Travel insights from Jenn Lee, VP of Sales and Marketing for Travel Planners International

Avoid These Sneaky Time-Suckers in Your Business

As business owners, we can all agree that time is money. Every second, minute, hour spent equates to money we can (and should) be earning. Truly successful travel business owner and advisors have mastered the value of time - have you?

We all know the usual suspects when it comes to wasting time: social media/texting, unrestricted breaks, and a cluttered/noisy work environment. However, this article isn’t about honing your time management skills and creating carefully-crafted to-do lists. I want to share with you five sneaky time-suckers that, when left unchecked, can negatively impact your business. Keep reading below to find out if you’re doing any of these detrimental time-suckers.

Stop Making Emotional Assumptions

Assumptions are a big no-no, especially in business. Yet, if we’re trying so hard to start, maintain or scale our respective businesses, why do we fall into making decisions based on assumptions? Because we’re human and it’s easy to do.

Here are some common emotional assumptions that can negatively affect your travel business:

  • Doing it all is better than focusing on niche.
  • If a client declines your offer, it’s a negative reflection on you.
  • People know what you do for a living and that they’ll reach out!
  • Don’t want to bother them…they’ll call me if they are interested.

These emotional assumptions are time suckers in your head! Causing you to second guess yourself, not use your time wisely and not following proper follow up.

Stop Doing It Unless It Meets the Money/Joy Criteria

We all joined the world of travel because we’re passionate advocates for our industry. Also making money off of something we love doesn’t hurt either. Go one step beyond Japanese organizing consulting and Netflix star, Marie Kondo’s advice and ask yourself, “will doing this bring me joy and earn me money?”. This is what I call the Money/Joy Criteria. (Yes, simple and to the point.)

A perfect example is booking a cruise for a relative. Do you like booking cruise vacations? Is working with family enjoyable? Is this worth the commission you’re making? You can apply the Money/Joy Criteria to smaller tasks as well. If daily admin work is a drag and it’s costing you money because you’re not organized or you’re missing out on networking, find someone to take over. This is a good time to remind you that in some cases, you have to spend money to make money.

Stop Working Without a Timer

I’m a big believer in working on one thing at a time. It sounds crazy, especially when you’re running your own business with a team of one. It only seems impossible because you’re not working with a timer (or a timer app). Research has proven that productivity increases when you carve out a set amount of time to work on one project.

Personally, my favorite approach is the Pomodoro technique. For those unfamiliar, think of these as 25-minute sprints – you’re using all your focus and energy into doing the most you can within that time frame. Once time’s up, you can take a short break before tackling the next thing on your list.

Stop Sending Incomplete Quotes

Providing your clients with personalized recommendations via dedicated research is a recipe for success. Sending quote after quote after quote that won’t appease your client is a recipe for disaster and a total time-sucker. If you find yourself constantly sending quotes and your clients aren’t taking the bite, this can mean one of two things:

  • You don’t understand your client’s wants or needs.
  • Your client is haggling or shopping for the lowest price.

With the former, you have to do your homework and find out what motivates your client to travel. Present the quote in the language they speak (more on that here). However, with the latter, no amount of top-notch research will convince this client that your quote is right. In both aforementioned cases, top-notch qualifying will prevent countless hours lost. Keep your eyes peeled for red flags the next time you’re meeting with a new client. If they’re a good match, do your due diligence and get to know them before presenting a quote.

Bonus tip: Talk about and provide in your quote the following – every single time.

  • Travel Insurance
  • Excursions
  • Your cancellation fees. YES! You should have a standard cancellation fee that is for YOU! You don’t work for free.

Stop Selling Travel

You’re not a booking engine so why are you solely focused on just selling travel? Remember, you’re not just a travel advisor - you’re a travel agency owner! This is a major time-sucker if your goals are to scale your business. Time is money, right? So, use your time wisely by focusing on activities, that will build your business, solving client issues by curating the right experiences, and strategizing on what processes you should be adopting as an entrepreneur. If you haven’t already, it’s time you shift your attitude and owning your role as a business owner.

The pros don’t get sucked into time and energy suckers that don’t net them the monetary results they desire. By eliminating these pesky obstacles, you’re allocating more of your time and resources to things that make your business profitable and a success! In the comment section below, feel free to share other time-suckers your travel peers should avoid.

About the Author

Jenn Lee, Travel Planners International’s VP of Sales and Marketing, isn’t shy about her obsession for guiding and leading today’s entrepreneurial-minded travel advisor community. According to Lee, now’s the moment to remind the world that travel advisors aren’t just booking travel, they’re true curators of the future. She believes that those that find success are going beyond boosting their bank account; they’re building a business. Meeting and strategizing with these hustling entrepreneurs-in-the-making is what keep her going. That and her Bulletproof Coffee.

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