In Part 1 of this series, TMR rounded up five things travel advisors do to wrap up the current year strong and prepare for next year.
In Part 2 we offer five more things that can help advisors can do to make the most of the time remaining this year, and set themselves up for the best possible new year.
6. Year review and goal setting
Setting – and hitting – sales goals should be an important part of every advisor's business, whether agency owner, employee, or independent contractor. To plan for and set yearly goals first requires looking backwards at what worked the previous year, what didn't, and where new opportunities might be found.
"It is extremely helpful to see where and when the opportunities are throughout the year and develop a detailed plan for next year," said Dusty Davidson, owner of a Dream Vacations franchise.
"We review accomplished goals for the past year and set realistic goals – complemented by detailed tasks to accomplish those goals – for the upcoming year," said Rebekah Law, CCC, a Cruise Planners franchise owner.
Added Cynthia Connelly-Paxton, CTA, owner of Travel Advisor Team, "I analyze the previous 11 months sales to determine a timeline for peaks and drops."
Part of setting new goals includes figuring what marketing will be needed to help meet those goals.
"I start re-evaluating my lead magnets and evergreen campaigns… This is a bit reflective as much as it's about looking towards the future as I'm evaluating how the evergreens, lead magnets, and internal processes have worked so far and correcting them for the next year," said Rainbow Getaway owner Scott Wismont, CTA.
Davidson said he and his associates are doing much the same. "We're discussing ways to increase their sales and lead generation particularly during the months where we saw lower numbers in regard to bookings and leads, as well as taking advantage of our higher sales months."
For some advisors, goal setting includes finalizing the following year's educational plan.
"We determine where more training will be beneficial and create immersive training opportunities, attend travel conferences or plan FAM trips to gain more knowledge and experience," said Connelly-Paxton.
"I try to obtain one specialization per week," Law said. "I list them in my personal and professional annual plan and that trickles down into my monthly, weekly, and daily planning. I obtain them in order of priority – what suppliers are my clients using at the moment, where am I going, etc."
7. Employee/IC reviews
For advisors with employees or ICs, it's as important to review their year and set new goals for them.
"I also review my associate's performance during the year and review – and update if necessary – goals for them for the upcoming year," said Adam Martindale, owner of a Cruise Planners franchise.
"We mostly go over sales, talk about things that we can improve upon, and do a salary review," said Terri Henderson, president at Geneva Travel & Cruise, Inc.
8. Travel planning
In between planning clients' vacations, advisors need to also be thinking about their own travel in the new year.
"I do this by putting all booked travel on a calendar, in addition to penciling in potential travel," said Rhonda Day, owner of a Dream Vacations. "By doing this I can wrap my head around what I have planned, but what I also may want to change… I try to make sure there are travels on my calendar that are going to help me grow as an agent. For example, if I have a cruise booked on a cruise line that I have sailed several times, I may want to consider canceling that and booking another cruise line that I have not yet traveled…"
For some advisors, personal travel overlaps with group travel.
"I put out feelers to my travel groups I escort for the upcoming year or two ahead. Where do we want to explore in 2024 and/or 2025," said Law. "A great way to jump into the new year with excitement for travel, especially during the winter doldrums."
9. Get personal
While year's end is a time to focus on next year's business priorities, it's also important to be thinking about personal goals.
Day told TMR she thinks about what personal milestones she has coming up, how her health is and where she'd like it to be in a year, as well as where she believes she is in her career.
"Do I want to slow down and ease into retirement or go full force," she said.
10. Rest and recharge
Amidst all the looking back, strategizing, reviewing, and planning, some travel advisors make a concerted effort to also take a step back and rest up. Wave season starts January 1, kicking off three months of high-intensity business. Going into the first quarter of the new year already exhausted is a recipe for disaster.
"We typically try to take a cruise at the beginning of December to rest up for Wave season," said Lisa Long, ACC, owner of Luxury Vacations, LLC. "It's a great time to take advantage of the slower time and get rejuvenated and ready for the busy season."
"Getting a little personal time in now before Go Time is probably key," echoed Ryan Warshaw, owner of Epic Jaunts.