As an independent travel advisor, you are responsible for charting your own course and ultimately the success of your business. Critical to maximizing your efforts is having the right tools, resources, and connections. Many advisors look to a host agency to provide these things, and, in many cases, they are enhanced by the host agency’s consortium. And yet, many advisors don’t take full advantage of the benefits provided by the consortium they or their agency is affiliated with. Now is a great time to make sure you are aware of and utilizing the benefits of any consortia you have access to. There will probably be so much you won’t know where to start, so here are three places to focus on.
First, look at the consortium’s marketing programs. Most travel advisors aren’t suffering from too few clients. Client attraction is an ongoing process through the life of your business, and it can be an area where your consortium can assist. From social media programs to print marketing, there are doubtless lots of options. But don’t just opt-in for something because it is there – make sure it is a fit with your ideal client (if you don’t know who your ideal client is, figure that out NOW). If you just randomly start sending things to clients you can confuse them – and a confused buyer doesn’t buy.
Next, make sure you are familiar with the consortium’s preferred partners. During this strange year, many advisors made lists of vendors and put them in “naughty” and “nice” categories. If you need a new vendor to replace one on the naughty list, this is a great place to start. These vendor partners change over the course of a year so if you haven’t done a deep-dive lately you might be surprised to see who is there (and who isn’t).
Finally, check into professional development options. Particularly focus on anything related to marketing, client attraction, operations, and making more money. Don’t just go directly to vendor training – you could easily spend days doing that, but it won’t get you any more clients!If you start digging in and find the options lacking or not a fit with your focus, it might be time to look for a new host in order to get access to a great consortium. Or if you are working under your own credentials it might be worth revisiting that decision to get the many benefits a strong consortium offers.This is yet one more example of working “on your business” and not just “in your business”. If you are an IC, you are a travel entrepreneur and you have sole responsibility for making decisions that affect the success of your business. Use this extra time to make sure you are getting the most from your consortium and it will pay dividends!