Travel insights from Rick Zimmerman, President & CEO, KHM Travel Group

Saving Money to Make Money

You may have heard the business mantra, “You have to spend money to make money.” It’s easy to think that the more you invest in technology, marketing, or extravagant gifts for your travel clients, the more opportunities your business will have to succeed.

While it is true that starting and building your travel agency is an investment, smart business owners know that throwing money at a problem is rarely the best route to a solution. Setting and sticking to budgets is important, not just for your bank account, but for your business’s growth.

As one of our Core Values, stewardship calls us to “wisely utilize our resources for the benefit of our company, team members, independent agents, and community.” The general definition of stewardship is to take care of something.

We can think of caring for our business as a balance of time and money. Consider what is going to be essential to your growth in the long run. Do you need to splurge on office supplies if you are going to be working primarily with digital documents? For clients who have booked a relatively low commission trip, is it worth spending $25 per person on personalized luggage tags and water bottles?

It may be worth the referrals and visibility but remember this expense will be lost on your clients if it isn’t matched with excellent service. Have you invested time in ensuring that working with you is a memorable experience?

For technology and programs that can help your business be more efficient, have you researched free options? Have you taken the time to see what is available through suppliers and travel industry organizations, or your host agency, if you are part of one? Do you have a friend or peer who can help you master Excel to keep your business more organized? A few hours of time spent learning a new skill or program can save you a lot of money and frustration down the road.

Maybe you struggle with promoting your business. Social media is an obvious (and free) avenue, but there may be others just outside your door. Will your local coffee shop let you post a business card on its bulletin board? Are you a part of any groups or activities that you can share your travel experiences with?

It’s tempting to just pay someone else to handle aspects of our business we aren’t as familiar with or just don’t enjoy. Sometimes that is the right approach, but it’s also important to consider the trade-off. For most of us, our budgets aren’t limitless. Spending in one area means either making up for it in sales or spending less on something else.

Especially in uncertain times, we may not be 100 percent in control of our sales but we can prioritize what we spend. Finding creative ways to save money and use resources wisely are just as important to success as the income you earn.

About the Author

Rick Zimmerman is the President of KHM Travel Group, one of the country’s leading host travel agencies. Rick joined the travel industry fresh out of college where he worked as a travel agent for a small agency in Cleveland, Ohio. After a 25-year career in the construction industry, Rick returned to his travel roots and helped found KHM Travel Group in 2005. Rick is an active advocate of the travel agent community and serves on multiple travel-related Advisory Boards.

You May Also Like

Seven Critical Items for New Travel Agents

Recently, I was quoted in a great article in Travel Market Report by Cheryl Rosen on “How to Become a Travel Agent: A Guide for the Perplexed.” My contribution mainly related to the importance of having a business plan, certain disclosures that every travel advisor (using ASTA’s new terminology) sho

“Wooing” Your Business Partners

It’s true. I have the gift for gab. But come on, that tends to be a trait of many women. And I feel that I can take liberty calling out this stereotype, because I am a woman. People often think that because I am gregarious that I find it easy to build strong relationships with business partners. In

The Big 3 – Tips for Business Wellness

Without question, wellness is a key focus for many small business owners today. In a recent study by The Global Wellness Institute, they uncovered significant, diverse and positive implications when a company is perceived to “care” about an employee’s personal wellness, and extremely negative outcom

Watch Your Business Soar With These 3 Simple Steps!

It’s safe to assume that as small business owners, our common goal is to grow and succeed our travel agencies. (And if it isn’t, you may be in the wrong line of work.) It’s easy to get comfortable as your commission checks come in at a steadier pace and you’ve established a core group of loyal clien


comments

1000 characters remaining
Comment as:
Jul. 15, 2019
Tags: business , sales , money