Travel insights from Jennifer Dugan, chief family officer for Dugan’s Travels

Staying Inspired

We all know the feeling: It is hard to stay inspired 365 days out of the year. However, as small business owners, we need to stay motivated to keep our business going into the positive. I find I am the most inspired after being around others in the travel industry - whether it be my team at the agency, the agents who work with us, or suppliers and other agents in the industry. After an event, I am full of ideas and motivation to do great things.

Attending a travel industry function at least once a year is so important for growth. Being present at more than one - especially if you can do one at the beginning of the year and one halfway through the year - can mean so much to your business. We track the agents who attend our events to show how important it is to be present. Of our top 33 agents, 22 have attended a function in the last two years. Most attend not only our events, but also the ones that suppliers and the industry offer.

Most of our agents are homebased agents and they usually do not get to spend time with other agents, except for our events. During social hours, I often sit back and watch the interaction between our agents. Many have formed friendships that extend beyond their travel businesses. They even go on vacations together. I have also seen agents from other agencies meet on family trips and become lifelong friends. It is nice to have someone who understands the day-to-day life of a travel agent. You can inspire one another as well as support each other when times get tough.

Anyone in this industry who thinks they know it all, is sadly mistaken. At events, I am constantly learning and being motivated to do more with my business. I am inspired to be a better manager and owner. I am inspired to make travel the best experience it can be for those entering the industry, as well as for those who have many years of experience. Hearing from suppliers and leaders in our industry at events is so valuable.

I spent many years not attending events because I was raising my young children. I realize how hard it is to attend industry events for those with commitments other than their travel business. In that case, online events are a great option. However, I do feel that even a shorter in-person appearance at an event is so valuable. The inspiration that you get from hearing best practices from others or new developments in our industry, can really light a fire in your business. It sometimes just takes a different point of view to spark what you might need to take your business to the next level.

Make sure to give yourself that opportunity and get inspired by others. You deserve it and your business needs it.

About the Author

Jennifer Dugan

Jennifer Dugan founded Dugan’s Travels in 1997 with the goal to have a career while being at home with her growing family. Since that time, Jennifer and her team have created a family-friendly host agency where hundreds of agents work to realize the dream of owning a successful home-based travel business. Dugan’s Travels, now a recognized top host agency in the United States, offers comprehensive education and development programs to help agents gain knowledge, establish industry relationships, and build the confidence needed to succeed. When not working tirelessly to put her agents first, Jennifer enjoys spending time in the mountains with her husband and seven children.

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