There are a myriad of factors that could influence your business this year; political, economic, local. Keeping a sound personal infrastructure internally, however, will help you fend off whatever blights the world might send travel’s way.
Keep True to Your Policies: Potential clients will ask you, on the off chance that you’re feeling generous, to plan a complex trip for them without them giving you a financial commitment of any sort. The information might be at your fingertips and you might just send it over, believing they’ll book with you because their e-mail sounds so chatty and friendly. Do not click send. Instead, repeat over and over, “I do not work for free.” Imagine if they owned a store and you selected an item you liked and asked if you could have it for nothing.
Update Your Fee Policies: Consider that many of us are more than willing to pay $40 for the right brand of mascara because we believe it really will give us beautiful, long, full lashes. Then consider that you’re willing to take time out of your busy schedule to research and book an airline ticket for a client (and that includes using their points and finding them an aisle seat with extra legroom) for that very same $40. People are willing to pay for your services, so go ahead and raise your prices.
Commit to Traveling: Have you recently been to a networking event where other travel advisors were discussing their most recent trips? Did you stand there and wonder how they made the time to see the world when there was so much work to be done at home, 24/7? Unfortunately, they’ve got the edge on you because they forced themselves to take research trips to become experts on new hotels and destinations. When their clients ask them where to go next, they’re going to have several options to rave about and they’ll likely make a sale without much trouble at all. Did somebody say “ka-ching”? You, on the other hand, will be Googling where the next great place is or going into Facebook Groups for advice. Traveling can be fun — but for you it’s also work. Drop the guilt about getting away and get out there. It will add to your bottom line.
Get Rid of Emotional Barriers: Do you delay getting in touch with clients when you have bad news? Maybe it’s because the small group tour they requested you book has sold out or the price has gone up on the cruise ship suite they had their eye on.
Do you feel guilty (again, the guilt!) because you didn’t secure the spot for them quickly enough? Get past it. Find a reasonable option for them and then explain in detail why their initial request didn’t work out. You’d be surprised at how understanding people are when provided with a logical explanation and with a reasonable alternative. Deal with it and move on. Take the time instead to pursue your passions.