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We’re in an unprecedented time, filled with concerns and fear over the unknowns in our industry. Without downplaying the impact this will have on anyone, I am here to talk about silver linings.
Two months ago, I used to dream of having days full of uninterrupted time, giving me space to think and the ability to implement. I even actively planed out this kind of time, via frequent workcations with my Travel Pro Theory co-founder, Heather Christopher, where we fly to a location and spend a few days thinking about our businesses.
Now we’ve been given time and space. I’m treating it as a blank slate and as an opportunity to ask myself: “What do I want my company, North & Leisure, to look like on the other side?”
Now we’ve been given time and space. I’m treating it as a blank slate and as an opportunity to ask myself: 'What do I want my company, North & Leisure, to look like on the other side?'
To be clear, I’m not a productivity pusher. You can — and should — rest during this time. For the days you are up for diving in, here are my suggestions for what you can tweak in your business to be ready when the world travels again.
Reevaluate Your Ideal ClientIt’s impossible to be all things to all people, so who is the type of traveler you want to work with the most? Even if you had this mapped out already, circumstances have changed. I’m willing to bet that there are a few clients who have not been great through this crisis while you’ve been working tirelessly on their behalf. Graciously help them through this situation, while understanding that their emotions may be misplaced.
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But if you know they aren’t right for you long-term, let them work with someone else for the next trip. The clearer you get on who you work with best, the easier your business and life will become.
Reevaluate Your Ideal Trip/DestinationYou don’t want to be OK at a lot of travel styles — you want to be the best at a few. That’s not to say if you are all about FITs, you’ll never book a cruise again. However, you need focus.
Unsure of what your niches are? Ask yourself what you enjoy planning the most. What do you want to be known for? Figure it out and run in that direction.
Reevaluate Your MessagingNow that you’ve done the above, review your web copy and social media presence. Does it accurately reflect who you are right for and what you do best? If not, get in there and clean it up.
Reevaluate VisualsFor the same reason as above, you want to make sure your visuals match up to what you’re all about. If you want to be known for customized FITs, then don’t use photos of mass market travel. Also, now is a good time to make sure you’ve got the basics set up right. Pick a color palette and typography, and stick with it.
Avoid posting graphics with too many fonts that are difficult to read, and avoid being all over the place in terms of color usage. Overdoing it comes off as scattered, and you want to appear focused and controlled.
Finally, make sure you are including your photo on your website and social media. People want to see who they are working with.
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Reevaluate Your WorkflowDocument your workflow from A-Z. Afterward, fill in any missing pieces, or make needed updates. Your process sets up your client experience, so it’s good to revisit it frequently. If you need help with this, check out virtual brand manager Jenna Daykin of In The Details, Darling. She is currently offering a thorough free resource that guides you through this process.
Reevaluate Your TechIt’s time to analyze the software you’re using for itineraries, email marketing and CRM. Go through and make sure you’ve got it optimized to suit your needs. If there’s something you aren’t using or just doesn’t fit, explore other options and test alternatives.
As you work through these steps, give yourself permission to be far-fetched in your dreaming and ruthless in what you cut.
If you discover you want to focus on a different type of trip than you have in the past, it’s your lucky day — because now you have time to learn. On that note, set up meetings with suppliers to expand and update your expertise.
Practice roleplay: Give yourself a traveler scenario, and plan for it. Applied practice is the fastest way to learn.
If you realize that you don’t want a certain type of trip or client, let it go. There’s no need to feel guilty; that trip or that client will be better served by a travel pro who really wants it.
Life can change instantly, as we know all too well now. The goal of enacting these steps isn’t simply to optimize your business; it’s also to make sure your business aligns with who you are and what you want in life.
Read more from TravelAge West about the COVID-19 outbreak.