Travel Agencies Get a Fresh Start in 2018

The new year is the perfect time for self-reflection and setting goals for your business By: Kenneth Shapiro
Shapiro // © 2018 TravelAge West
Shapiro // © 2018 TravelAge West

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With the new year upon us, many people are making their resolutions. Whether or not you believe in that concept, the turning of the calendar offers a good opportunity to evaluate how your business is doing and where you hope to take it in 2018. Though every agency is different, there are some common areas to examine.

Start by taking a close look at your sales mix: Are you satisfied with the combination of trip types you sell? In 2017, did you see a decrease in, say, luxury cruises sold? Or was there a dip in high-end escorted tours? Would you like to grow your group or destination wedding business? A deep dive into your sales mix will help you decide where to best dedicate your time and resources.

Next, “more product education” should be near the top of your resolution list. No matter how much expertise you have, there is always something new to learn. There are unique travel opportunities introduced every day and, most likely, your clients expect you to be an expert in all of them. Travelers are increasingly searching for off-the-beaten-path experiences — such as the remote Alaska cabins in this issue’s cover story (“Cabin Fever,” page 14) — which means you need to be continually updating your knowledge.

Finally, take a look at your internal procedures: Are you doing everything you can to maximize efficiency? Time is often the most important resource a business has, so you need to be constantly evaluating your time management. And be sure you’re up to date on the latest technology — there are a slew of new itinerary-building apps, for instance — because a relatively small investment of time spent training on new platforms can potentially save you hours in the long run.

One of the arguments against New Year’s resolutions is that people have unrealistic expectations, get frustrated and give up entirely, feeling defeated. So keep your business goals manageable and attainable, and keep raising the bar as you reach the next level. Remember: A great journey often begins with small steps.

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