The NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference was held here in New York this month, and among all the coverage on TravelAgentCentral.com, I felt a comment made by Wyndham Hotel Group President and CEO Eric Danziger was the most relevant for the travel agency community.
Referring to Wyndham’s strategies for coming out of the recession, Danziger said: “In our business, the fundamental strategy ought to be to do what you do well. We have two focuses. One is to execute our business plan; the other is growth. The best way to grow is globally.”
In Wyndham’s case, global growth came in the form of its recent purchase of Tryp hotel brand from Sol Meliá Hotels & Resorts. Likewise, there’s no doubt travel agents can make 2010 the year they truly expand globally. That can mean in terms of their customer base; after all, so much client communication is done electronically these days that it doesn’t really matter if your client is down the street, across the country or in Europe or Asia.
Global expansion can also mean broadening the base of destinations you sell. Are you sending clients to the same places year after year? Vary their experience by researching alternative hot spots for them, something that will shake up their usual experience…in a good way.
There’s much more that travel agents can cull from Danziger’s comments: “In our business, the fundamental strategy ought to be to do what you do well.”
What do you do well? It may just be time to hearken back and reconsider those personal strengths you used to launch your travel business. Was it your love of connecting with people at social events that helped you grow your customer base early on? Are you still using those skills to expand your client list, or have you been tied down in the office, simply trying to keep things going for the past few years? Mary McGrath of The Travel Bug Vacation Planners says the “love of researching and digging into details got me started!” Cruise and vacation consultant Jason Coleman says “knowing what my strengths are, and delegating or outsourcing everything else” got him going in the right direction.
How about you? As you plow your way out of the recession, what inner qualities can you tap into to take your travel business forward? Have you gotten so bogged down you don’t even recall why you got into travel? I suggest you and your colleagues take the time to grab a sandwich or a cup of coffee and ask each other, “Why did I get into the business and what qualities have helped me succeed?” I guarantee you, it will be well worth your time.
As for that Tryp brand that Wyndham acquired…here’s the scoop. Tryp is a select-service, mid-market brand that caters to business and leisure travelers in cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Lisbon, Frankfurt, Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo. There are 91 of them right now; they’ll continue to be owned, operated, managed or licensed by Sol Meliá. Wyndham and Sol Meliá will now form a strategic alliance to develop the Tryp brand globally and to market the hotels through their central reservations systems and loyalty programs. That’s some addition to Wyndham’s portfolio offerings, which already include Howard Johnson, Baymont, Ramada, Wingate, Days Inn, Hawthorn Suites, Super 8 and Knights Inn. We’ll keep you up to date on what this acquisition will mean to your business.
By the way, I am sure you got into this particular business because of your love for travel. Be sure to take time off this summer to see some new destinations. That’s also time well spent; it can only add to your bottom line.