It’s numbers that make the difference between travel agents who succeed and those who fall by the wayside, says Louise Gardiner, senior director of the Carlson Wagonlit Travel’s associate program in Canada. So sure, travel is a people business and heartfelt conversations are the key to meeting your client’s expectations — but you also have to keep your eyes on the prize. And that’s making a profit.
“If you are not measuring your success and your failures, you really don’t know where you are at,” Gardiner told the audience at Travel Marketplace in Toronto earlier this month. “So have that calculator beside you and be sure to track how much time it takes you to do things, and what the ROI is.”
Start by figuring out how much you need to earn every day. Take the annual salary you want to earn, and divide it by 365 days minus your vacation days. Then every single day, ask yourself if you were successful in earning a profit.
How to get there
There are three things that help drive sales, Gardiner said: suppliers, data and marketing. So over the course of each day, try to spend a little time focusing on each one. First find ways to partner with suppliers who help you offer competitive products, and who recognize your value and support you. Then look at your data – at a minimum, at data that shows what your customers are purchasing. Then turn to marketing, because without marketing there are no customers.
And finally, take some time every day to get learn something new, be it going to a conference or tuning into a webinar.
“Take advantage of opportunities to learn right from your chair” through videos and webinars on new product and new sales techniques, but remember “you can’t get everything on Google,” Gardiner said. “When you need help the person sitting beside you at a conference, the person you met at a trade show, will be there. So make a new friend, share experiences, learn from each other, find solutions you can share, challenge yourself to meet at least one new person, learn one new thing, find one new solution.”
Editor’s note: Interested in meeting someone new? ASTA’s Global Conference will be held August 27-29 in San Diego. Come meet me there!