Staying Afloat in the Flood of Bad News

The economy may be still in crisis, but I believes this is the time to rethink and rebuild the travel agency business. I am not alone. The President of the Travel Industry Association, Roger Dow, says the questions travel executives need to be asking now are "How do we win? How do we prosper? How do we flourish?"

Mass marketing is out and segmentation is in. Go back to the basics - increase revenue and control expenses. I recommend specific strategies:

1) Make sure to increase revenue:
- Protect your blood supply - continue to invest in your marketing initiatives and advertising, but make sure your message includes a call to action and track every inquiry/sales;
- Shift from transaction to relationship sales by knowing your customers and personalizing your message;
- Highlight your travel specialists on your website
- Establish programs for customers to refer customers
- Win back lost customers and sell other products and services to existing clients
- Negotiate dealership agreements and receive net rates with one cruise line and one tour operator, making it easier to specialize in their products.

2) Also, make sure to control Expenses:
- Consolidate unprofitable locations, get rid of unproductive real estate
- Manage out unproductive travel consultants
- Recruit commission sales agents including at-home agents
- Motivate your top producers and assure them of a greater future and pay them well
Always make sure your revenue is higher than your expenses by 2%,If revenue is flat with expenses, then lower your expenses by 2%.