Starting a business seems like an overwhelming job. As excited and encouraged as we are to start our new business, especially in the travel industry where dreaming about places and talking about them seems so much fun, it is logical that we approach our friends and family for support and comfort. We know THEY will be there for us, they will book their trips with us, they will trust us, and they will be the most fun clients to work with.
Well… maybe some of us are really, really lucky and can find that kind of support, but honestly, most of the time, family and friends may not be planning to travel, or they feel they can find better deals on the internet, or in worst case scenarios, they are the nightmare clients we read about in postings and magazines. These situations are most often the case.
So, the biggest question is: WHERE CAN I FIND MY CLIENTS?
Welcome to the real world!
First, let me introduce social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and some other ones that I am not so familiar with, but hopefully, most of you can navigate them well.
Second, try your community: Church, gym, clubs and all the places you belong (or they think you belong) so you can freely post your flyers or business cards.
Third, the old famous yet still reliable: local newspaper (yes, they will charge for it!)
Now that you have some different vehicles for gaining clients, you should decide if you want to specialize in certain areas. I highly recommend that you do so. This means that you will be able to call yourself an EXPERT at something. This does NOT mean that you cannot book other vacations. But travelers like to talk to experts, they like to recommend experts, and becoming an expert is a great investment in yourself. For example, compare the service of a travel agent to a hairdresser. Someone who is a colorist specializes in color. It doesn’t mean s/he can not cut, blow dry, wash, perm, etc., it means that s/he is BEST at coloring hair and in few years, everyone will recommend them for color, and they will become well-known as a colorist. The same applies for travel agents. Become a specialist in Adventure Tours, Honeymoons, Family Vacations, or Cruises, etc.
Be sure to wisely use all your different vehicles and TELL your family and friends, but don’t ask them for business.
Make your new clients your friends and they will be glad to recommend you to their friends and family 🙂