**Editor's note: Jason Merrithew will be contributing regular columns to CanadianTraveller.net. We thank him for sharing his thoughts, and invite others to do the same!
I think there is one key thing travel consultants can do to really take control of their destiny. It’s controversial and it’s difficult, but it will reward you beyond measure. Ready for it?
Fire your clients.
Not all of them, of course. Your immediate reaction may have been to think I’m out of touch and don’t understand your business, but I would bet that the next thought that went through your head was the name of the individual who might be on the chopping block if you took my suggestion. That’s right; instinctively, you already knew who’d get the axe. It’s that client who takes all of your time and ends up booking with someone else but keeps coming back, or the family vacation that you spend 25 hours on for $25 a head in professional fees total.
As a travel professional, you are just that: a professional. Your time is valuable. Time is the resource that we never think about when we are deciding which clients are worth it and which are not. Imagine what you might do with more time to spare every day? Take more meetings with potential clients. Send your existing clients better quality travel documents so they love you even more. Take that extra 15 minutes on the phone with your partner in Italy to make sure the guide is exactly perfect for that family vacation you’re planning. The sky is the limit and you need to start thinking that way to succeed.
The number one complaint I hear from travel consultants is, “I’m so busy! There isn’t enough time to do everything.” If that is you and you’re not hitting your goals (financial probably), then ask yourself how you plan on reaching your goal if you’re already swamped and not there. You can’t invent more time; you need to be ruthless with your time management to get it done. Time is the only thing you can’t create and when a client works with you. In fact, that is what they are buying. Your time. You can’t succeed if you don’t treat your time as the most valuable thing you have to offer, and the most valuable thing you have to offer must be defended ferociously.
Protect your time and you’ll find yourself working smarter, not harder, and that is how you can achieve your goals!