8 tips for thriving during busy times

8 tips for thriving during busy times

Travel agents are in hot demand right now, with many experiencing record levels of demand for their expertise. Having worked in the travel industry for many years – as an agent, then supporting our NSW-based personal travel managers as a Business Partnership Manager, and now in the role of National Business Partnership Manager – Julia McLean has had plenty of time to develop strategies that support success, even in the busiest of times. These are her top tips for thriving under pressure.

Determine your idea of success

Do you want to build a business that allows you to focus on a particular niche or area of interest? Or are you focussed on achieving better work/life balance by setting your own work hours? Or maybe you want the freedom, flexibility and earning power to indulge your own love of travel. Whatever your goals are, knowing them is vital for ensuring that you remain true to them when work gets hectic.  


Set clear boundaries

One of the most common challenges associated with home-based businesses is maintaining boundaries between work and home life. By establishing firm hours of work (and sticking to them), it’s easier to avoid allowing the two to bleed into each other. Let your customers know which hours you are available, and avoid communicating with them outside of those hours except in emergencies.


Manage communication channels

We are blessed with many different communication channels in today’s business world, but being constantly available via too many formats can make this blessing more of a curse. It requires a greater workload to manage them and results in a higher likelihood that you will receive work messages outside of your set hours, so stick to a manageable selection of the ones that work best for you and your clients.


Manage expectations

Always be clear with your clients about what they can expect from you – you will build stronger relationships by honest and open communication than by overpromising and then failing to deliver. Despite the best of intentions, responses from airlines and other suppliers often take longer to receive than anticipated, but managing your clients’ expectations and keeping them in the loop on any unexpected delays makes all the difference. Likewise, if business is booming and you know you won’t be able to respond to a new enquiry for a couple of weeks, a brief message to your clients will let them know that they are valued and that you are worth the wait.


Get smart

Setting aside some time to create more efficient processes in your work is a sound investment in the future you – a short-term effort that yields a long-term benefit. Conduct a week-long self-audit and take note of any repetitive tasks that could be streamlined, such as initial email responses to new enquiries. Set aside specific hours within your work week in which you are available to clients – appointment booking software is an effective tool for managing this.


Know your worth

Implement and charge fair and reasonable service fees – this will reduce the amount of time you spend on enquiries that are not going to lead anywhere, and ensure that your time and expertise are valued.


Mind your business

Working on your business is just as important as working in it, so be sure to allocate regular time for fine-tuning. Identify the types of clients that are most valuable to your business so that you can tailor your marketing plans to attract them. Identify the suppliers that are easy to work with and relevant to your clients so that you can activity promote their updates and deals to your customer base. Become an expert on their product offerings so that you can grow a reputation as an expert on those types of holidays.


Relationships are everything

The Four R’s were Julia’s guiding principle as a home-based agent: Retention, Referrals, Reputation and Revenue. Good relationships are pivotal to all of these, so focus on building them with your clients, suppliers and colleagues.


If you would like to learn more about how to build a thriving home-based travel business, as part of Australia’s award winning mobile travel advisor network, chat with one of our state-based business partnership managers or request an information pack.