As we set sail into 2021 still reeling from the challenges of the past year, we could throw up our hands in despair, but being the resilient travel advisors we are — already used to dealing with challenges — we know that a bright future beckons. We just have to be a bit more patient to get there.
In the meantime, January gives us the wonderful opportunity to reflect on the year just past and set some goals for the many things we want to accomplish in the year ahead — with an overall goal of delivering outstanding travel experiences for our clients.
One of the best pieces of advice we were ever given is to set small goals to accomplish throughout the year rather than making broad New Year’s resolutions. Breaking down your goals into manageable parts makes it easier to stay on track. Try setting goals for each quarter or each month, and then break your overall goals into smaller increments that can be tackled daily or weekly. Don’t forget to reward yourself, even if it’s only with a pat on the back or a tall mocha latte, when you’ve successfully accomplished a goal.
As you craft your set of goals consider these points:
• Find something to be grateful for each day. That could be a brilliant sunset, a new marketing opportunity, or taking your dog for a walk in the park and feeling the sun on your face. You get the idea. Practicing gratitude on a daily basis opens us up to finding the opportunities present in any situation and can help defuse some of the feelings of anxiety we’ve all experienced during the past year.
• Marie Kondo your office. Wouldn’t you rather work in a clean and tidy space, rather than a cluttered, disorganized one? Toss out paraphernalia you’ve collected that you no longer need, like outdated travel brochures and souvenirs that you picked up on a vacation, but then tossed in a drawer when you returned home. Baskets will keep supplies neat and tidy and whiteboards or corkboards can hold important notes. Treat yourself to a couple of new pens or a bright poster for the wall while you’re at it.
• Keep your name in front of your clients. Even though you might not be booking trips right now, you still have plenty of opportunities to connect with your clients and attract new ones. Send periodic emails letting clients know about upcoming tours, trips and travel trends. Video clips of places your clients have visited, reminding them of the great time they had on their vacation, are appreciated, as well as videos of places you know they want to travel to next. Post vacation photos you or your clients have taken in the past on Facebook or Instagram to keep the vibe going. Start a blog! Don’t forget to schedule your marketing outreach on a regular basis, once or twice a month or on a schedule that works for you.
• Explore new markets. Just because your forte is riverboat cruises, there is no reason why you can’t explore new markets. If you’re a foodie, for example, check what’s out there and see if there are ways you can break into a new market, like Southeast Asian food tours, and broaden and strengthen your business. Remember to set incremental goals as you investigate these possibilities.
As you set your goals, remember that challenges present opportunities for growth. This can be your year to create new opportunities and grow both yourself and your business.
By Eileen Alexander who is a writer who lives in western North Carolina and has been working with Ilja Chapman since 2007 back in New Hampshire