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Sunday, 14 April 2013 17:46

Top 3 Business Mistakes Travel Advisors Make

Written by  Douglas Cooke
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This month we are presenting you with a guest editorial from Meredith Hill, ex-President of Hills of Africa Travel, founder of the Global Institute for Travel Entrepreneurs (GIFTE).

 

Her mission is to empower frustrated and struggling travel consultants by helping them to connect with their passion again, attract ideal clients, and build a business that makes positive difference in people's lives. Below is her list of the most commonly made mistakes travel advisors make and how they can be corrected.


Working on business that isn't profitable. If you are still taking bookings where you make less than $500 commission, you are shooting yourself in the foot.
How to fix it: Establish a specialty and learn to say 'no' to business. Picking a specialty is one of the most difficult steps forward in this business. On the one hand, your $200 commission bookings are better than nothing, right? Wrong. When you establish the correct specialty, you will own your gifts and talents and target travel clients who are spending more on their travel. It takes courage and trust to step into your unique specialty and market it, but the rewards are worth it. 


Treating your business like a hobby. Treating your business like a hobby means failing to do the things necessary to take yourself seriously so that clients will too. Here are some signs you are treating your business like a hobby: 
a) You have an email address that ends with @gmail.com, or @comcast.net, or @windstream.com (or any other free email service provider);
b) You have not incorporated, or at least created an LLC;
c) You don't pay yourself salary (if you?ve been in business for more than 2 years);
e) You don't have a separate phone number for business;
f) You see your business as a part of your host agency, so you don't have a separate website and have not established a different name;
g) You have no marketing activities you do on a regular, consistent basis. 
How to fix it: Turn around and DO all the things in the list above. Go purchase a domain with your business name or your personal name and get a new email address with THAT domain. You can jump on to www.godaddy.com and purchase the your URL for $10 and add an email address to this domain for a few dollars more. Go do that.  By all means, please incorporate or set up an LLC so that you legally separate your business from your personal. You don't need to spend hundreds of dollars on legal fees. Just go to www.legalzoom.com and they will simplify the process for you. 
Once you have a separate legal identity for your business, you can then open a separate bank account. Then, to follow IRS standards, pay yourself a regular salary - this is a frightening, yet profoundly empowering move. Once you do, you realize how it makes you act different - you make different decisions in your business because you are always thinking about how you will make payroll. 
It's also time to realize that your host agency is NOT your employer, if you are an independent contractor. And if so, you must act like a business owner - get a different name, market yourself and your business separately. Finally, do yourself a favor and commit to doing 1 single marketing activity on a regular and consistent basis. My favorite is the electronic newsletter, but if you want to choose something else, that's fine. Just commit to it and do it. 


Ignoring Your Numbers. Even though we are in this business to make money, many people unconsciously sabotage their ability to do this. What does ignoring your numbers look like? 
a) Having no financial goals 
b) No budget
c) Not knowing and tracking your average commission per booking
d) Not tracking your financial performance on a monthly basis 
How to fix it: Get in the habit of doing all 4 of these things listed above. Set a financial goal for this year. Create a budget. Start with last year's numbers and guestimate what you will make and spend this year. Calculate your average commission per booking and start tracking this number monthly. Every time you make a new booking compare the commission to your average and make a point at trying to raise the average by beating the average each time. Look at your financial performance each and every month - no matter how much you don't want to look.

Your assignment 
Go through each and every one of these business mistakes and make a point of correcting your mistakes before this year is over.
Travel business entrepreneur Meredith Hill is founder of the Global Institute of Travel Entrepreneurs (GIFTE) and creator of the SAFARI Guide Home Study System, the proven step-by-step program that shows you how-to start attracting LUCRATIVE clients, making more money, saving yourself tons of time and finally traveling more often. To get your complimentary audio on the "3 Insider Secrets to Collecting Bigger Commission Checks, So You Can Work Less, Travel More, and Make a Difference in the Lives of Your Clients" visit www.TravelBusinessU.com

Read 470 times Last modified on Wednesday, 06 November 2013 14:37
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