In this issue’s cover story, “Making It Count” (page 12), we asked industry experts for advice on how agents can maximize revenue on every booking. The idea came from interviews we’ve done with suppliers and other industry insiders to identify ways agents might be leaving money on the table when booking trips for clients — obviously, not a good practice these days.
The story is part of a series designed to help guide agents through this rough economic period. Earlier stories in this series have looked at free tools that can help market your cruise business (“Tools of the Trade,” Jan. 19); how to utilize social networking (“The Conversation Era,” March 2); the best business practices to focus on during a recession (“Winning Strategies,” March 30); and ways to maximize your repeat business (“Coming Back for More,” April 27). Through all these stories, our goal has been to provide readers with the kind of practical information they can put to use in their businesses immediately.
I’m proud of these stories not only because I feel we’ve been able to do our small part to stand by our readers, but also because I have not seen a lot of other industry organizations or publications step up with similar assistance. I’m disappointed to see some industry leaders whistle their way through the graveyard — ignoring the problems travel agents face as if positive PR will make the crisis magically disappear. Still, others use questionable statistics to suggest that the problem is either not as bad as we think, or that this is a blip in history and any day now things will go back to the way they were. None of these approaches provides agents with the tools they need for today’s business environment or in the future.
By no means do I think that we have the corner on good ideas. Our industry is full of great salespeople and innovative entrepreneurs who can be tapped for their sage advice. In fact, we welcome all attempts to help travel agents, whether they come from our competitors or anyone else. The bottom line, however, is that now, more than ever, agents need more than wishful thinking to help them survive. We hope these articles will help. — K.S.