OK, full disclosure: I am writing this before we leave for the GTN conference onboard Celebrity Summit, but even before my foot steps onto the ship I can tell you what’s going to happen. Agents who haven’t seen each other in months will happily reconnect. Members who have never met each other IRL (in real life) will be thrilled to get to meet for the first time. There will be lots of laughter and smiles. And all this has a lasting impact on your business. Really.
One of the hardest things about being a home-based travel advisor is the home-based part. It can mean you are isolated much of the time. For many of us, much of our day-to-day conversation is with our dogs (and mine sleep through a lot of what I talk about!). Being completely on your own makes it harder to keep up with what’s going on in the industry, and it can even make you stagnate in your business. You need a way to learn, get new ideas, and be inspired.
That’s why I think every agent should be part of an organization. For many agents that means a host agency. For some it could be a franchise. For still others it is an organization like our sister company, GIFTE (Global Institute for Travel Entrepreneurs). Everyone needs a tribe.
So, where is your tribe? How do you connect with them? If you don’t have one, I strongly encourage you to find one. During my 18 years in the travel industry I have seen that with very few exceptions, travel advisors who are part of a larger organization enjoy their businesses more and are more profitable. I’m not talking about employees working in a brick-and-mortar agency, but ICs with a host agency. They make more money because they get the benefit of the agency’s aggregated sales, and they have an organization that has their back.
But it isn’t enough to be part of a tribe, you have to engage. If you join a host agency and never join in the conversations that happen in the member forum, don’t get to know any of the other members, and don’t attend the conferences, you aren’t any better off than someone who is completely on their own.
Also keep in mind that as your business grows and evolves, what once was a perfectly acceptable community might no longer be what you need. In that case, don’t be afraid to change. There are lots of great hosts out there and you can find one that meets your needs. Visit Host Agency Reviews to research options.
If you are part of great community, be thankful for them. If you aren’t, it’s never too late to find your tribe.