Written By: Jackie Friedman, President – Nexion Travel Group
Despite everything that has happened in 2020, as we approach Thanksgiving this year, there is a lot to be thankful for. Here are just a few of the silver linings I’m seeing and experiencing, and I hope you are as well.
Thankful for time.
Despite all the craziness of this year, one thing that I know most of us are thankful for is the gift of time. With travel bookings down, hopefully you were able to plan more strategically and take a deep dive into your business to reassess goals. Maybe you used this period to brush up on your skills and certifications. Perhaps you successfully implemented professional fees for the first time in your agency career, and your clients not only didn’t balk at the change but embraced it, solidifying your value. Or, maybe you simply used this time to get your office in order, and you’re now better organized and proficient with your new surroundings.
What new things have you accomplished with the gift of time? Celebrate those wins and achievements, as you are now better positioned for a brighter tomorrow.
Thankful for connections.
So many companies, including Nexion Travel Group, have been successful at pivoting to challenges thrown their way by finding new ways to connect and learn from each other. We’ve gotten more comfortable with video and webcam platforms and have been able to stay connected virtually during tough times. Nexion’s recent virtual member conference, CoNexion at Home, is a prime example.
In addition, you as travel advisors have shifted your mindset to really focus on connections with clients, finding new and creative ways to stay in touch and top of mind. I’ve loved the podcasts I’ve seen, the mixology Facebook Live sessions replicating favorite cocktails found around the globe and the YouTube videos sharing tips and information about the importance of using travel advisors. It reminds me what a resilient group of people we all are.
Of course, don’t stop now! Continue to go through your client database or CRM and reach out to clients. Remind them why travel is so powerful in recharging and reconnecting with the world and of the value that you bring as a travel professional. On social media, be sure to use images to stimulate conversation and engage clients to get them dreaming about where they want to travel. Share your own travel experiences and what you’re seeing. It’s important to people to put hope on the calendar. Focus on that hope and positivity.
Thankful for family and friends.
One silver lining that has come out of these past few months is the opportunity to connect and reconnect with people in different ways, especially with family and friends. I have heard from many of you about how much you’ve appreciated the ability to sit down with family or those in your household for dinner most nights, as this was not always the case with past, hectic schedules. I’ve also heard from others who have strengthened connections with their grown children who have returned home from college or for other circumstances.
It has been fun, and interesting, to find creative ways to connect with family and friends (ask me about FaceTime with my mom!).
While nothing ever replaces in-person get togethers, I have personally enjoyed the different Zoom calls, virtual brunches and rekindling connections from friends, family and colleagues across the world. I encourage you, too, to find new ways to reach out to your networks.
Thankful for partnerships.
Suppliers in the travel industry have been hit hard, and like you and I, have had to come up with creative ways to handle situations that they have never seen before. I am so thankful for the wonderful supplier partners we have, and how so many have taken this turbulent time to reconnect with travel advisors by hosting virtual events for you and your clients, being available through special social media groups, chat and more.
If you haven’t already, I encourage you to reach out to your supplier business development managers to keep those relationships going and to see how you can partner together for the good of the travel industry. If you’re focusing on new suppliers to expand your business direction, take part in the available supplier webinars and training, and seek them out with questions to learn more.
Thankful for backyards.
Being stuck at home has given many of us the opportunity to rediscover the joys of our own communities or discover new domestic destinations that were never on our radar before. America has immense beauty and so many hidden gems. If you haven’t already, I hope you take this opportunity to get out there, go on a trip and see things firsthand – whether it’s in your own backyard, so to speak, or to international destinations that are open. Not only will traveling rejuvenate you, but you’re bound to diversify your expertise, which will help when assisting clients.
Thankful for you.
I am especially thankful for you – the professional travel advisor. Now more than ever, your value shines strong, and your passion for what you do is helping to keep our industry together. Take some time to say thank you to yourself and do something you love. Who knows? Maybe you’ll rediscover a passion or niche specialization that will help you in your travel career. No matter what, a little love your way will go a long way in recharging you as you gear up for 2021. And you deserve it!
Personally, I am thankful for the collaboration and community that have been evident these past months. It is so refreshing to see how we’re all on the same page and working together the good of our industry, and because of this, I am confident we will come out of 2020 stronger together.
Best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season!