The TravelAge West staff just returned from Los Cabos, Mexico, where we hosted our second-annual ExecConnect Elite Agent Symposium. More than 140 top travel agents and approximately 40 suppliers joined us at the Melia Cabo Real for three intense days of education, one-on-one networking and plenty of fun.
The theme for this year’s ExecConnect was “Driving Sales Through Technology.” Online Editor Monica Poling, along with special guest and social media guru, Matthew Bailey of SiteLogic, shared some of the secrets of database management, e-marketing and social media with attendees during three general sessions. I think that everyone came away with information that can be put to use immediately.
One of the comments that I heard repeatedly from agents was that they were learning too much. As often happens with technology, the effort to stay up-to-date can be overwhelming. I completely understand this sentiment but, as you read this issue’s cover story (see “Tricks of the Trade,” page 10), see if anything resonates for you.
Both Poling and Bailey stressed that the best place to start is with tools that will help you maintain your current clients. Busy agents can feel guilty because they are behind on some of the latest trends. Free yourself from that guilt. If you are currently running a successful agency, you clearly know what you’re doing. However, don’t let that serve as an excuse to stop learning all together. The statement “I’m too busy selling to learn something new,” will eventually catch up to you.
Keep in mind that we all learn at our own pace. One of the suppliers at ExecConnect told me that he used to be a wedding photographer. After he heard a speech about Google search rankings, he spent six hours making his website more search-engine friendly. Before he knew it, he had the top link for his subject and his photography business took off. For him, the best approach was to jump in all at once, and those six hours paid dividends for months and even years. Perhaps the best approach for you is to take it one step at a time. Whatever the method, in business, you must continue to evolve to stay ahead of the competition.