In travel – just like every other profession in the world – people often seek the magic bullet that makes everything perfect. Of course, we all know that there is no magic bullet that solves all problems, but people still want to hope there is such a thing and look for it more often than they probably realize.
While not a magic bullet, I want to share what I believe is the number one thing you can do to be successful in travel.
It may seem simple, but I believe there is one word that describes the most successful people: Connected. I don’t mean they are “connected” as the gangster in a mafia movie, but connected in that they know, interact with, and learn from lots of people. Not just travel industry people, but all sorts of people. Not that they are just friends with them on social media, but that they actually know them.
Here’s the thing: In order to be connected, you need to get out of your office. You need to turn the out-of-office message on and go interact with people. Ask questions, listen, and engage. You may be surprised at how much you learn.
I have attended many events where travel professionals had a chance to interact with and learn from one another, and there is always at least one person who is too “busy” to engage. At every break they are on their phone or checking email and not connecting with the people in front of them. When everyone else is getting to know one another and having meaningful conversation, they are sequestered in their room working.
This is an example of someone who is too busy working “in” their business to work “on” their business. They are responding to short-term demands and missing out on long-term gains.
Over the years some of the best insights and ideas have come out of conversations with colleagues – sometimes they are serious work meetings and other times they are more casual conversations. But to have these conversations you need to be part of a group that is bigger than just your business.
Being an isolated business owner is a dangerous thing. Independent travel entrepreneurs struggle more and make less if they are completely on their own. It doesn’t need to be that way. There are lots of different organizations you can be part of, both formal and informal. For many their host agency or consortium fills that role. It isn’t one of the benefits you see listed in their marketing materials, but perhaps it should be!
The next time you have an opportunity to engage with peers I encourage you to put down your phone, ignore your inbox, and lean in to the conversation. You will probably be surprised at how much you get out of it.