Many of us came into this business with high hopes and big dreams. You poured your heart and soul into your business, but you keep hitting walls all around you. 24/7 is not enough and you can barely pay the bills, much less have anything left over to pay yourself. Your spouse is pressuring you to quit.
It is easy to quit and maybe you should. However, in my opinion, if you are doing all the right sales activities, there is no reason why your travel agency should not be successful.
As a teenager, I spent several summers working in a variety of construction jobs. One of my favorites was with a masonry contractor building foundations. I was so impressed by how meticulously the masons laid the blocks. Just a fraction of an inch off level could have a disastrous effect on the rest of the structure. The taller the building the more exaggerated the effect (picture the leaning tower of Pisa).
Like a building, it’s the foundation that supports your business. Getting it right is the single most important step in the transformation process of your business. Take as much time as necessary - even if it takes days or weeks to get it right. Here are six building blocks to help construct a rock-solid foundation to help transform your agency into a money-making machine.
Get clear on the “why”.
Peter Drucker said, “The purpose of a business is to create and keep customers.”
Why does your company exist? Creating customers means you have something to offer. In the travel business, the customer can buy the same product direct or from virtually any travel agency anywhere in the world. If price were not a factor, why would a customer choose you over the next guy? It’s a fair question. Have a clear focus and understanding of why you exist. (note: because you think you provide the best service is not a reason, nor is it quantifiable.)
Get clear on “who”.
Who you serve is equally important as why. Transforming your to one with clarity of purpose requires clarity of who you serve. It is important to drill down to specifics. For example: My customers are cruisers. Really? What kind of cruiser: Ocean, river, large ship, small ship, contemporary, premium or luxury? You get the idea. It’s better to go narrow and deep, than wide and shallow.
Choose a sales model and stick to it.
Unless you have a huge marketing budget, a large staff to handle the volume, and the financial resources to sustain a business on the thinnest of margins – forget about competing with the discounters. Being busy is not the same as making money. The key to a successful transformation is to adopt a specialty model focused on serving fewer quality customers and offering a select product line.
Choose your partners wisely.
This is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. Choose preferred suppliers and consortia / host agency who can scale with you as your business grows. Changing host or consortia is an expensive and time-consuming process – not to mention a major distraction. Choose based on the best fit for your business long term and avoid chasing shiny objects.
Often overlooked are sources of ancillary revenue such as travel insurance and day trips. You can earn a considerable amount of income from both. In fact I know of some large agencies whose entire profit is from its ancillary revenue. Each host/consortia will have their own insurance providers and Shoretrips, the leader in daytrips and shore excursions is preferred by most major consortia.
Get Your S.H.I.P. Together.
Henry Ford said it best, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you are right!”
Put yourself in the position to succeed. Having the Skills, Habits, Inspiration, and Plan in place is crucial to ensuring that your tactical skills align with your strategic vision.
Transforming a business is not for the faint of heart. One of the best investments you will make is to hire an experienced advisor to shepherd you through the process. Choose someone who is experienced and fluent in the “business” of the travel business. They will help develop your transformation plan, keep you focused, and hold you accountable. Do your due diligence and choose wisely.
The decisions you make now will form the foundation of your business for the foreseeable future. Try to get it right the first time.
Next step two: Attraction Marketing
Dan Chappelle is "The Wealthy Travel Agent"! He is proof you can create the life you want selling travel. After witnessing so many people struggle in an industry with unlimited potential, using his proven six step system, he helps struggling entrepreneurs transform their travel businesses into money making machines.
His best-selling book, Get Your S.H.I.P. Together: The Wealthy Travel Agent Guide to Sales, is available on Amazon.com.
To learn more about Dan’s Travel Agency Transformation programs, visit: www.DanChappelle.com
©2018 Dan Chappelle, CCI Inc.
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