Written By: Jennifer Dugan, Chief Family Officer – Dugan’s Travels
When we get knocked down, we all have a choice to make. We can either stay down or get back up. Sounds simple, but is it? For some people, staying down feels like the best choice for their ultimate survival. They might not be able to handle another knock down, or they may realize when they’ve had the rug pulled out from under their feet that they didn’t really care for the rug they were standing on anyway, and the universe did them a favor. Admitting defeat or walking away from things that no longer serve us is a hard decision and a personal choice that no one should question. For those who have decided to stumble back up not knowing what is next, it is also a scary decision to rise again and step into the unknown. We have no idea what is coming next.
Travel Agents are facing this existential crisis right now when it comes to their life paths and careers. We’ve been majorly knocked down by a pandemic and are being called right now to either hold fast to our faith that things will turn out fine, or let go and walk away from our uncertain careers into something completely different. We do not know if the virus will get worse. We do not know when a vaccine will be in our future and if it is, will it work? We have so many questions and no answers.
The one thing we know deep down is people will never give up traveling. Travel was once a thing for only the wealthy. That is no longer the case. People will travel and they miss traveling. We will come back to where we were prior to Covid 19, if not even stronger. Spring break, summer vacation, honeymoons as well as many special occasions were missed during this time. People will make up for it. That dream cruise to Alaska that was cancelled this year will be made up. We do not know when this will happen, but it will. So, if we can hang onto our faith that the travel industry will heal and we have no intention of walking away from our travel businesses, what could we be using this time for?
It could be that this is the time to prepare. It could be that this is the time to put yourself in a position to be an even better travel advisor. Now might be the time to brush up on skills, get organized and be in the best position you have been in, since now you’ve got an abundance of time to figure out ways to improve. I know for the twenty years I have been in the industry I have not had the time that I have had in the last month or so. I have been using my time to help my agency set back up for success. No more waiting until a quiet moment to take care of the deep cleaning or organization it has needed.
What technology or new skills could you learn to improve yourself as an agent? We can always learn something new. We can take a moment to put processes in place that in a busy season we could not have implemented. We must look towards what this time can do to make the future better. Investing the time we have now can be a huge payoff later.
A year ago, I was in an extremely busy place in my life. My kids were starting school, we were gearing up for a conference for our agents, and I was traveling every month somewhere. I miss traveling. I miss my travel partners. I miss traveling with my family. I miss everything that was the norm back then.
However, I have found that I have more time now to get things accomplished. I know my business has needed that time. We overhauled our learning system for our agents, started a help desk allowing people to create tickets that are tracked, and found ways to communicate within our team as well as with our agents. We have cleaned up our database. We have broken down all our processes and have found ways to make it better.
We can look at this phase as either a terrible time in our lives that knocked us down and ruined our goals, or a blessed window of time to figure out how to rise and make things better. It all depends on our perspective and how we utilize the time that has been given to all of us. How will you use this time to set your future self up for success?