Setting Your 2010 Strategy

I’m starting to see people shrug when they speak of next year. Seems they’ve heard from quite a few pundits that there won’t be much to be excited about for travel. It’s in 2011 that we’ll really see a recovery, they’re hearing. At least we’re not in free-fall anymore, they’re saying. How depressing is that? It’s early December and we’re already ho-hum about the next 12 months. I say, a flat year is only for those who believe the rhetoric. Those who start out 2010 as they should—revived, refreshed and ready for a dynamically wonderful year—will prosper.

So, How Do You Do That?

Look around your neighborhood. Even though the recession has taken its toll on many, life goes on. Do you have new, young people who have moved in, having scored a terrific price (courtesy of the housing market) on a new house? They may be newlyweds who have decided to put off having a family for a year or so until the economy improves. If that’s the case, they’ve got plenty of time to travel. Suggest a cruise to the Mediterranean or send them to Napa for a long weekend.

As I said, life goes on and people will always get married and go on a honeymoon. Partner up with a bridal shop in your area and host a good old-fashioned travel fair. Don’t invite just the brides, invite the grooms-to-be, too. Put up a giant TV and create a nook where the guys (and girls) can watch the game as they’re milling about with travel suppliers.

As you already know, it’s always a good idea to have the couple together so some real decision-making about travel can happen. Be sure to have your younger staff members—who have traveled to some of the newest, hottest resorts—on hand so they can share their enthusiasm with prospective clients.

Reach out to baby boomers. I know, for years you were told that you’d be reaping the profits from all of those millions of baby boomers who would be retiring now and traveling nonstop. Many, however, have found they’re presently unable to retire because they’ve lost a large percentage of money from their retirement funds. When I mentioned this to a travel supplier the other day, he replied that this wasn’t a bad thing, since they certainly have a lot more money to spend on travel while they’re still working. Bottom line? This group is still in the spending game.

Bonuses on Wall Street are expected to be quite decent for some. While that on many levels just doesn’t make sense, it does mean that there will be more discretionary income for travel. Call your clients and ask them if they might want to reward themselves for working so hard all these past months and enduring one of the most challenging years ever. If they’re still worried about the economy, tell them they can worry about it on a beach somewhere.

Reward yourselves. You’ve had an incredible time of it this year and if you’re still moving ahead in your business, you have much to be thankful for. Look at the calendar now and decide when you’ll be able to travel next year. Select some places that are new and exciting to you and your clients. We all know that once you’ve been somewhere, your ability to sell it increases tenfold. It’s my guess you got into this business because of your love for travel. Don’t forget to channel the passion into your strategy for 2010.