Now that we’ve all had a minute to recover from the holidays and the widespread travel delays resulting from Omicron, we in the travel industry can move boldly forward into 2022. The early weeks in January are the perfect time to take a few moments to reflect on our businesses and personal lives and reset for the new year.
Need some inspiration? Here are the New Year’s resolutions of some of your travel advisor peers around the country.
Set an example
“My outlook and intentions for 2022 are fairly simple. People still have the sense that they cannot travel or that travel is unsafe. I have several large group trips planned this year where I’ll be escorting clients. Most of those clients are like me … ready to go and ready to jump through whatever hoops they need to, to continue seeing the world. For 2022, I see myself continuing to travel as an example that you CAN travel safely right now and continue to enjoy the world. Sharing my personal travel experiences with friends and clients, especially on social media, helps people sitting at home having second thoughts about travel to see they don’t have to give up on their desires to explore.”
-- Chip Barker, owner, Oceans & Lands: Custom Travel Planners
Expand your reach
“My personal resolution as a travel agent for 2022 is to continue expanding my reach in social media and receiving bookings from it. This is extremely important to me, as around 98% of my business comes strictly from social media − and only within the last year or so! In 2021, I turned to social media to increase my sales and, within a few months, became a multimillion-dollar travel agency after just starting in the travel industry − and it is a personal goal of mine to keep this up in 2022 and beyond. I plan on growing more followers on both TikTok and Instagram to help make this possible. Social media is the key to running a successful business in today’s day and age − and I don’t plan on falling behind in that category. However, in the midst of this, it has been so hard to take time and focus on myself, too. So in 2022, I am also going to be looking to reach more of a work/life balance − something that I let slip away from me in 2021.”
-- Shannon Kittner, CEO/owner, Main Street and Beyond Travel Co., LLC
Make sure clients use apps
"Get on the apps! Ensure clients are using the airline and resort apps. This is so important with all the schedule changes we’ve been having. It’s a simple way to improve our clients’ during-travel experience. This is the same for all the new resort apps – this will give our clients more detailed information prior to their arrival. Pre-check in – some of our top resorts are offering clients the opportunity to “pre-check in.” We’re trying to take advantage of technology to improve the client experience.”
-- Travis Paquin, owner, 417 Travel
Continue to be grateful
“Sure, the past couple of years have not been fun, but challenging and downright hard. But they’ve also been sprinkled with lessons. For 2022, my business intentions are very much in line with my daily mindset. I took a few sayings you’ve probably heard a thousand times and then really applied them to both life and business.
Have an attitude of gratitude. Having a daily gratitude practice changes everything. When applied to my business, some things that used to stress me out, I now am very thankful for.
I am grateful to have an inbox full of travel requests, to see clients getting to go on a long-awaited vacation, to travel to in-person conferences and personal vacations, and see once-deserted airports and resorts now bustling with happy travelers. Keeping this at the forefront of my day helps when opening my email to see the many schedule change notifications or changes in travel protocols and policies.
Don’t sweat the small stuff! Remember when our know-before-you-go emails were about not forgetting their passports, if it is safe to drink the water, and taking small bills for tipping?
Reminders are quite different today in order to properly prepare our clients before they travel. I promise myself I will no longer complain about the occasional weather occurrence that causes days of flight delays and the couple of hours of hold time with the airlines to help clients when it happens. That is now the small stuff. After handling our clients’ trips with care and hours on hold and page-long, last-minute reminders for testing, health authorizations and safety guidelines that we’ve been doing for almost two years, moving forward, I will no longer sweat the travel advisor small stuff!”
-- Kristi Huss, travel advisor & owner, Travel Savvi, Inc.
Hire an admin
“In 2021, we set our focus on destination weddings and honeymoons and it has really paid off, with more business on the books than in our 27-year history. Due to the change in focus, we have put a sign out at our storefront to read "Appointments Only" – it is our hope this will cut down on the walk-in traffic. Our intentions for 2022 are to hire an administrative assistant and to continue to travel as much as possible! My love and passion for our industry continues and I look forward to COVID being a distant memory!”
-- Georgiann Jaworskyj, CTC, ACC, owner/manager, Custom Travel Services, Inc.
Count your blessings
“One of my favorite parts about a new year is being able to reflect on the past months. One of the first things I do is count my blessings both professionally and personally as I move into this fresh time-space. I also want to honestly evaluate any changes I want or need to make in my life and my business (the two are intertwined). For 2022, I want to concentrate on figuring out ways to run my business more efficiently. Everything about travel is more complicated and takes more time to oversee. I am open to learning new ways of doing things if it can help my clients and help me not get burned out. I'm looking at investing heavily in the admin side of things and dedicating time to make it happen. My other resolution is a renewed focus on servicing my top clients better, giving them additional attention to show appreciation and extra care. For me personally, I want to set aside time to work on several creative writing projects and just enjoy some relaxing and reading moments.”
-- Laurel Brunvoll, CTA, MCC, owner & president, Unforgettable Trips
Grow your reach
“My resolutions are: 1. Work on focusing and growing my niche travel sector of business (heritage travel); 2. Enlist a professional to redesign my website and grow my reach to potential travel customers; and 3. Try to stick to my business hours and train my clients to reach out to me within those hours (except for emergencies, of course).”
-- Susan Becks, owner, Footsteps World Travel
Build relationships first
“One of my resolutions is to approach my clients and potential clients with an attitude of "How can I help you?" rather than just go for the sale. With all that has occurred in the last few years, this is going to help me with my attitude. Trying to stay positive is my No. 1 resolution. Another resolution is that I want to promote/sell more luxury items, especially cruises. And HELP, of course!!! I also plan to make more phone calls to keep my business model more personal. Texts and emails are fine but reaching out by phone is important and I want to do more of that.”
-- Kathy Cardott, cruise and vacation specialist, Travel With Kathy
Don't let time to go to waste
“My New Year’s resolution is to not let anything go to waste. My time, my friendships, travel opportunities, and all the important things around me in life. I don’t want to miss anything that is possible. This includes all the knowledge that I have learned over the past two years. It’s been a rollercoaster of ups and downs and insides and outs, but with so much valuable learning that has made me a better travel consultant and advisor. I will not let that go to waste as I help my travelers as we move forward. And to keep optimistic about the present as well as the future. Oh so critical!”
-- Tamara Jacobs, CTA, ACC, independent travel consultant, Destinations by Tamara
Pick your partners
“First, Maria and I are resolved to resist becoming jaded by the realities of client management that has become a greater challenge for many of us. We recognize the need to become more patient, while also defining clear objectives with clients that avoid taking up too much time. Set the expectations that several travel details may shift and agree on key dates to review (not whenever a new media story arises).
Second, our resolution is to take note of which vendor partners are taking steps to work more closely with agents. We want to contribute to ensuring that the stronger partners benefit from their agent-centric approach.”
-- Orben & Maria Torres, owners, Cruise Planners
Hire an office manager
“We are making some major changes for 2022. Work/life balance is my goal in 2022. 1. Get organized! 2022 is already looking to be our best year ever (in 26 years) and the busiest; 2. We are 100% committing to a new CRM ; 3. I've hired an assistant three days a week to literally sit next to me and learn; 4. Hiring an office manager to take on all the paperwork, reminders, invoicing, etc.; 5. We are bringing in new ICs with specialties to take on what I can't handle or don't specialize in; and 6. Hired a lawyer to rewrite my terms and conditions and contracts to make sure we are covered.”
-- Sarah Kline, CRC, president, Time For Travel, Ltd.
Defend your time
“2022 ... bring it on! I am manifesting and visualizing an incredible year of opportunity! I've already returned from my first trip of the year, and I have many more scheduled. As someone who is the CEO of my own businesses, in both the travel as well as the health and wellness space, I'm intentional in serving others to live and enjoy their lives unapologetically. No question life is messy ... toss in a pandemic and here we are at the start of our third year doing everything we can to keep our sanity; up-level our health and take the reprieve we need to honor our souls. As thehealthy_traveler (IG), my focus is clear this year ... stay the course with self-care; continue to safely travel; and always shower people with love, kindness, and happiness while curating their trips that breathe life and hope back into their weary souls. All my clients deserve someone who shows up with zest and a burning desire to light them up with experiences that make them feel alive again. My commitment is always to leave people better than I found them.
And personally ... I will continue to defend my time, write my daily gratitudes, eat Magic Cookie Bars, listen to the Bee Gees, and be present each day because, after all, I deserve it. And, I will most definitely travel. It may be my own local park, somewhere in the U.S., or it may just indeed be one of the countries on my list ... Peru, Norway, Japan, South Africa, or Australia/New Zealand. After all, I'm choosing to live boldly in 2022!”
-- Denise L. Wiggins, global executive advisor/CEO, Denise Wiggins Travel & Health Services