The World is Opening Up. Get ready...
You can listen directly here.
Recently, there have been lots of positive information and news about the world starting to open up. A lot of discussion around what we can and can’t do, how we will navigate the travel experience and seeing things from both sides of the industry - suppliers/operators/wholesalers and travel agents/advisors and professionals.
Things are happening. The question is at the moment, ARE YOU READY?
How are you feeling about this?
Discussions are still about and the roller coaster of emotions. Should we book, do we risk cancellations.. There are still so many questions and uncertainties, things we can’t control but we need to be aware of and assess as we move into this new era.
However, even with all these uncertainties, we have control and authority over one thing - our behaviour, our actions and preparing the future for our travel businesses. So, what could you be doing right now to secure your clients as we move into a new era?
In today's episode, we will be walking you through some ideas that we use in our business to stay on task and are using to get ready for the new future of travel.
If you think things are starting to feel heavy and too much once again, I want you to take a deep breath. Look at the facts, look at what you can do and communicate as much as you possibly can. I am here to encourage you and support you and I know you will come through this time.
We’d also love to have you in the Achievers in Travel - Facebook group, make sure you join the FREE community. Achievers in Travel - Accountability group.
Links Mentioned in the Episode
Links Mentioned in the Episode
“I'm all about positivity, I don't like talking about the negative because if we start talking negative, it can turn into this big spiral” - Roslyn Ranse
“You can build your travel business just the way that you want to” - Roslyn Ranse
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Ros: Hey there Travel Agent Achievers. It's Ros here, your host of today's podcast, what a couple of weeks it has been. Oh my goodness, I am so glad you are here. Because today's dose of inspiration and encouragement and support is, you know, I'm on fire. It's not necessarily the coffee that I had this morning.
But there are a lot of exciting things that are happening in the industry at the moment. So let's just dive straight into today. And, you know, Happy Friday to you. It's almost the weekend. We have been doing a lot of planning here at Travel Agent Achievers, getting a lot of our clients reconnected, with their travel bookings, there is so much happening. So I'm so glad that you are here. I hope that you're having an incredible day so far. And I look forward just to continuing to hear from you and hear your stories and where you're at.
So that I can, you know, be your biggest cheerleader in what's going on in your travel business right now. So there are lots of reports in the media at the moment and positive news about the world opening up. So I wanted to discuss what we could be doing right now, to secure our clients. As we move into this new phase.
Everything is feeling different. Some people have been telling me that it feels a little bit heavy. There's still uncertainty out into that market with war, do I book travel for 2020 to 23? Where should I go? What should I do? And for me, I'm just really, I'm remaining. What was it? What's the word positively? optimistic.
I think I said to somebody this morning, one of my clients, I said, Do you think we're going to be able to go and I said, I'm remaining positively optimistic. Because I am that kind of person. I always hope for the best and prepare for the worst. I am really good at risk management and seeing what could potentially happen. But also know the different steps to take. If there is going to be a problem or what guidance or advice I need to give our travel clients moving forward.
So there's some uncertainty, and I have been having conversations with agents who aren't willing to book travel at the moment for their clients. And you know what, wherever you're at whatever camp you're sitting in if you want to be booking travel, or you are where you're not, it's totally okay. And the reason I say that it's okay is that it's your business, you get to decide what to do. And I know how hard it is been over the last 18 months to try and be positive. And sometimes I've seen professionals that have put so much effort into rebooking and re quoting clients on their travel experiences only to have them cancel again.
And I have celebrated with the agents that have been able to get clients away, have experiences and the feedback has been tremendous. But I have also commiserate with professionals when things haven't been so easy. And I know that it's tough to drag yourself out of a place s
ometimes when you feel like there's just so many knocks and it's continuously happening. So what can we be doing now because I'm a solutions oriented person. Obviously I don't like when my husband tries to fix my problems.
But I know that I can always find a solution. If I put my mind to it. I know that I can find a solution. Sometimes it's hard, but it's something that we can all do. And being in the industry that we're in.
My goodness, we are experts at this finding solutions to problems but finding solutions to different experiences and navigating so many different waters. You know, there's so many different things, but there's been a lot of discussion, as well.
So the reports in the media positive news about the world opening up safe channels of passage, you know, the testing and vaccinations. There's more and more information that's coming to us daily. I feel almost at the moment. If you are stuck in lockdown.
My heart is with you. And I know what it's like. Maybe not for as long as you have been experiencing it, but I know that it isn't easy. So there's the side there but there's also a lot of discussion within the travel industry around fees and it even had a conversation yesterday with one of my mentors and also another travel professional that was, we were talking about professional fees and moving forward what we could be doing and you know, what is going to help our business? And when should we be implementing fees? There's so much discussion around this.
And I think it's a really powerful subject that we need to keep talking about, because we are the experts. There's also a lot of discussion around social media presence, you know, what should we be doing? There are so many supplier training sessions that are coming out, it's almost like, you know, the stage show is just going on, it's like, tada, we're back, you need to come in and watch our training and get up skilled.
And you know what, some of it is really annoying me. And I, I love, you know, I work with suppliers just like you do, but some of it is really annoying me, because I'm thinking where you were over the last 18 months, I know that you've lost bdms, I know that you've had to scale back as well. But I'm not somebody who is going to be here to perform for you. And do as I'm told, I'm designing my business now. And I want to work with the people that have shown up for me.
So there's some things there that, you know, I don't know how I feel about it yet with the performance that's almost coming back on, because I want to see supplies also back it up in other ways as well. Now, there are some supplies that have shown up consistently through the good and the bad, the business development managers that have caught cold over the last 18 months.
And those that have even just asked, you know how I am, there hasn't been hundreds of them, I'll have to admit that to you. Because I don't work with hundreds of suppliers, my business is quite unique, I work with the people that I want to work with. And that, you know, I have integrity and I trust and can build a relationship with. And it kind of irked me in some ways.
But in other ways, I'm also really glad and happy to say that there's a real sense of confidence in the returning of not only our clients, because I've seen a big shift in the last couple of weeks, but also the suppliers. And those suppliers that have relied on travel professionals in the past, some also not.
But those professionals that supply and sorry, that are getting out there now and saying, here's what we've done, these are the different things that we're doing moving forward, come and do the training upskill yourself. And you know what, this is actually a good thing that they're sending all of these out.
So even though you may not have heard from them previously, or over the last 18 months, it's kind of ticked you off a little bit too. But what's really good about this is they want to educate us. The suppliers want us to inform our clients correctly as to what's happening now and in the future. And all of the exciting changes that suppliers have also put into place. So in some ways, it's you know, annoyed me, but in some ways, I'm really happy to see this sense of competence returning.
So the rollercoaster of emotions. You know what, it's still there. We still have good days, we still have tough days. As I said right at the beginning, I am remaining positively optimistic. Sometimes with a dash of doubts or you know, sense of oh my goodness, what's happening?
Why don't I know why there isn't a clear plan? I do like to be organised and I do like to know what's going on. But I'm deciphering the information, the factual information from the people that I know that I can trust. I'm not watching certain TV shows that give me doom and gloom. I am here just writing out the good and the tough days.
Can we open up what we can and Can't we do? Will vaccinations be the way out? Who's going to take what Where can I travel to? Well, I have to quarantine? Yes, there are so many questions. And there is still so much that is out of our control.
So I wanted to share with you today a few ideas that we're using in our business that I share with those in our incredible achievers mastermind group and also those that are in our foundation programme. So our six module foundation programme to really get you started. Now I work with not just the travel industry, I work with many other industries and business owners around Australia and New Zealand.
The US Singapore, I love it. You know, I love working with these things. So with these people and these businesses because I get to see different sides of, you know, the the coin, and I get to see what's working for some and not for others, and I can really bring to the travel community here and to the travel agent achievers, you know, listeners to you, and to those that are a part of our programmes, I can bring this experience and knowledge, but I can also share what works for me. And we test, we measure, we track all of the different things that we do.
So here's just a couple of things that if you wanted to, it's time to, you know, kick those high heels back on, they may hurt if you start walking around the house a little bit. But it's time to really just adjust the way that we're thinking in my opinion, and get ready, get ready. That is my whole purpose today is to say, let's get ready.
As we move into this new era, don't be left behind, don't get caught up with going pre pandemic, and the overwhelming amount of work that you have, get ready now, get ready so that you are prepared, you are organised. And you know what you want to do moving forward. So one of the big things is organisation for me, as I've said, you know, planning and preparing, put together the calendar of events, a calendar of your ideas, goal settings, I really like to put my goals around me and say, Well, what is it that I want to achieve in our business? What is that that we could stretch ourselves with?
What are some of the things that are going to be really exciting if we hit these milestones, so we've been doing consistent planning throughout the pandemic, we have been looking at our cash flow forecasting, we have been looking at our content and making sure that we connect with our clients in an organised manner.
But also keeping them up to date. We give them the facts, we don't talk about hearsay, and we give them the information that is timely to them or timely for the time. So organisation planning and preparing is a really big thing. Now, if you are interested in getting yourself organised in December and January of 2021 2022, I am coming back live with two in person events. So you can go to travel agent achievers.com.
On the front page there, we've got our planning day strategy sessions, or just go to travel agent achievers.com forward slash planning day, and you'll get all of the information right there. I want to help you come through this time in a way that you know what to focus on moving forward. The next thing that we do is we've been looking at our systems and getting organised or you know, planning and preparing. Sometimes it sounds really easy, but it takes commitment. And our systems have really helped us scale over the last.
For me, it's really been in the last seven or eight years, having a look at our systems and what we can do to streamline things, make things more efficient and automate processes where possible. So looking at your systems, from writing your emails in advance, you know, we all write the exact same thing when we are preparing an insurance quote. So you know, put it together and make it a template, for instance.
Or you might have a step by step process on how to do something or how to book with a supplier. Now this goes both ways, whether you are a supplier or whether you are a travel professional, you can have these systems in place that can be, you know, mapping out your client journey, we have our 67 step process to process a travel booking. And this is the exact 67 steps that we use in our travel business to ensure that every single client has the same experience. But in addition to that, it also helps us not drop the ball, not to miss anything, and ensure that we can scale from that because every single step gives us an opportunity to surprise and delight clients to be organised and efficient and ensure that we've got money in when we need to that we're not running over time.
How is it the worst thing and I remember starting out and even in my first few years and potentially even before I had my assistant working with me, I would wake up at night. And you know you have to take a big deep breath. Did I miss a ticketing deadline when you do Dealing with clients and everybody's doing something different. These are crucial details that if you miss can have a very big financial impact.
Even understanding systems, I would, you know, wake up or I'd have a client that had to call me and say, I'm, you know, I'm, what's my travel flight tomorrow, I won't check your email. But the problem was, and I enabled this if I understood and I knew exactly when I was travelling, so I would just rattle off the details, and it would be a lot faster for me. And I didn't want to pick a battle, I didn't want to pick a fight, I didn't want to, you know, go, I told you where it was already.
For me, it's about the service that we can deliver. And I've had to learn specific boundaries. And I've had to learn how to put things in place to ensure that I take care of myself and my own emotional and physical and mental health, but also still deliver an incredible experience for our clients. This results for me in the majority of our business now coming through word of mouth, repeat and referral, I don't necessarily need to go out and do massive marketing campaigns, I don't need to go to big travel expos anymore, like I can. And I do because I love them. And I love connecting with new clients and finding out what they want to do.
But I don't necessarily need to, I can manage the work that we have now. And I can also scale that very quickly if I needed to, because of the systems that we've got in place. So getting yourself organised right now is crucial, so that you don't have the overwhelm.
Putting your systems in place, understanding what you could be, you know, organising and systemising, we've now just pulled out the systems section. One of the modules from our travel business foundation programme, it's just called systems to scale. It's a very easily digestible module that you can now grab from us at travel agent achievers.com. to just take action on this one thing.
If you then want to go on and learn about the marketing, and the content, and your ideal clients, and your vision, and goals, and those sorts of things, I would love that I think that everybody needs to do that. But if you just feel as though right, I need to get my systems done right now, go onto the website and just grab the systems at scale, it'll be the fastest thing to get you to that next step.
The third thing that we're also doing is connecting with our clients. So I mentioned earlier about sending timely emails, and we've been connecting with them through the pandemic, just to touch base, building the relationship, strengthening the relationship, whether that has been with clients directly or through suppliers. And what we can be doing now. And what we're doing is preparing our clients for the future, we share good news stories.
So I'm all about the positivity, I don't like talking about the negative because if we start talking negative, it can turn into this big spiral. And it's more damaging to us and our physical and mental health, then it's going to serve us. So good news stories. I also like suggesting what clients can be doing right now to prepare for the future as well.
You know, have they got their passport renewed? Are they going to be even able to travel as they are getting things in place? We also share that you know what, we're still here. Even though things have been tough, we are still here, we're going to come through this time, I really highlight that to clients for reassurance.
And I work hard on that. Because the last thing that I want is for a client to think that I'm going to disappear, that I'm not going to be able to take care of them anymore. And what affects me even more than this is the thought that a client may have that will if rather than her team close, who's going where all my credits, who's going to look after my travel, what am I going to do.
Now a big tip here is if you are connecting with your clients right now and sharing these stories, saying that we are here, we are here to assist you so much has changed. If you're looking for different things, let us know. New information is coming out daily and all the time. If they've got future cruise credits, or they've got flight credits, or they've got something that you can help them with, then let them know just tell them what you can be doing right now.
Now, we also like to provide the facts, as I've said, you know, showcase that we are the experts. And I want you to do this too. I want you to share with your clients that you are the expert, that you know what you're doing, how you've helped people through During the pandemic, how you've helped your clients, what you've done to come through this time, but share your expertise as well with different destinations, if that's what you specialise in, or different groups, you know, whatever your expertise is in travel, then share that. It's about building your presence right now and being visible, because these things are crucial.
A lot of clients will, you know, try and go back to an old agent that they worked with before, if they had a good experience. And if that professional isn't there, they don't know where to go. So if you're connecting with your clients, the referral and the word of mouth from this is going to give you new opportunities moving forward.
And I love that this is just some of the small things that we can be doing to get new business in the future, but also solidify business that we've had previously and get those clients travelling again, if they're ready. But also, if you're ready. Now, we were looking at who we want to work with, oh, my goodness, this is a good one, right? So whether I've shared this with her on the podcast or not, but during, you know, the pandemic, I've fired clients, and I've fired them sometimes in my mind.
And sometimes, you know, out loud as well, just expressing that, I don't think I can meet somebody else's expectations moving forward. And if a client says to me, you know, and this was a true story, somebody actually said to me, your business is going under, get me a refund, I want all of my money, or I'm taking you to court. Like so. With this, and this is where my, my backs against the wall, you know, my integrity is questioned, the trust that I thought, you know, these clients have in me, it was almost like, completely different people came out of the woodwork.
And I don't forget, don't forget lightly, and I know moving forward, who I want to work with, I will not be disrespected in my own business, I will not be treated, you know, like that anymore. I don't deserve that. Nobody deserves that nobody deserves to be yelled at. Nobody deserves to be threatened.
Nobody deserves to have, you know, the negativity forced upon you, we already feel it enough. And I've spoken to so many travel professionals who feel like they're carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders, myself included, over the last 18 months. I look at the amount of credits, and it genuinely brings tears to my eyes, because I feel responsible. And I feel like I need to advocate for my clients to ensure coming through this time that they can get those experiences again. I have put my reputation on the line and asked for my clients to trust me, and allow me to do what I'm really good at.
But I'll tell you what, sometimes it's tough. And this is where I love our community. The Achievers mastermind members, I love you all. And anybody that is part of our Facebook groups, anyone that sends us DMS or likes our stuff on Facebook and Instagram, I know that you understand. And I understand you. And I'm here to encourage you and support you to get through this time. But I also am with you when it is tough.
So if you haven't looked at your client database, or if you haven't assessed who you want to work with in the future, I really encourage you to do that now and define what it is that you want. Because you don't have to be everything to everyone. You can build your travel business just the way that you want to.
So let's come back to that. You know, let's go back to our gut why we're here, why we do what we do and look at who we want to work with. We've got another podcast episode on defining your ideal client. We've got free resources on the website for you to assess your value. If you question your value, or are you questioning, you know what you could charge or what you do for others or what your role is in the travel business, then I highly encourage you to get those free resources off the website because they will help you step by step to get to a point Where you know where you stand, whether that is to give you back your confidence or increase your knowledge, or take that next step to really look at your own business, go for it, I really want to be there to support you.
And then one of the last things that I want to touch on here is, you know, are you even willing to be booking travel right now. I, it makes me feel a little bit uncomfortable, because I don't like arguments, and I don't like hard conversations, I will put them off, because I just, I just don't like I don't like the negativity and I don't like, you know, hard things sometimes to have those hard conversations, but I know they need to be done.
One of the strategies that I use, I think it was Mel Robbins that actually talks about this is you count down from five and then you just do it. So you know 54321 get out of bed 54321 Jim clothes on, right down to you know, counting down picking up the phone or hitting send on an email that's taken you 35 minutes to write, or an hour or you've been procrastinating on something for a day. If you need it, countdown from five, and then just do it. But right now it's like, well, how are you even willing to be booking travel?
Are you willing to have those conversations, and we each have our own feelings about this, we each have our own thoughts and background knowledge. And I really believe that there's no right or wrong answer. You do get to define what you want to do moving forward. And you do get to choose who you work with, it's your business, you know, you don't have to have everybody come to you.
And if you try and talk to everyone, then you'll end up speaking to no one because nobody will know what you actually specialise in, or nobody will understand what you actually do. So, you know, for me, I think you just need to do it right now. If you are ready, and you are prepared, then just share the rules with the clients.
Give them your factual information, show them why you're the expert, and why you did deserve to be paid for your expertise. Like why you are doing all of this. If you're ready, then book it, go for it. Now if you aren't ready, that's also okay to you. Can you make these choices? So you can advise your clients how you're feeling? You can advise your clients what the facts are, and how you're feeling? And then you take the risk?
Are you willing to lose a client because of your thoughts? not theirs. Now remember, these clients have come to you to book and they're willing to take the risk already. You just need to highlight it. So are you prepared? And there's no right or wrong answer? Are you prepared to let that client go and see them book with somebody else, you can't get angry with that because you've made the decision to not book them.
Or they may choose to wait with you. They may choose to be guided by your decision and your feelings and the facts that you have. And everybody is different. But have a think about where you're at right now. You know, are you willing to book and share the facts and be prepared for what could potentially happen? You know, we come back to risk management and come back to what's the worst case? Or what's the worst thing that can happen here. Okay, you know, you need to be prepared to tell the clients that they may lose money, or they may not be able to travel. And we'll have to put things back in credit again, like what are the the worst case scenarios that you can share with your clients give them the facts, we share all the cancellation rules, we share the commission and say well, hey, if this doesn't go ahead or it gets cancelled or you decide not to go for a refund in the future, then these are the fees that are attached with that. And this is where your professionalism, your expertise, your knowledge, and you know who you are really comes into play.
You're in a position now to want to use the word elevate, but I don't think it's the right word. I think it's really just showcasing your expertise. You are the professional and I talk about this all the time. You're the expert in what you do. Your clients come to you for the information that you have and the expertise you have.
They come to you because you understand travel. You understand and can navigate all the complexities that go with that. It's like them going to a doctor or a lawyer, somebody who can navigate the problem that they have. I'm not saying that we're doctors and lawyers, I am saying that in our area of expertise, where we're trained, what we know what we do day in and day out, you are the expert in that.
So trust yourself back yourself, but communicate, communicate as much as possible. And then moving forward, I would love to see us really uplevel our communication as well with clients. And there's so much that we can be doing and looking at our customer journeys, as I said before, looking at our systems, the organisation, but the relationships ultimately will come down to the relationships with suppliers, the relationships with your clients, and what are you going to do?
Like, who are you going to be for those people, sometimes, and as I said, we feel like there's the way that the world is on our shoulders with the amount of credits that we've got, or we're taking on clients' problems, or we fear something else. Just try for a moment to take a deep breath. Look at the facts.
Look at what you can control, and communicate as much as you possibly can, with transparency, with honesty, with integrity to your clients. And they will see the benefit of working with you. That's all I've got for today, guys. I'm just here to encourage and support you. I want to see you come through this time. I hope these few different ideas and the things that we are able to be doing right now with our connections and communications and planning and getting our businesses organised will come through this time. But more so to help you. I want to see you absolutely thrive.
As you the world starts to open up. I want to see you getting the bookings, I want to see you in a position where you are happy. You are encouraged by what's happening in the world. And you are the expert that clients will come to. I want to see your business grow. If you're ready to rebuild. If you are in the position now where you're just starting out and you want to build your business, then I am here to support you. You've got this, Have an awesome day. Keep smiling and I look forward to talking with you very very soon. Bye for now.
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