The Meet Our Advisors series profiles some of Lake Shore Travel’s advisors who have attended our Mentor Program and gone on to create vibrant, successful careers in travel.
I knew I could provide a quality service that would help others have a similar experience. To be honest, I had a very narrow vision of what was possible and through training was blown away at all the resources available to me to help provide outstanding service and unique options.
What made you interested in the travel industry, specifically as a travel advisor?
I took my family on a River Cruise to Experience the Christmas Markets. On this trip, I saw travel (specifically international travel) through the eyes of my children. It really had an impact on me, but I knew how much work it was to plan a trip like that and the courage it took to travel with children at such a young age (7 & 9). But I knew I could provide a quality service that would help others have a similar experience. To be honest, I had a very narrow vision of what was possible and through training was blown away at all the resources to me to help me provide outstanding service and unique options.
What year did you take your training class at Lake Shore Travel?
I joined Lake Shore Travel and attended the July 2018 training course.
The biggest takeaway from the training class?
The class was not the end of my training. My mentor and my trainer would still be there for me. I did not have to go home knowing everything.
What was your first year like as a travel advisor?
I was thankful to book vacations that were smaller in revenue because everything was a learning opportunity. I would take anything that I could and even book a low-end hotel, just to get the experience…from verbiage or systems.
Describe your business now.
I am now more selective with the business that I work on. I have an assistant that helps me with administrative tasks and has even learned to use the booking systems such as Cruising Power, Disney Travel Agents, Marriot STARS, and Four Season Preferred Partners so that I can spend more time communicating and establishing relationships with the clients.
I am still learning how to establish boundaries and push back on clients. I want to please them and sometimes it has burned me.
Biggest lessons learned so far?
- Set goals and go for what you want to achieve but find balance.
- It is REALLY EASY to keep taking new business and burn yourself out. Prioritize quality business and clients.
- Having a niche is good. You are not limiting yourself. You are becoming an expert.
- A strong discovery call before you start the work will reduce the number of proposals that you send to the client.
- Relationships with vendors are VITAL to your success. You will mess up and these are the people who can bail you out in a jam if needed.
- Take the planning fee at the beginning. Because you get so deep into the booking you can forget to charge it… or if they decided not to book there isn’t an awkward ask to charge their card.
- Develop relationships with advisors in the office so that you can ask ANY question.
- Find a system to keep track of open opportunities and what you need to do next. This includes payments/invoicing. Use your calendar, make lists, etc.
- Establish hours. (I am still learning this one… right now I am trying to say my office closes at 1 pm on Fridays. I will still be working but I can catch up and plan for the next week.)
- Get an outside phone line such as Grasshopper.
What’s been the best investment for the growth of your business?
Hiring an assistant and a company to do my social media. I have received a large return on both.
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