges. Topics discussed included controlling and managing expenses, successful creative promotions and fostering positive employee morale.
Among the suggestions offered:
Cost-savings measures suggested by Bill Beck – Alaska Travel Source; Anchorage, AK
“We fired everyone. We went to an employment agency and we did that for health insurance reasons. They offer an insurance group policy that we couldn’t get on our own. It is cheaper for us to hire them (the employment agency) to hire our staff for us.”
Employee motivation suggestions from Bill Beck – Alaska Travel Source; Anchorage, AK. “We changed our requests for time off; we got rid of sick and vacation days and lumped them into personal days. It doesn’t matter to us what you take it for. We also have Crock Fridays (as in Crockpot). The employees bring in the menu and the company buys the ingredients. The meal is cooked in the Crockpot and then everyone has lunch together on Fridays.”
Successful promotion suggestions from Candy Geiler – World Travel Mates; Matthews, NC. “There are a lot of ways to promote yourself online which are free. Smilebox.com allows you put your pictures from your trips into it, use their music and create hundreds of different slide shows. I spend $40 per year for access. When clients call, instead of telling them how beautiful Alaska is, I send them a link to my slideshow or my blog. Second, don’t promote to just your clients. There are a lot of agencies that are closing. They have clients who need some place to go. Promote to the small towns around you. Find out if there is a small company that needs your help – make them a part of your business. You could gain ICs with a base of business.”