Header: What Travel Advisors Should do Before Running Facebook Ads
Travel Agent Marketing

Travel Biz CEO: What Travel Advisors Should Do BEFORE Running Facebook Ads

A big buzz in the past few years amongst travel advisors was that you MUST be doing facebook ads. Facebook Ads are the way to go! Especially in this era of COVID and digital marketing.  

First of all always be leary of the “shoulds” and “musts” in your business. What that often translates to is that a few advisors had killer success with facebook ads, so we all must try to copy and emulate that success.  

I’d like to throw my hands up first and ask you all to hit the pause button!

Are Facebook Ads a solid marketing strategy? YES! In fact, we teach members in KTA how to run Facebook Ads. I think that they can be wildly successful

But there are a few things you need to keep in mind first. 

FIRST: To start you need to know what facebook ads are and what they aren’t.  

Facebook ads ARE NOT: 

  • A Silver Bullet
  • A guarantee
  • Cheap

Facebook Ads are an accelerant.

What do I mean by that?

I would like you to imagine a campfire. You’ve got your marshmallows ready to roast. You are gearing up your fire. Facebook ads are the accelerant. They are the gas you put on the fire.  

But you need a few other things for your fire first. 

You need the right environment. You have to have the right logs that are primed and ready to go. Wind conditions need to be right. 

Second, you need a spark – you need the converting offer. You need to know what the end game is. 

Because otherwise, when you pour gas onto your logs you’ll just have wet logs. That’s it. Womp womp. 

Facebook ads are an accelerant. They help you get there faster. They help you grow and scale your audience faster. 

SECOND: You need to know who your ideal audience is. 

This is so important for so many things.

If you are a long time listener to our podcast, you know that we teach the importance of niching and identifying your ideal person. And when you do so you need to focus on the traveler and not the style of travel. 

For example: Don’t be a luxury specialist. Specialize in people that value luxury accommodations, slow travel, and exclusive experiences. 

Don’t be a groups travel specialist. Specialize in multigenerational beach vacations for families with small children where you work with grandparents that want to take their kids and grandkids on vacation.

You get the idea. 

Knowing who your ideal client is helps you

1. Create Content specifically for your person, and

2. Helps you to target them appropriately. 

Why is that important?

Because if you spend money on ads you want to make sure that you are spending money to attract the right people. But if your offers and/or content aren’t in alignment with you audience, or even worse, they are too general that they pick up a WIDE net of people then your conversion rates down the line won’t work out very well either.

Likewise, when you are setting up your ad sets in your ads managers with custom audiences because you don’t have enough people on your list to create a lookalike yet, you’ll want to be able to target them appropriately and the most effective targeting metrics aren’t from the demographics. They are using the psychographics of your person. But if you don’t know what that is, then you will always be falling short. 

THIRD: You need to know what your strategy is?

What is the end game to running your ads? Is it to grow your list? And by that I mean your email list. 

Is it to grow your Facebook Group? (This is your friendly reminder that you can’t run ads directly to promoting a FB group)

Basically, what are you wanting to do with your ads?

Are you wanting to sell a group trip? Sell a room block? Promote your services? Brand Awareness? Grow your social media presence? Drive traffic to your website or blog post?

The sky is the limit here. But knowing this helps you adequately

  1. Set your budgets
  2. Set Goals and
  3. You know how to measure your success. 

When we teach how to run Facebook Ads in KTA, we don’t start with Ads. We start with the strategy and laying the foundations in your marketing so that when you do run ads you aren’t blowing money into the wind. We never want to just throw spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks. We want to be deliberate and strategic with our ad spend. 

Then, when we do run ads, we use them primarily to list build. Why?

It really comes down to budgets. The average cost per lead for customers is anywhere from $6-10. And that’s just for a lead. A Sale can be much much higher and it’s incredibly hard to quantify a cost per customer acquisition because travel advisors across the board work with such a wide range of budgets and travelers. And the final sale doesn’t equate to dollars earned. A client may spend $10,000 on a vacation, but you may only make $968 in commission. And of that maybe you are hosted, so you will only be able to make $775 off the trip. 

You can run ads to trips worth $10,000. But I guarantee you will outspend your earnings. Because that is an incredibly hard conversion online.

But what you can do is spend money on ads to get them on your email list and invite them to continue the conversation at an in person event or online in a group or on social media. Your conversions come in the time it takes to build know like and trust in those spaces.

It’s a long game, but if you know the strategy you know how to adequately set up your ads, you know where you are trying to convert them. 

Basically, you know where ads fit into the overall strategy. The accelerant, remember?

So before you go out and spend a ton of money on ads, set up your foundations first!

Of course, we teach the foundations and the mechanics of setting up your ads to our Kinship CEO Members. 

You can learn more about our program here.

 

 

 

Transcript of todays show below:

Krystal Eicher 0:00
A big buzz in the past few years amongst travel advisors was that you must be doing Facebook ads. Facebook ads are the way to go, especially in this era of COVID and digital marketing and doing all the things online. Facebook ads are the answer. They’re the golden ticket. So, first of all, always, always, always, always be leery of the shoulds in the must in your travel business. So this is my upfront disclaimer. What that often translates to is that a few advisors had killer success with Facebook ads and so we must all tried to copy and emulate that success. And I would like to throw my hands up first and ask you all to hit the pause button.

Hey, travel advisors, you are listening to the Travel Biz CEO podcast by Kinship Travel Academy. It’s not enough to just love travel. You need to have the appropriate business system, marketing strategies and mindset tuneups and coaching to make it in this business and step into the role of CEO. That’s why we focus on all three. We are Wendy, Ashley and Krystal, your host of Travel Biz CEO and the founders of Kinship Travel Academy. We are three travel advisors that saw a glaring need in the travel industry, the need to look at the whole advisor. Through our own travel business journeys we all join communities and signed up for courses and masterminds to help push us to the next level. And all of them ended up falling short of our expectations. That’s why we started Kinship Travel Academy, where we focus on the mind, body and soul or the marketing, business operations and mindset of a travel advisor. It’s a program for modern travel advisors created by modern travel advisors. Welcome to the next chapter of the travel industry.

Hey, Travel Biz CEO listeners, this is Krystal here and we are back for another episode of Travel Biz CEO where we focus on teaching you how to be the CEO of your travel business. My name is Krystal Eicher and I am one of the founders of Kinship Travel Academy, and I teach the marketing education in our membership program. And today I want to talk about Facebook ads and more specifically, what travel advisors need to have in place before they spend money on Facebook ads. A big buzz in the past few years amongst travel advisors was that you must be doing Facebook ads. Facebook ads are the way to go. Especially in this era of COVID and digital marketing and doing all the things online Facebook ads are the answer. They’re the golden ticket. So first of all, always, always, always, always be leery of the shoulds and the must in your travel business. So this is my upfront disclaimer, what that often translates to is that a few advisors had killer success with Facebook ads and so we must all try to copy and emulate that success. And I would like to throw my hands up first and ask you all to hit the pause button. Now you might be asking yourself, hey, Krystal, aren’t you a marketing strategist? To which I say yes, and Krystal? Don’t you run Facebook ads? To which I say yes. Are Facebook ads a solid marketing strategy? Yes. In fact, we teach it in our Kinship CEO membership. We teach KTA members how to run Facebook ads. I think that they can be a wildly successful strategy. I think that there’s so much potential in the medium, even with all of the iOS changes that have happened. And I know there are more coming up. And we talk about this a lot in our membership program, how to stay on top of that. And there’s a ton of other podcasts and information out there on that so I’m not going to dive into that today. But even with all of the changes with the privacy and the tracking, and everything else, Facebook ads can still be a very successful and a very important part of your strategy. But there are a few things I want you to keep in mind first. To start, you need to know what Facebook ads are and what they are not. So first of all, Facebook ads are not a silver bullet. You’ve listened to this podcast before. You know there is no such thing as a silver bullet. And if you’re really unsure about that, go back and listen to the episode called the silver bullet. Facebook ads are not a guarantee. And you know what? Facebook ads are not cheap. Especially right now. Facebook has reported that ad buys have gone up 47% in the last year, they’re not cheap, they take a certain amount of investment and they take a certain amount of minimum investment to convert and to do well, especially these days with all of the changes online. But what Facebook ads are is they are an accelerant. What do I mean by that? So I’d like for you to imagine a campfire. You got your marshmallows ready to go, you don’t have anything else because every other part of the smores sucks. You are gearing up for your fire. Facebook ads are the accelerant to the fire. They’re the gas you put on the fire, but you need to need a few other things for your fire to work. First, you need the right environment conditions need to be set, you need to have the right logs, your logs need to be primed and ready to go. Wind conditions need to be right. Second, you need a spark. You need the converting offer, you need to know what the endgame is because otherwise, when you pour gas onto your logs, you just have wet logs that’s it nothing else. You need to have that spark, you need to have the converting offer that irresistible free offer that freebie that lead magnet in place. You need to know what this strategy is and what the endgame is. Facebook ads are an accelerant. They help you get there faster, you can start a fire without an accelerant, you can start a fire without adding other things on to your log. But we all know that you can have a bigger fire, you can have things go for longer if you add the accelerant to the fire. That’s what Facebook ads are, they help you get there faster. They help you grow and scale your audience faster, they help you increase your reach, increase your circle and increase your list. The second thing you need in place is you need to know who your ideal client is. This is so important for so many reasons, you guys, and we come back to this over and over and over again. And so if you’ve listened to this podcast before, I know that you’ve heard this before, but I’m going to say it again, you need to know who your ideal client is. You know that we teach the importance of niching and identifying your ideal person. And when you do so you need to focus on the traveler and not the style of travel. For example, don’t declare yourself just a luxury specialist. Specialize in people that value luxury accommodations, at that certain price point who likes slow travel and exclusive experiences that are culinary and wine based whatever that might be. Don’t be a group’s travel specialist, I don’t know what that means. Instead, you specialize in multi generational beach vacations. For families with small children or you work with grandparents that want to take their kids and their grandkids on a vacation. You get the idea. Knowing who your ideal client is, knowing exactly who that person is that you’re talking to helps you one create content specifically for your person. And two, it helps you target them appropriately. Why is that important? Because if you spend money on ads, you want to make sure that you are spending money to attract the right people. Remember that 47% increase in ad buys I just talked about? It costs more money these days to convert your audience. But if your offers and your content aren’t in alignment with your audience, or even worse, they’re too general, they pick up a wide net of people, and then your conversion rates are down. If you’re spending money on ads, you want to make sure that you’re spending money to attract the right people. But if your content or your offer is not in alignment with the right audience, you’re either attracting the wrong people, or your conversion rates are down and don’t look great down the line in your customer journey. And that doesn’t work out very well either. Likewise, when you were setting up your ad sets, in your ad manager account, your business manager account with custom audiences, which you’re going to set up usually starting out because you don’t have enough people to create lookalike audiences, or other cold audiences from your existing list, you’re going to want to be able to target them appropriately. And the most effective targeting metrics aren’t from the demographics. A lot of people spend a lot of time in the ad set level, creating custom audiences. And they’ll put, you know, top 1% of earners for these zip codes and live in a certain house and things like that. And I will tell you guys right now use the psychographics. If you want to be able to target them appropriately, the most effective targeting tools you have are from using the psychographics of your person. But if you don’t know what that is, then you will always be falling short. So the third thing is you need to know what your strategy is. When travel advisors come up to me and they say, hey, Krystal, I think I’m ready to start running ads. I will ask them why? Why do you want to run ads? What is the endgame? What is it that you’re trying to do? Is it to grow your list? And by that I mean your email list. Is it to grow your Facebook group? And this is my friendly reminder disclaimer that you can’t run ads directly to promoting a Facebook group but there is a strategy and using ads here. Basically, what are you trying to do? Are you trying to sell a group trip? Sell a room block? Are you promoting your services? Is it to create brand awareness? Is it to grow your social media presence? Is it to drive traffic to your website or your blog post? The sky’s the limit here, there are so many cool things that you can do with ads. You can run ads to landing pages to set up calls, there’s workshops that you can do, there’s all kinds of things that we can do online, so many cool things. But knowing this helps you adequately one, set your budgets. Two, you can set goals. And then three, you know how to measure whether or not you’re successful. When we teach how to run Facebook ads in KTA we don’t start with the ads. We start with the strategy and laying the foundations in your marketing so that when you do run ads, you aren’t blowing money into the wind. I think this is equivalent to when Facebook pops up the Do you want to boost this post and reach more people? Well, I mean, you sure you can do that. And that’s a great way to get your content out in front of more people, and especially on Facebook these days, it is a pay to play a world. But what’s the strategy there? What’s the point, so they see your posts Is there a clear call to action to that post? Does that invite them to the next level? Is there a next step? We never want to just throw spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks. We want to be deliberate and strategic with our ad spends even if we’re only doing $2 a day. Then when we do run ads, we teach a lot of our members to run ads primarily to list build. It really comes down to budgets. The average cost per lead for customers is anywhere from $6 to $10. I’ve heard travel advisors getting their cost per lead for significantly last. And when I was running ads for Serendipitous Traveler I was getting leads for $1 to $2 a lead. So that’s just for a lead. A sale can be much higher per conversion. And it’s incredibly hard to quantify a cost per customer acquisition because travel advisors across the board work with such a wide range of budgets and travelers. And the final sale doesn’t equate to dollars earned. So for example, a client spend might be $10,000 on vacation, but you might only make $968 in commission. And of that maybe, because you’re hosted, your split is only $775 of that trip. So can you run ads straight to selling a $10,000 vacation? Sure. But I guarantee you, you’re going to outspend your earnings, because that’s an incredibly hard conversion online. What you can do is spend money on ads to get them on your email list and invite them to continue the conversation at an in person event or online or in a group or social media. Your conversions come in the time it takes to build and know, like and trust in those spaces. It comes in the relationship building process part of the funnel. It’s a long game, but if you know the strategy, you know how to adequately set up your ads. You know where you’re trying to convert them. You know, the big picture of what you’re trying to do. Basically, you know where your ads fit into that overall strategy. The accelerant, remember, so before you go out and spend a ton of money on ads, I want you to set up your foundations first. Of course, we teach the foundations and the mechanics of setting up your ads to where our Kinship Travel CEO members and there’s a link in the show notes if you’d like more information on that program. But whether or not you join our membership to learn from us, because there’s a lot of different teaching styles out there, I want you to remember this, you need to know what Facebook ads are and aren’t. You need to know and understand that they are an accelerant to whatever it is you’re working. So if you don’t have something working already, you need to figure out the mechanics of that first. Two, you need to know who your ideal client is. Who your audience is. Who you’re talking to, so you can target them appropriately. And then three, you need to know and understand what that big strategy is and how your, that acceleratn, how those ads fit into that strategy. I always like to tell people if you can map out your customer journey from start to finish, where could you throw accelerants on the process? Is it on your email list? Is it on the relationship building part because then you might want to run ads to brand awareness. You might want to run ads for brand awareness purposes. So engagement ads, get your social media out front of more people. Maybe it comes from your email list, which I would imagine it’s a really good amount of you. So then it’s to help grow and increase that list and then increase conversions, down the line. Whatever it is no more blindly spending money. You guys, we want to know and we want to be purposeful and strategic when it comes to our marketing strategies. And, again, that’s why I always come back to asking agents why? Why do you want to spend on ads? What is the purpose? What is the strategy here? How does it fit in? And it’s not because I’m challenging you or because I think that Facebook ads are a bad idea. In fact, if you know, me at all, I’m a huge fan of Facebook ads and using them strategically in your business. I think there’s just a crazy amount of potential to work in that space and in that medium to effectively grow and scale your business, especially in the travel industry. But you have to be smart about it. And so many advisors, I watch run ads, without effectively having these foundations in place. But now that you’ve listened to this podcast, you won’t be one of them. Until next week, we’ll catch you guys later. Have a good one. Bye.

Hey, guys, thanks for listening. We hope you got something great out of today’s episode. If you were wondering where you are out of balance in your travel business take our free quiz at KinshipTravelAcademy.com/quiz to find out and receive free resources to help bring you into alignment in your travel business. And if you enjoyed today’s episode, take a screenshot and share it on social media. Be sure to tag us at Kinship Travel Academy or #TravelBizCEO. Also, if you loved us, don’t forget to leave a review and be sure to hit subscribe. Here’s to you, see you at the next level.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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Travel Biz CEO: What Travel Advisors Can Learn From Fred Rogers

 

 

What Travel Advisors Can Learn From Fred Rogers

 

This week on the Travel Biz CEO Podcast, Krystal expands on a blog post written last year where she made connections to the podcast Finding Fred and what travel advisors can learn from the iconic television show host.

 

Mostly, advisors need to lean into learning about their ideal client. And they need to go all in.

Every travel advisor should know the answer to the following:

  • What is their ideal vacation?
  • What budgets are they comfortable working in?
  • What do they worry about as it pertains to travel?
  • What are their top concerns as it pertains to their personal life?
  • What makes working with you worth it?
  • What do they love most about travel? What does it do for them personally, professionally, spiritually?
  • What makes them tick?
  • What makes them decide to travel?
  • What makes them happy on vacation?
  • What makes them relaxed?
  • What is the minimum amount of time they have to be gone to feel good about vacation?
  • What are their top concerns while traveling?
  • Who do they travel with?
  • What do they like to do when they get there?
  • Do they worry about perceptions while traveling?
  • What are their political leanings?
  • Are they concerned about climate change?
  • Are they concerned with social justice?

 

And that’s just a start!

 

Tune in next week for more about running your business like a CEO!

 

 

 

Transcript of What Travel Advisors Can Learn From Fred Rogers below:
Krystal Eicher 0:00
Naturally, when the podcast Finding Fred came out, I teed it up right away. And this was earlier last year. And I have since relistened to it several times. It’s insightful. It’s nostalgic. And it’s an incredibly captivating podcast that dives into all kinds of issues around race and education and emotions and just all of the things. And I keep coming back to the travel industry every time I listen, because all of these years later, I’m still learning a thing or two about life from Mr. Rogers, and I’m excited to be able to share some of those lessons with you today.

Hey, travel advisors, you are listening to the Travel Biz CEO podcast by Kinship Travel Academy. It’s not enough to just love travel, you need to have the appropriate business system, marketing strategies and mindset tuneups and coaching to make it in this business and step into the role of CEO. That’s why we focus on all three. We are Wendy, Ashley and Krystal, your host of Travel Biz CEO and the founders of Kinship Travel Academy. We are three travel advisors that saw a glaring need in the travel industry, the need to look at the full advisor. Through our own travel business journeys we all joined communities and signed up for courses and masterminds to help push us to the next level. And all of them ended up falling short of our expectations. That’s why we started Kinship Travel Academy, where we focused on the mind, body and soul for the marketing, business operations and mindset of the travel advisor. It’s a program for modern travel advisors created by modern travel advisors. Welcome to the next chapter of the travel industry.

Hey, travel this CEO listeners My name is Krystal Eicher and I am one of the founders of Kinship Travel Academy, as well as the lead marketing educator of that lovely group of ladies. And today I’m popping in here to talk to you about Fred Rogers. You remember Fred Rogers, right, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, you know, red sweater, soft voice, ? legend Not to be confused with Tom Hanks playing Mr. Rogers later in life. Yeah, that’s the guy I’m here to talk about today.

And all of these up years later, I really still think he’s teaching us a thing or two. And I want to take a quick sidebar and just note about my own personal connection with Fred Rogers and more specifically, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. A lot of you may or may not know I have a daughter with special needs. And before she could talk in three word sentences, she could sing, she could sing the entire song of Yellow Submarine before she could speak in three word sentences. It was amazing. And so the cool thing about Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, and what later was developed into Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, which was a cartoon for kids based off of his series, was all of the lessons that he taught about emotional control. It was like a personal little mini life coach for my kid. And it gave me the language to communicate with her. And so again, before she could communicate really well about how she was feeling, she could sing the songs back to me when you’re feeling mad and you want to roar, take a deep breath and count to four, and so on and so forth. So, naturally, when the podcast finding Fred came out, I teed it up right away, and this was earlier last year. And I have since relistened to it several times. It’s insightful. It’s nostalgic. And it’s an incredibly captivating podcast that dives into all kinds of issues around race and education and emotions, and just all of the things. And I keep coming back to the travel industry every time I listened. Because all of these years later, I’m still learning a thing or two about life from Mr. Rogers. And I’m excited to be able to share some of those lessons with you today. So lesson number one, he knew his audience. Fred Rogers knew his audience inside and out his audience, his ideal client, his person, was children, young children and he spoke directly to them, not to their parents, not about them or over them, he spoke to them. Who do you speak to in your marketing? When you write emails and newsletters and your social media posts Do you speak to a large audience? Do you generalize your content? Do you speak to the masses and just hope that someone is listening? Can you picture them when you’re writing? Can you see them? Do you even speak to them at all? Most travel advisors niche to a style of travel, they declare themselves a luxury travel agent or cruise specialist or group specialist. And they know nothing and think nothing about the actual traveler. I want you to flip the switch a little and you’ll start to see large strides in your marketing efforts. If you can nail down your ideal client and create content that speaks only to them you were going to go so much further, okay. Lesson two, he made his audience feel special. When Fred spoke to the camera he made you feel like he was speaking directly to you. His content and message was so on point that children never considered that he was speaking to a mass audience, or that he had any other agenda. When Fred Rogers spoke to his audience, he consistently reminded them of how special they are. In fact, he ended his program every day by telling children, you are special. Daniel Tiger did the same thing. I like you just the way you are. Making your clients feel special doesn’t always mean an elaborate gift or an expensive bottle of champagne. Although sometimes that doesn’t hurt, right? Sometimes it’s as simple as remembering a birthday or an anniversary, sending an email welcoming them home, asking them how their trip was, asking them what was the best part. At the end of the day, people will rarely remember what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel. And we often don’t think of these steps as part of a marketing process. You guys, I promise it is because a lot of our marketing efforts come from referrals from other people. And this is part of that referral process, reaching out after the trip, and reminding them if they know of anybody that’s looking to travel to send them your way. If they know anybody who’s looking for the experiences that they had, don’t forget to mention you. Right? When you systemize your client care process, you can make clients feel special just by being a friendly voice on the other end of the line. It’s personalized care, that sets you head and shoulders above other travel agents. Don’t lose that special sauce. So lesson number three, his intentions were never to influence or sell his intentions were to cause his audience to feel something. All right? Mr. Rogers never tried to sell us a stuffed Daniel Tiger. He didn’t try to promote sponsors or other advertisers, they were a big part of the game, okay. But he spoke directly to the pain points of his ideal client the pain points of children every week, without any mention of a sale. Yet, I don’t know about any other parents in the audience, we have so much Daniel Tiger toys and stuff from when my kids were little, it’s not even funny. The products sold themselves. Now, you might think that it’s easier to do this as a television host, than a travel advisor, but is it really? The most effective content you can create for your audience. It’s content that inspires them and that speaks directly to their pain points and objections. Your audience should be able to see pictures and imagine them in that setting. Your content should reflect people that look like your ideal client. Hello diversity in your content creation. And it should speak to them in such a way that when they read or hear it, they nod along and say Yes, exactly. That is exactly how I feel. And then your product is the solution to those pain points. Okay. When it does, it’s going to invoke a connection between the client and you building know like and trust, unlike any thing else, focus more on again, the traveler more on the client less on the resort or promoting a big name cruise line or other things because those things will sell themselves. But really making the connection to how it solves the problems that your clients are facing and really speaking to the clients like multifaceted people goes so far. So I think we’re on number four, he understood his circle of influence, and he was intentional about the way he used it. Fred Rogers understood that he had a great responsibility regarding the content that he put out and what he promoted to children. He knew that he worked in a very influential medium, and he understood the responsibility of doing things just right to reach his end goal. He wasn’t creating content for the sake of creating it either. He had a strategy and an end goal to his mission. Effective successful travel advisors understand that they wield the same power and responsibility. They realize that they have control and funneling vacation dollars to companies that practice sustainable and responsible Tourism, that give back to the communities that we travel in. You guys, the suppliers that you partner with matter. They realize that there’s a social responsibility to advocate for in the travel business as it pertains to working with partners that advocates human rights, anti racism, and eco friendly practices. And you guys now more so than ever, that is so important. Social responsibility and travel responsibility matter. Climate change matters right now, especially to certain ideal clients and audiences. And I’m not saying that you should promote these things to pander to them. I’m saying that working collectively in the travel industry around all of these really tough issues, is really what is going to make us go further in the end. Okay, everyone wins. Five-

He was a lifelong learner, and understood that he didn’t have all of the answers. Fred Rogers had a process where he would create content ideas by speaking with children and parents and asking them what they worried about, and what did they think about. And then he would create an outline for a show and then he would consult with an early childhood development faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh to make sure he was talking through the right set of feelings, and incorporating appropriate coping mechanisms into his teaching. Then he made it his mission to normalize the conversation around those feelings so that young children felt safe and normalize all the feelings that they felt every day. And he did it in that order. He never asked the professors at the university what they felt kids should feel. He asked his audience first, he put himself in the shoes of his ideal clients who really understand how they thought and he never stopped asking questions. How many of y’all are starting with a supplier and going the other direction? Okay, it’s the same thing. You should never stop asking your audience and your clients questions. You should always work to understand and know their wants and needs. You should know if your ideal client is comfortable traveling during COVID. You should know what kind of activities they would like to do on vacation whether what their preferences are, what they worry about all of it, you should know how they feel about climate change. They should know how they feel about anti racism and how comfortable they’ll feel in certain countries that are accepting to LGBTQ if your client happens to be LBGTQ. And actually, even if your client does not, you want to make sure that they’re aware that how their stance on things matters. A lot of us like to think that, oh, it’s none my business, or no, it shouldn’t matter. But really delving into the psyche of your ideal client means delving into these hard questions. How do they feel about vaccinations? How do they feel about traveling during COVID? What’s their comfort level? How risk averse are they? You guys it matters? It just does. Are they vaccinated? Are they not? It’s asking these tough questions that help us navigate really tough hurdles later on. And the asking question parts, interviewing your clients, reaching out to your audience, running focus groups running surveys, this is all part of the process of being a business owner and making your business better. I always say that your business doesn’t need to really stand out head and shoulders much above everybody else, but just 5% better, just 5% better takes you really really far. Most travel advisors see a really bright, shiny travel opportunity and then they try to find a traveler to go with it. And they don’t ask the question about whether or not this is a good fit, or whether it’s a good fit for their ideal client. Okay, most advisors are even afraid to ask suppliers, my client is XYZ, are they a good fit for your tour, cruise, etc. And then even worse, most suppliers don’t know either. But asking those questions, making sure we are addressing the right concerns in an effective way makes us better advisors. Otherwise, we would still be booking agents which we shouldn’t strive to be anymore. There are so many great examples outside of our industry that can teach us how to be better, more effective marketers. Fred Rogers can teach us travel advisors a thing or two about reaching their ideal client, knowing who they are, speaking directly to them, acknowledging their feelings and pain points and dedicated to become lifelong learners of our audience will make us head and shoulders more successful than the average advisor. And at the end, that’s just the little bit of edge that’s going to help you rise above the noise. That’s all for this week. You guys really short and sweet if you have not checked out the Finding Fred the podcast. We’re gonna link in the show notes because it’s fantastic. And I want to know, let’s continue the conversation and travel agent training and mentorship Facebook group. What do you guys Think about Fred Rogers, what do you think of when you think of Fred Rogers, and when you think about how he spoke to children, how he spoke to his ideal client, how he created decade’s worth of content, and really drove into the same things over and over again. And you know, here’s the other thing. Bonus Tip, Fred Rogers never shied away from repurposing content because he knew his ideal client needed to hear it over and over and over again. And at the end of the day, that’s all we are trying to do. We are trying to answer a problem that someone else’s have and the solution is not just travel, but our certain brand, and style of travel. Whether that be Disney for adults, an amazing family vacation to Universal, an all inclusive girls weekend in Mexico, a luxury vacation in Italy, or a super adventure caving adventure in Thailand. Okay, your style is the solution, your brand is a solution to a very specific and unique set of problems that your client has. And I’d like you to think about approaching your travel business in maybe just a slightly different way.

That’s it for this week. You guys have a great week, and we’ll catch you next time. Bye. Hey, guys, thanks for listening. We hope you got something great out of today’s episode. If you were wondering where you are out of balance in your travel business take our free quiz at Kinship Travel academy.com backslash quiz to find out and receive free resources to help bring you into alignment in your travel business. And if you enjoyed today’s episode, take a screenshot and share it on social media. Be sure to tag us at Kinship Travel Academy or #TravelBizCEO. Also, if you loved us, don’t forget to leave a review and be sure to hit subscribe. Here’s to you. See you at the next level.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Business of Travel, Podcast, Travel Agent Education

Travel Biz CEO Podcast: Part 3: Bringing on Independent Contractors with Ashley Metesh-McCoy

Welcome back to Travel Biz CEO. This week is the final segment of our 3 part series on bringing on IC’s, or independent contractors, into your travel business.  In Part 1 we were joined by Denise Lorentzen of Dreams Travel Consulting, where we dug into the the path that led Denise to bringing on IC’s. We got into who this is a good business model for, who it isn’t for and what makes people like Denise thrive in this role.

In Part 2 we were joined by Michele Schwartz of Making Memories Travel. Also a KTA member, Michele has a unique style of bringing on IC’s to her team. We had the opportunity to learn about Michele’s business model, why she brought on IC’s and what has made her successful so far.

In Part 3, our very own Ashley Metesh-McCoy of Kinship Vacations and Kinship Travel Academy talks about her experience winning the 2019 ASTA Entrepreneur of the Year Award for her education program developed for her IC’s at Kinship Vacations. She talks about how she set up her mentorship and training program, who she set out to serve, what made Kinship Vacations unique, and what parts of that she carries over to Kinship Travel Academy.

For your convenience we have included the transcript of today’s episode below. Enjoy!

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
Hello, everyone, welcome back to the Travel Biz CEO podcast, brought to you by Kinship Travel Academy. I’m Ashley Metesh-McCoy, one of the co founders, one of the triumvirate of KTA. I am coming to you from California. I am here today to toot my horn

No, just joking. For those of you who don’t know, I was the ASTA Entrepreneur of the Year for 2019. Which if you’re not familiar, ASTA is the American Society for travel agents. And if you are not a member, I highly recommend you join because they are the front line lobbying organization, essentially, that is who is responsible for making things better for us as agents, especially to wetter weather. The storm that has happened since COVID. They’ve been fighting the good fight to make sure that the travel industry was represented, represented throughout this entire last almost two years, my goodness. And they are responsible for doing things like getting an exemption for California agents in Gosh, was at 2019, I believe, when a proposition was put forward on the ballots that would have completely eliminated the ability for independent contractors to operate in California. Travel agents got the exception to that new law. And so travel agents were able to continue operating as independent contractors in California, I would say largely in part because of ASTA and then on top of that they’re an educational organization. They have an amazing global convention every year. They do destination expos. So here’s my little pitch for ASTA. Check it out. asta.org. Don’t wait another minute and join.

In 2019, I won their Entrepreneur of the Year award. And what that is, is, I think yearly since 2016, or 2015. They’ve been holding a competition to to nominate a person in the travel industry that exemplifies entrepreneurial excellence, I guess. And my mentor from when I first started the as a travel agent, Meredith hill from GTN Global Institute for travel entrepreneurs and won it in I believe it was 2016 2017. I’m not sure she wanted one of the I think the first year they had the competition. So immediately, I learned about it just because my mentor had won the i don’t know i don’t want to call it a competition, won the honor of being distinguished the Entrepreneur of the Year and she wanted for her revolutionary program, the Global Institute for travel entrepreneurs. That was a new concept to the industry. It was a membership program that provided training, mentorship, education in areas, specifically marketing mindset, and just hadn’t been done yet. in the industry. So she was recognized for her innovative approach to education and Global Institute, the Global Institute for travel entrepreneurs that wasn’t affiliated with a host agency at the time. Now they have a sister organization, that gifted travel network. But yeah, it was just a revolutionary concept. And I would say now many organizations, including my own Kinship, Travel Academy have popped up emulating that same concept in prioritizing, prioritizing educating and training of agents in the industry. And so anyway, back to the whole subject. At a certain point, I think it was 2017 2018. They started creating a contest basically for this award. And you’d have to submit a pitch. And then you would do a shark tank like pitch at the global convention in front of all the attendees to see who won who won the honor to be the entrepreneur that year and in 2019 I entered and I’ll be totally honest about the process. I was not selected but I was selected as a backup

of the top three And at some point, I was notified that somebody had fallen out of the competition for whatever reason, they didn’t say why or who. And that I was invited to come to the global convention and pitch, my presentation and my whole presentation surrounded on the program that I created at my now host agency, kinship, vacations. That was all about training and mentoring new agents in the industry, specifically, military spouses and veterans, because that’s the background I come from and starting their own business, a business that they can take anywhere the military sends them. And so I went to the competition. And I pitched you get three minutes to pitch is really hard, believe me. And lo and behold, I won. And it was just a crazy honor. And I was very excited. I encourage you all who are listening to apply for it and compete. It’s a really cool experience. And so that’s the long story. Not shortened too much. But so I was the winner of that. And that was really exciting. And people asked me how, why I wanted all that fun stuff. And I guess I’d like to answer that because I get this question a lot. And so basically, the whole point of this podcast again, Institute, sorry, listeners know, just to kind of describe the program and tell you why I won that amazing award and had that amazing experience. And it also will inform you a little bit about the educational philosophy we have at Kinship Travel Academy, because I’ve definitely carried that same approach from, you know, my days that kinship vacations to Kinship Travel Academy. And so just to back up a little bit, I started kinship vacations as a solopreneur. Doing trips for families, couples groups, in I would call it experiential, culturally immersive, fit type trips. And then after a certain point, me being a military spouse, my husband is still active duty army, I realize that this is an amazing opportunity. This career field was an amazing opportunity for other military spouses. The reason I started my travel business in the first place was post army, I was an army officer, post MBA, got my MBA at George Washington University, and then post corporate career I worked at Carnival Corporation. My husband was getting stationed at a new duty station that didn’t really have the type of corporate jobs that would have been

equal or on par to what I had been working in sort of had to take a step down in my career trajectory, to keep working, or I had the opportunity to start my own business. And while at Carnival Corporation, I was brought aware of how travel agents are still alive and fries thriving and successful. And so that inspired me to start my own travel agency. And like I mentioned before, I joined the Global Institute for travel entrepreneur community, joined the gifted travel network as a host agency, and I dove right into the education, training and mentorship of it so that I would be starting off on the right foot. So I, I started my own job, because are my own business because we move every two to three years as a military family, and we have to pick up and start all over again. And that means job fairs, networking, applications, interviews, denial, denial, denial. And it’s just a demoralizing process, like I said, and I wanted to have some control some element of control over my life. And I thought this would be a really cool adventure to start. And as I was in, you know, a few years into it, seeing some success, and realizing this could be very easily replicated for other military spouses, military spouses live all over the world with their servicemembers. So we have this innate or acquired travel knowledge, we get to live places like Hawaii, Germany, Japan, Italy. So we already have this wanderlust this sense of adventure travel knowledge and experience, and we need portable jobs. At the time that I started this, the military spouse unemployment statistic was roughly 26%. And the national average was around 4%. And as a group, military spouses are more likely to be educated in some form of post secondary education. And the higher the education and career experience level the more times They experience periods of unemployment, because we get stationed in random places like no offense to anybody from Kansas. But maybe you go from starting career in Los Angeles to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and you can’t necessarily keep on that, you know, events career that you started, hey crystal talking about you while you’re listening, that you started in LA, the same way you could at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, I think you all get my drift. The point being, there’s a crisis, military spouses need employment. And one way to solve this is to start a travel business. And so that’s begun my travel agent training and mentorship program for military spouses and veterans at kinship vacations. And I knew I needed to do this right, I needed to do a service to my fellow American military spouses and veterans and get them off on the right foot in the industry, like I had been given the right foot. And so I developed a very structured program, that combined training, mentorship, and a full business suite of business systems so that whoever joined, if they had absolutely no experience could come in with a fully developed, you know, core of business systems, plus structured training and education, and mentorship, so that they could just hit the ground running, learn the mechanics of being a travel agent, and not necessarily have to worry about all of the nug stuff that we have to do as entrepreneurs like getting a business phone and a website and email. And so just to briefly overview, the program I had at kinship vacations, the training aspect was a combination of utilizing third party travel agent, training courses at the time, I use the gifted travel networks travel MBA program, and I supplemented it monthly with my own internal training sessions, on things that they weren’t teaching there at GTN. So you know, one month I would do very

detailed training on how to how to use travel joy, how we use it, the kinship, vacation standard way with our templates, our tasks, lists, and our procedures using our slps our manuals that we have at kinship vacations, or maybe I would do a travel fi class explaining the kinship, vacation standard of itinerary display, and management with travel fi or I would do a specific class on client consultations. So I supplemented third party training with what I thought was, you know, special to what we did at kinship vacations on a monthly basis. And then the additional aspect to that was mentorship, which we would have weekly, sometimes bi weekly, coaching calls where we’d all hop on zoom, and it was an opportunity for my agents to ask me any questions. And that’s where most of the magic happened all the time. And, you know, when you have a group of people joining a coaching call, there’s always going to be people who are quiet and don’t ask questions. So often there’s going to be people who are always asking questions, and inevitably, the quiet people will learn from the other people who are asking questions, and by listening to other people ask questions, you might realize, Oh, yeah, I had a question. So basically, what I’m trying to say is, some of the best learning opportunities that happen for my agents happened during those coaching calls. And a lot of it was just the collaboration we had with each other. And then over time, we developed a mentor, a fully fledged mentor program. So the more successful agents and the more adept agents took official mentor positions and would teach on specific subjects. For example, at one point, Dina farmer who I’m immensely proud of, and is an independent agent now out there on her own. She is super adept at Instagram. So we would have her help teach us Instagram techniques and strategies. Same thing, she used to be a photographer, so she teach us photo tips and tricks. And the same with crystal who is now my business partner, she’s just really great at marketing strategy. So she would talk all kinds of marketing strategy all day. And then of course, I’m a business operations person. So I would, you know, focus a lot on that. And then just general travel agent stuff. So the nice thing about the model was, you got peer to peer assistance. You got to experience knowledge from people who are really passionate and really expert in their fields. And it wasn’t just me imparting all of my you know, what I know which is admittedly only a fraction of what there is to know in this industry, because I’m learning learning something new every day. And then the third aspect of kinship, travel or kinship vacations was the business systems. Like I mentioned before, I had a set of proprietary tasks, lists, templates, things like that in travel joy, that was basically the kinship vacation standards. And so they would just step into that and have those already set. I would have a phone number for them and email, a website landing page. Of course, you know, insurance, all that fun stuff. So they didn’t have to worry about a lot of the nuts and bolts that you have to worry about when you’re starting a business. So bottom line was, I came to this new business model of mine being an host agency and having subcontractors with a mindset of wanting to help the community that I’m from that I’m genuinely connected to.

But I did it very deliberately, I sought out specific business coaching, from the ladies that get to travel network. And, you know, specifically Jen Cochran, on you know how to set my business up to make it be ready to take on ICS because there’s a lot of stuff you need to do before you do that. And I developed a training program, I developed a plan. And then the way that I was able to get people to join me was I would host regular virtual summits about getting started in the travel industry. And I was really fortunate to have built a supportive community in the industry where I would have friends and colleagues, who would join me in the summit’s to provide their support their experience, many of whom are also military spouses or veterans. And the summit’s were free. And people would join them and just sort of be welcomed into this new community of becoming a travel agent, and learn more about what they needed to do. So whether people signed up with my agency or not, I was still providing them a service of getting them on the right foot, where to start looking how to do your research, how to get started in the travel industry, especially from the standpoint of being a military spouse or veteran. So all that being said, and the reason I’m telling you about this is of course number one people asked me how I one. So I mean, that was the reason I developed a really great program. And I have to remind myself, that it’s not just I developed a great program, but I was super passionate about the people I was serving. And I’m saying this because I’m not sure when this podcast is going to air but either before or after this podcast, we’re going to do one or two podcast episodes where I interview other quote unquote queen bees in the industry who have sub agents, Denise Lorenson, and Michelle Schwartz, about their experiences, bringing on sub agents and having you know, a host agency model, essentially, the common thread when I talk to these people is you need to have the desire to mentor and to give back and to provide service. Because once you decide to take on sub agents, and that becomes a huge portion of your time, you can’t just bring somebody on and not devote any time to training or mentoring them. Even if they’re experienced agents, you have to expose them and get them understanding your agency’s standards, your agency’s way of doing things. And then of course, if they’re new to the industry, they just don’t know what they don’t know. And so it’s important that you have training and education and mentorship opportunities set up and established before you bring them on. Because if you’re trying to reinvent or trying to fly by the seat of your pants with new people, and the more people you bring on, the more complicated it gets. It’s very hard. And so the point hit here is what I keep saying is it’s not an easy business model to run. It’s not a get rich, quick scheme. You need to have a genuine desire to do it. And you need to have the skill set to do it. And so, you know, what skill set is that it’s mentorship, it’s training, it’s education. And then of course, the desire is why why would you want to do this, and there’s so many different reasons to do it. But if you don’t, if you’re not a people person, and you don’t want to take any time to train people, it’s not going to work for you. And, you know, to be perfectly frank, I know that there are models out there where the host agencies don’t charge for their independent contractors. A host agency fee And to me, I gave so much to my sub agents, I had to charge a fee, I had to justify the time I was devoting by charging them a fee, because I was giving them a quality education, so much of my time, and expertise. And so I really want you to consider that too, as you embark on this journey. If you know, number one, do I want to mentor people? Do I want to take that time and number two, what is my time worth? I need to be adequately compensated for this. And not to mention that but every time you add somebody on, you know, it seems nominal, but your overhead does increase. And so in order to be able to

afford the overhead that occurs, the increase in overhead, you need to charge people. And that’s sort of the nature of the independent contractor agreement to and you have to be very careful about delineating that. Especially in a place like California, where they’re very strict about independent contractors versus employees, there can be any question that you’re, you know, your sub agent is an independent contractor versus an employee. And one way to make that distinction is to show that they’re paying you for whatever service that you’re providing. If it’s totally free, that’s a little bit more, let’s just say it’s a little bit more of a gray area. So again, I’m not an attorney, I’m not an accountant. So talk to your professionals about that. I mean, I feel like I’m sort of rambling on here. But these one or two episodes where we’re talking about this concept of having a queen bee model and IC model, whatever you want to call it, they’re all related. And so, you know, aside from people asking me about the ASTA award, you know, I get a lot of people coming to me asking me for advice on how to bring on sub agents, and how to do that. And one of the reasons I decided to interview Denise and Michelle specifically is that I suspected they’ve had the same experience. And one of the most common things that happens when agents come to me for advice, saying I want to bring on sub agents is that they’re mostly looking forward to this new business model evolution, because they think they’re going to make a lot of money on their residuals from the sub agents Commission’s which can very well happen. But I’ll tell you, it doesn’t happen right away. And number one, number one, number two, I can’t count. It’s, you’re gonna have to invest some time and effort into getting those sub agents into that. And so it can’t just be about the money. If you ask, you also have to have the desire, the passion, the skills, and then you have to set up your business to be able to adequately support and new structure of sub agents, paying commissions. And no insurance, sellers of travel, other fun stuff. So think about this process deliberately. I just want to end this particular episode, with something totally unrelated. But the question of how I won the s to Entrepreneur Award versus why I won the S entrepreneur, the award is there two different questions. And I think it’s an important thing to talk about, because I’ve thought about it a lot. And just bear with me. So I will fully admit I’m being totally honest with you guys. And you may hate me for being this honest, however you want to approach this. But the year before I won, I went to the Asda global convention. And I saw the three pitches. And I would say that two pitches were very business like very polished, very numbers driven, you know, and then one was very emotional and sweet. And I figured that this one woman who pitched was just gonna win, she just blew me away with her business acumen and her numbers and just her professionalism and her prior successes, I thought for sure she was going to win. And there’s a heavy waiting for the award based on the audience’s vote versus the panel of judges. And the one who won was the very emotional, very sweet story, not the hardcore business story. And you guys can easily look up who this is, and I’m super happy for the woman who won because I love her story. I think it’s super sweet. I’m just totally being honest. I was surprised. And so what I realized was that audience voted based upon emotions. And, to me, that was an important lesson because, you know, as I was getting ready to apply for the award, and to be perfectly honest, it was, you know, my intention was to know Number one, get the prize money, it was $10,000. And number two to increase exposure to my program.

In my head, as I was preparing my pitch, I thought, you know what, I know my audience here. And they’re going to be more swayed by emotion than financial statistics, and all that other fun stuff. And so I built my pitch around the true personal stories of the people on my team, and I highlighted, you know, their, their stories in my pitch. And they are really inspiring stories. You know, two of my sub agents had children with special needs and needed to be able to be at home, flexibly, flex flex, is that a word, they needed to have a flexible work situation, so that they could take their children to all kinds of therapy and medical appointments. And of course, with the whole moving with the military, you need that flexibility to, um, and so I played on the, I hate to say, played on, I highlighted the emotional impacts of what I was doing. The, you know, 20 military spouses that I had impacted to that point, the statistics of military spouse unemployment, and how I was trying to make a change. And the thing about it is, I wasn’t trying to be manipulative. I was totally genuine, like, those things matter to me. Those are the reasons I got, you know, started this. Those are the reasons I keep doing it. And those are the reasons I get up every day to help those people. But I knew it wasn’t going to be impactful if I just stood up there and talked about profit growth and revenue growth and, you know, super detailed information about my program, I talked about the impact of the program, and the stories of the people that it was affecting. And the other two people that pitched against me, were super business driven. I saw definitely questions, my ability to even speak on the stage because I had learned backstage beforehand that both of those people that I was pitching with had been on the real Shark Tank on TV for their businesses, and I was like, oh, man, this isn’t gonna bode well for me. And they were fantastic. Like, their business ideas are so cool. Their presentations were just like on point, you know, it was a real business presentation here, I come with my, you know, emotionally charged story. And I won, because the audience overwhelmingly voted for me. And so the whole point of me telling you, this is number one, when you’re a marketer, knowing your audience. And number two, when you know your audience, and you’re trying to pitch your idea or sell your idea, however you want to put it, it’s okay to use emotion, but don’t be manipulative. And the only reason I say that is because I knew I was going in this using emotion. But I also can 100% confidently say, what I said was totally genuine. And the reason I say that this is important is the audience would have known, they would have seen right through me if I wasn’t being genuine, if I was trying to use their emotions, to manipulate them. But I believe in what I’m doing, I believe in what I say. And I know my audience in what they are going to resonate with. And so as a marketer, when you’re out there, if you’re passionate about what you’re doing in your travel business, and you know who your ideal client is, and you can match your messaging up with those two things in mind. You’re going to win, it’s going to be magnetic. So two totally different stories, lots of different stuff in this episode. Thanks for hanging with me. If you listen to this whole thing, and I am around I might ktva for anybody who needs help with the ice queen bee strategy. I am partnering with two brilliant minds. Wendy Livingston Guth, Crystal Iker crystal Iker, who I found through my host agency, she was looking to start a travel career and found kinship vacations. She started as my sub agent and I quickly realized that she was just fire and over time, it’s evolved to a partnership and, you know, I bounce stuff off with her all the time. You just never know where people are gonna come from. Wendy I immediately bonded with because she’s also military spouse. So lots of different connections here in this episode, even though it’s all over the place. I appreciate you listening. Please join Kga because the three of us Not only have we lived some life as military people, you know,

we’ve got a lot to offer in terms of our expertise and we don’t all have to when asked to Entrepreneur of the Year awards to prove it. Wendy is a brilliant certified life coach. Krystal is a brilliant marketer. Come join us be a part of our community, and we will lift you up as much as we are able. So thanks again for listening. And don’t forget to join Asda by the way

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

 

Business of Travel, Podcast, Travel Business CEO

Travel Biz CEO: Part 2: Bringing on IC’s with Michele Schwartz

Part 2: Bringing on IC’s with Michele Schwartz

Welcome back to Travel Biz CEO. This week is Part 2 of our 3 part series on bringing on IC’s into your travel business.  Last week we were joined by Denise Lorentzen of Dreams Travel Consulting, where we dug into the the path that led Denise to bringing on IC’s. We got into who this is a good business model for, who it isn’t for and what makes people like Denise thrive in this role. 

Same questions, same topic, but very different business model and approach, this week we are joined by Michele Schwartz of Making Memories Travel. Also a KTA member, Michele has a unique style of bringing on IC’s to her team. So enjoy this part 2 episode of bringing on IC’s to your travel business. 

Michele Schwartz is the Founder & OG of Makin’ Memories Travel Co.  Makin’ Memories Travel is a bespoke agency based in Austin which specializes in creating Disney travel experiences for adults.  For her #2020Pivot she started The First Class Blogging Academy to help travel agents (she used the word agent on purpose for that SEO juice) uplevel their websites and showcasing their expertise by creating weekly original content.    

Before founding her travel business, Michele was in the Austin events industry and based on her wedding blog was known as the world’s best authority on Jewish life-cycle events.  She built the blog, “The Modern Jewish Wedding,” to be an international source of inspiration and education for Jewish couples and event planners alike.  She retired from event planning and sold her blog after serving as the President of the Austin Chapter of the National Association of Events & Catering, to pursue her dream of a #wanderlust lifestyle.  

Michele’s love of travel began at a very young age when she hiked across the Continental Divide (well she was carried) at the age of three.  She went on to work at Walt Disney World as a cast member for several years before coming home to Texas.  

She has a bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Austin in Communications and studied for her Master’s at the UT School of Social Work.  She is a second mom to 2 great humans and 1 adorable puppy.  Her current claim to fame: despite the pandemic, a distaste for roller coasters and a fear of heights, she has been on Every. Single. Ride at Walt Disney World.  

 

For this week’s episode we’ve provided the transcript of the conversation below. Enjoy!

 

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
Hello, everyone, welcome back to KTA’s Travel Biz CEO podcast. I’m Ashley Metesh McCoy, one of the founders here of KTA. And today I am privileged to be joined by Michelle Schwartz, one of our awesome, generous, brilliant KTA members who is going to be talking to me about the whole, quote unquote queen bee business model- having IC’s in your agency, and I’m not going to take too much time talking here, I want Michelle to impart all of her wisdom on us. But just so you know, her business is Making Memories Travel, and she will be sharing her business information in the show notes. If you want to look her up. I would love for her to tell us her story about her business. So without further ado, take it away. Michelle, tell us about you and your travel agency.

Michele Schwartz
Oh, goodness. Well, thank you so much for having me. I love all three of you. And it’s such a pleasure to get to spend one on one time with you.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
Yeah, thank you.

Michele Schwartz
Very exciting.

So Well, we’ve heard of the accidental entrepreneur. So I feel like I became the accidental host. Although I hate calling myself a host, because I don’t want to ever be a host agency. Like that’s not my goal. I but I was I offered to, you know, we’re stuck in COVID not traveling. And I am part of a group online – a Disney fan group that I’m a big part of on Facebook. and I am honored to be the person who does every week, we do a feature in that group called Travel Agent Tuesday. And I was selected to be the admin of Travel Agent Tuesday, which was just a huge, huge honor and a really big deal for me. And I so as that people started reaching out to me to kind of like be like, what’s it like to be a Disney travel agent? And what do you do? And you know, how did you get started, and I would just do informational interviews. And the first person who came on my team, she’s now my agency manager, her name is Erin. She’s my right and left hand side, she is amazing. And she reached out to me to do an informational interview and offered to buy me  a Starbucks gift card in return. And I told her, I was like, well, that’s fine.  I’m happy to do an informational interview. But seeing as it’s in the middle of COVID, I’m not very busy right now.

Please take your Starbucks gift card and pay it forward. Like next time you’re in the drive thru line, buy coffee for the person behind you or something. And that’s just the kind of person I am. I love to share my experiences. I’m a collaborator, not a competitor. And I always learn as much about the person that I’m talking to as the person hopefully learns from me. And so she said, I was the only person who did that. And so she contacted me and she was like, I want to I want to do this with you. And I was like, okay, you do realize, like, literally, I think it was April or May right after the pandemic. It’s really not the best time you get that right. And she’s like, it’s okay. And I really do feel like we were kind of destined to be together because her skill sets are everything that I am not like, I’m the market. It’s kind of like you and Krystal actually

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
I was just about to say that sounds like Krystal and my beginning!

basically, yeah, she is all about systems and our CRM and workflow automations and the travel joy and travel advice templates. And I am all about the social media and the marketing and the networking and the talking and this and that. And so we became a team. And then once I had her on, of course, her being the systems expert, she made me realize that I didn’t really have any in place. And so

That happens to a lot of people. You’re not alone.

Michele Schwartz
Yeah, so she kind of whipped up like, here is what we need to do and through her systems are developed and every time a new IC comes on. Our systems have just gotten better and better and better and because of what she put in place, actually better at self selecting. And I tried to call my team because even though in essence it is everyone’s individual travel business, there are some stipulations but I’m still sure you will ask me about that. So that’s kind of how it started, like I had no intention of getting outside of the Disney bubble or bringing on anybody else. And both of those things kind of happened organically.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
That’s interesting. So you started your IC model, so to speak, in the middle of a pandemic. I want you to back up, though, just and tell us about the foundation of your agency, as I understand it correctly, you are a…. Well, you don’t have to answer this because I’ll toot your horn for you. It’s also very successful blogger. And if I understand correctly, that’s what led you into being a travel agent was you start off blogging? Or no, tell me tell me the right story.

Michele Schwartz
So I was was a very successful blogger. And actually, I’ll be honest, Literally, I know the exact day that I stopped, and it was November 8 of 2016. I woke up.

And I was like, I literally was like, how can I write about weddings and all things happy and engagements and pretty pictures and like, gorgeous wedding cakes and florals because I’m like, they’re basically meaningless right now, like the world is coming to an end. That was the devastation that I felt that day. And I, I just couldn’t do it. And so I couldn’t devote the energy that it needed anymore. And I felt like I taken it as far as I was able to take it. And I sold it.

And that, interestingly enough, it may be what was in my head at that moment, that led me into this kind of dark, deep place. But it turned out, I really think it was the universe talking to me, because I was on the tipping point about getting into wedding blogging, and I was on the tipping point of getting out of it. Like, right after I did sell and get out of it. The whole model kind of turned on its head, the biggest one, she had been my mentor, she actually ended up selling hers to AOL, and they ended up shutting it down. So it was just, I just had a sixth sense about it. And so then it was really like, wow, what am I gonna do now and I kind of, you know, I always love to travel. And that’s definitely part of my, my own self going happy therapy. So, like, Okay, I’m gonna, I’m gonna really learn about the industry. And I had always been in hospitality and the hotel side of it. So I really wanted to learn more about and I ended up in several bad models. So when I decided to go out on my own and start my own, it was really a chance for me to redo all the bad experiences I had had in being hosted or being an independent contractor with others.

And that’s not to say that because in case those people out there listening, that their model isn’t bad, it might work. It just wasn’t for me. And part of that, I think, is because I had been a successful entrepreneur. And I was so passionate about my branding, and about blogging and about SEO and about all the things that I had done as a successful wedding blogger that I didn’t like not having any control about that.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
Yeah,

Michele Schwartz
I knew what needed to be done to put my name on the map, as a successor to showcase my, my authority. And I say that in the SEO way to showcase my authority. And I wasn’t able to do that. And and so I really started making memories travel with the idea that it was going to be different than every other model out there. And I took that even as I brought on IC’s – that I wanted them to experience the things that had made me irritated and felt irritated. The bad word. felt like I had a straight jacket on and I was just constantly trying to get out of it like

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
Well, you’re Yeah.

Michele Schwartz
So I tried to do things differently. And I think that ultimately, I don’t know if that’s the correct way. Like maybe some of these people actually knew more what they were doing in terms of making Revenue. But in terms of developing a team,

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
yeah,

Michele Schwartz
I think that I’ve done a good job at that.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
Wow, there’s a lot to unpack there. I think you’re not the only one that went through somewhat of an existential crisis after the results of the last election. And so kudos to you for coming out, you know, the other end and figuring out something that’s gonna work for you. But the second thing is, I totally resonate with what you said about those other people have a model that may produce more revenue, but your goal was to create a team because that’s something that I found in my host agency. You know, I similarly wanted to create an environment that felt like a team felt like a place where people could completely define who they want it to be as a business owner. And, you know, admittedly, it’s, it’s not been the highest revenue producing team, but I feel good knowing that people feel free to do what they want to do in their business, how they want to do it, and that they can depend on each other. So I think what you’re what you’re saying, and what I’m saying is, there’s more than one way to run a business, and it’s okay. So, thank you for sharing that story. And, yeah, so thank you. All right. Move on to the next questions. Um, okay, so now, so since you had your first person, her name is ERin, right, reach out to you. So, you’ve had subsequent people ask to join your team? Um, I guess my question is, why did you decide to bring on subsequent people? Like what, what has been your motivator for bringing on more ICS?

Michele Schwartz
Well, I think originally it was, I want to be an ear marked agency with Disney. Like, that was just the goal that I had put out from the very beginning. I wanted to be earmarked and

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
Yeah

Michele Schwartz
Okay. And that in and of itself has its own like whole controversy that on Facebook, travel agent, Disney groups, you’ll feel the stress of it.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
I can only imagine.

Michele Schwartz
Right when it comes to Disney travel fans get together it’s like and, but that was just something that I really wanted. For my own edification. I’m an educational snob. Like I love to learn if I could be a full time in college, like that was a dream life. So it was just I want that logo. I know that my clients will not necessarily know what what it is, but I want to be able to say it about myself. So I quickly realized that I wasn’t that wasn’t going to happen on my own. And so I think, originally, after Aaron came on board, and she started started to systemize things. I was like, oh, okay, well, if I really want to be earmarks, then now that there’s kind of a model in place for doing this, then I probably need to do it. But again, based on previous hosting experiences that I had had, I was like, no more than 10 that was always like, it was gonna be small, I was gonna keep it small enough to manage. And that included me so no more than nine others. I was like I can do I know that I can become earmarked with that. And I don’t have to be 60 people not being said those 10 or me and the nine others, we’re gonna have to have some serious, like, energy and momentum towards selling Disney. And then it also just worked out that each of us had sort of a different interest in different parts of Disney. And, and I’m also an avid cruiser. So then it was like, I specialize in adult only trips to Disney, but I also love to cruise. So now I kind of wanted to expand into cruises. So then it was like, well, they might as well learn how to book whatever we want. And not and hopefully, you know, become a specialist and more than just Disney even though I try and say in my bio Disney will always have my heart. And that’s and I do still want to be your Mars. But I also didn’t want to be 100% pigeonholed into only my agents only doing Disney so then it just honestly, I I’ve only ever posted about wanting more ICS once or twice. People like Aaron in that same group would talk about me. And it just it was really natural. I I don’t think up until really recently I was ready to like, actually advertise like, Hi, I’m hiring like it was more. Not that I would use those words because not hiring andhiring.

Folks, I just snorted. Sorry for the podcast listener. So I know that’s it, you have to be very careful as a host agency, not to say “hiring” I know. It’s so funny. Your vernacular has to change too once you become a host. Um, that’s interesting. Okay, so it’s just been, I mean, I’m hearing you loud and clear. It’s just been an organic growth, and it’s evolving. And yeah, so that’s, that makes a lot of sense. And, I mean, I think any successful business owner will say that things tend to evolve, and you’d kind of just have to be open to it. And, you know, roll with the punches. So I guess that being said, um, so even though because I think a lot of people when they try to actively bring on ICS. You know, it’s sort of a different process, but at the same time, I’m sure that there’s, you have a good answer for this. Have there been any important lessons that you’ve learned in the process of bringing on ICS? From just sort of like, small technical things like specific CRM to larger like, mindset, structural things? What would you like to share on this?

Yes, yes, and yes, so. Um, so the first lesson that I learned was about myself, and I will say it, this is a recent lesson that I learned that I learned really in talking through with someone the issues of some ICS, who were not at all responsive, like, here, I was paying for their CRM access, and their, you know, email account, they weren’t paying the monthly fees as they were supposed to, even though there had been a contract signed. And I was adamant that I was not an installing sales quotas. And I can tell that story in a minute. So I, I did have a monthly fee in place, but that those invoices were going unpaid. And so in talking through, how do you fire someone who’s you’re not who’s not your employer.

And I mean, that literally, in the vernacular of they’re not our employees, you write it, you cannot require independent contractors to come to a team meeting, you cannot require a certain amount of hours, like it is, in a sense, an independent business for that person.

And if the timing is bad, all you can do is say, Okay, I can’t however, require that you pay my invoices,

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
Right.

Michele Schwartz
Or my monthly fees, because I am paying the overhead of the agency. And so in talking through that with someone, and the person said, “Well, have you given that person sells goals? Have you? How have you managed that person?” You know what, I didn’t get into this to manage people. And that was like this big lightbulb went off. I was like, I’m a team builder, and I’m a great mentor. I’m a shitty personnel manager. Can I say that? Do we have the rating?

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
Yeah, no, we’re okay with that.

Michele Schwartz
I got out of working in a traditional work environment where I had a manager above me and I managed other people below me because I hated managing someone hated checking to make sure that they clocked in at the right time and doing six month evaluations on on metrics that didn’t have anything to do with their actual output and their job like a theoretically

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
You shouldn’t have to do that with an IC theoretically.

Michele Schwartz
Yes, so that that was the lesson I learned and in a sense. That is what finally turned things in terms of seeking other icees on its head for me, is that I didn’t want to seek someone who was like, No, you’re gonna have to tell me what to do. I wanted to seek someone who was like, I want to learn from you. But I have these ideas too

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
Okay,

Michele Schwartz
And that’s what I say I’m a collaborator. And then I want to be able to offer the person all the resources that I have and all the knowledge that I gained. But ultimately, the person needs to be self managing. Because I’m not going to offer that.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
Yeah, that’s a really important lesson. And I, I feel like you taught me a lesson about myself, because I’ve been struggling with the very same thing, like, and I have a past career as a military officer. And I would say that, you know, exercise my leadership, team building skills. But I never fancied myself a manager, and I never really realized it until you said that. So thank you for teaching me an important lesson today.

Michele Schwartz
We have an anonymous friend of mine to thank for that.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
Nice, thank you, anonymous friends. I think that lends us nicely into our next question, because in a roundabout way, I guess I’m so because so so the question I had planned was, how do you differentiate yourself from other agencies? But I guess along that lines, or if you’d rather answer the question, what is your evolved vetting process that like, how have you changed that?

Michele Schwartz
So those are good, and I can actually answer them both. So when I distinguish myself, I don’t call myself a host agency, really. And I call everyone my team. And I think of us as almost like a co op. As opposed to like, any big decisions, I try and run by the team. But I also have a, I have an agency manager, I have an agency CFO. And so and those have been put in place, you know, since I started but but my vetting process is I actually don’t even talk to the person until they complete some initial training. And it’s supplier based training. And we send out an email that says it’s that Aaron developed my systems gal, it’s automated. She says,

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
I need to talk to Erin – she sounds awesome.

Michele Schwartz
You would really jive for sure. It Yeah, um, so it’s, and they have to complete the Disney training and the Universal Orlando training, before I’ll even talk to them. Because that usually will self select out a lot of people, the training is long, it doesn’t actually teach you how to book it, it teaches you the product knowledge. And if somebody can get through it, and then wants to learn more, then I’m like, Okay, now I can talk to you. But first, you have to show me that you really want it. I still do informational interviews. But I don’t offer people to come on board. Like I’ll do an informational interview. And I’ll tell them the questions that they should ask of me and any other agent that they might or agency that they might want to work with, that I don’t just offer people to come in from that. So still I do an informational interview with someone, like how to become an agent, or what questions I should ask or what looking for, and you come back to me and you’re, you’re like, Oh my god, I really love you, Michelle, thank you so much. Here’s your training, let me know when you finish it. And I can tell immediately, if somebody is so excited to learn more, they’ll go through it and in a week. Like they’ll sit down on a weekend they’ll chunk it out. Or they’ll at least email me and tell me Oh, I finished module one, I’m going into module two, like I know immediately how motivated they are. But if it drags out, or I don’t hear from them again, like they’ve self selected out, and that’s great. So then then I will start. So then I’ll schedule an informational or more like an interview process of you know, why do you think you want to do this? How have you talked to other agencies, like my models kind of different? You know, I don’t have sales quotas. And here’s why. I also try and do less of the talking and make them do more. They’re talking. And I talk a lot so that’s hard for me. But I really I want to hear if they’re able to talk to people because ultimately, this is about connecting and talking to people and if you think you’re going to hide behind your screen, you’re not going to be successful. Even just connecting on zoom, like you just you have to be able to put yourself out there. So and then once I talk to people then And then I’ll put them through the onboarding. And we don’t, we don’t set them up with their actual email address, I mean, because once again, that’s, that’s a cost, as in giving them their CRM access, which is a cost to the agency, until they have done all of these other things. And they’re committed, they’ve signed a contract, and they’ve paid their first monthly fee, which covers the access to the CRM, and the access to their email address. And helps to cover at this point, it also helps to cover a few of the other overhead things. I that is something that, as you said in the last segment, and like we are constantly learning and I have learned a little bit more about what my overhead is, again, the difference between me and Erin, my systems, and what my burn rate is. And and that fee is pretty low considering. And that may have to change my ultimate goal

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
That’s something I’ve toyed with a lot. So you’re not alone. And

Michele Schwartz
my ultimate goal was, like I said, as a co op was to split the costs evenly amongst everyone. But then it’s like some of us are doing a lot more work than others. And so how do you how do you do that? And so that’s still something I’m toying with I have said to my team, that it’s not anything that I would change until the end, like until next year, like yeah, now we’re in a good place.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
Yeah, it’s tricky. And then when you have contracts, you have to like, honor those contracts. And you know, think of the timing, and I have definitely been there, I get it. Well, you’ve inadvertently answered some of my other questions.

Michele Schwartz
I told you I like to talk!

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
No, I love it. I love it. And my plan was not to talk to you much today. So you’re a for talking. So I guess I’m just going to close with to two questions and answer them however you want. Um, so one is do you think that IC business model is for everyone? Or if you’d rather answer it more like, what characteristics Do you think somebody should have before they pursue this model? And in that, like, do you have any specific advice for anybody considering this business model?

Michele Schwartz
So I guess the first piece of advice I would give to anybody considering this business model, is to do just what you did when you started to enter into a travel travel agency. And that is talk to people who have different models, find out why they like their model, or they don’t like their model and what they would want to change about it, and then decide if it’s right for you to do. Secondly. I don’t know that, at least for me that I would think of it as a revenue stream. Like I don’t you know, it what it ultimately is going to help me reach my goal of becoming earmarked and that through volume. So I’m having additional people booking things and that leads to increased commissions. But it is not what Disney actually but with other suppliers. Yeah, but it’s it’s definitely not a, it’s my goal is not to get rich off of other people’s backs. And so I don’t at all, try and take advantage of them. So it’s not a revenue stream. For me. It’s, it’s what I try to have it do is basically not lose money on having them, but also Don’t, don’t try and make money off the backs of their hard work. Um, and then, I guess other thing I would say is, I mean, I don’t know that it is the right thing for everybody. Um, but it doesn’t hurt to at least have one person. Maybe not even that you call an IC but somebody who works to your weaknesses and somebody that you can play to your strengths. Like, I don’t even if I didn’t have IC’s like, I would not be where I am today without having had Aaron to look at the systems area in my business model like you can it’s impossible for us to be good at everything and I it’s just great having a partner, even though Yes, she is in in technicality. She is my independent contractor to have someone who is really really good at things that I am not good at. My agency would not have grown without having her as an addition.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
Yeah.

Michele Schwartz
I mean, I think it’s hard to be out there in the pond all by yourself.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
Well, and I think there’s a lot of takeaways from what you just said, number one is before you try to grow your agency in any way, make sure you have a solid business foundation. And usually that involves systems, which nobody likes to think about. They’re not sexy or fun. You gotta have them, but very few.

Michele Schwartz
Some people think they’re sexier than others. I’ve as I said, Yeah. And thank God for people like you, thank God for people like you.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
And then the other thing I heard from you is just you can’t, you can’t and you shouldn’t do it alone. And, yeah, there’s so many reasons for that. And however, that manifests in your business structure, whether it’s, you know, you’re a solopreneur, but you just depend on the support from a similarly minded entrepreneurial community, or you have a ICA, or an employee or a business partner, however, you know, that manifests or takes shape. Nobody should and can do this alone. Amen. And you just think deliberately before you, you know, completely change your business model. Right? Yeah, for sure. Yeah.

Michele Schwartz
I mean, that’s something that three of you say, all the time about everything. Like, if you’re gonna do something, make it deliberate. I mean, I obviously didn’t do that. But I think that, I’ve learned that that would have been a better way to have done it

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
in something. But I feel like in a way you let it happen. You so I am not necessarily deliberate. But I feel like you kind of things happened, and you sort of let them happen without trying to force it into some kind of a box. And in some ways, that’s deliberate too. Yeah. can be hard for people if you’re sort of a control freak into sort of letting things evolve in a way that’s deliberately letting go of control.

Michele Schwartz
I definitely did. I definitely did learn that that was Pandemic Lesson number one: We are not in control

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
Yeah, no, control. No kidding. Yeah. How many times? Do we have to learn that lesson in our lifetimes? Right. Well, I thank you so much for your time today, I think that, you know, you’re talking with you actually, it was quite different than the conversation I had with Denise. So I think it’s gonna be interesting for our listeners to hear your different answers. And I think people will learn a lot from your experience. And then if anybody listening is interested in joining Michelle’s team, which, you know, if I were a new agent, especially interested in Disney, I would be knocking down our door cuz I love the way she described it, that would work for me personally. You know, I know that everybody has different needs. So, um, so yeah, so if you resonated with Michelle, we’re linking her contact information in the show notes. And we will also put her other business in there. She’s has a blogging Academy for travel advisor. So definitely check that out as well. And we intend on doing a future episode with her about her blogging Academy, which I’m basically committing her to right now without her consent. So thank you, I

Michele Schwartz
thank you so much. I you know, I love everything about kth. So I’m always glad to chat with you and I can’t wait to see you in person and about three weeks away. Three, four or five weeks.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
Yeah, well, by the time this podcast airs, I don’t know what time it’s going to be but but thanks again, Michelle, and be sure to join us for our next episode of Travel Biz CEO

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

 

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Travel Biz CEO: Part 1: Bringing on IC’s with Denise Lorentzen

Bringing on independent contractors, or IC’s into your travel business and adopting the Queen Bee model is not for the faint of heart. Many see it as an easy way to make money in the travel industry. Those that take this on will tell you, that nothing could be further from the truth. In this 3 part series, we speak to three very different travel business owners, including our very own Ashley Metesh-McCoy about their decision to bring on independent contractors and the strategies they employ that make them successful. 

Part 1: Bringing on IC’s with Denise Lorentzen

For our podcast we asked our guests the following questions:

1) Tell me about you and your travel agency.
2) Why did you decide to bring on ICs?
3) Are there any important lessons you learned in the process of bringing on ICs that you think other agents should be aware of (if they are also planning on bringing ICs)? For example, would you have set up a different CRM first? Or, done anything differently structurally? Would you have done anything different in onboarding / training / educating the ICs?
4) Do you actively recruit ICs? If so, how do you differentiate yourself from other agencies and how do you recruit? If not, how do you end up with the ICs?
5) Do you think the IC business model is for everyone? Rather, what characteristics should a good “Queen Bee” have?
6) Do you have any specific advice for those thinking about recruiting ICs?

Denise Lorentzen has been in the travel industry since 2006. She has been married for 24 years and has two kids age 20,22.  They live in Boise, ID and she absolutely loves what she does! Denise worked with a few agencies before opening up Dreams Travel Consulting in 2014. Dreams Travel Consulting specializes in Family Travel, Disney Destinations, and Multi Gen groups.  They are in the process of opening up their non-theme park branch called Dreams Travel Network!  Denise’s overall goal was to bring on independent contractors, and in 2017 she was able to begin.  Dreams Travel currently has 12 ICs and most of them specialize in Family/Disney with a few that have branded themselves and are international/cultural/customized. They take brand new to the industry and we also love to partner with advisors that are experienced and need a home that fits their niche.

Because the interview really speaks for itself, we’ve decided to provide the transcripts in lieu of a summary blog. Enjoy!

Transcript

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the travel biz CEO podcast. I’m delighted to be joined today by the wonderful Denise Lorentzen. She’s the owner of Dreams Travel consulting, and she has a very active and giving community member of KTA. We’re really grateful to have her in our community. And she is with us today to talk about the whole what we call in the industry, the queen bee model, as in your business model is that you have an agency and you have sub agents or independent contractor. Typically, they’re independent contractors that fall under your agency. And you are a full service agency that has multiple agents serving clients that can come in so many different forms, so many different focuses niches, and everything. But if you’ve been in the industry for a while, you’ve heard this as a potentially lucrative, scalable business model for the travel industry. And she has been so generous to provide some of her time and experience in this model. And so I’m going to ask her a series of questions about her experience with this. And I know a lot of you out there considering this type of business model. So we think that this will be really helpful as you go along your path. So without further ado, I want to quickly just let you introduce yourself to us, Denise and tell us about your travel agency.

Denise Lorentzen
Okay. Well, II started Dreams Travel Consulting, officially in 2014. But I’ve been in the travel industry since about 2008. And I have worked as an IC myself, so I was very familiar with the model. I also was a, like a team leader with an agency. So I kind of understood how that progressed. And so I always knew I wanted to have my own business, my own agency, I launched in 2014. And worked at just developing our brand and who we are and kind of selling into that before I brought on icees. And I brought icees on officially in 2017.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
Yeah, so do you, does your agency have a specialty?

Denise Lorentzen
Yes, we are a family travel specialty. But we we’re our full service we we do everything, we we tend to think that family, it’s not doesn’t have to be the typical parents and kids family is the people you love and the people who you connect with. And so our, our passion is about connecting people and being able to help them bond and make those memories through travel. And so we by default, because we are family travel specialists, we do a heavy amount of Disney.

That is one of our passions. And then we do everything else too. We do a lot of groups like multi generational groups as well. Cool. But you guys can’t see because this is audio only but quite a bit of Disney swag in the background. It’s really cute. And I have to say, as an agency owner who has ICS it’s kind of diff it’s always been difficult for me to answer our specialty too, because when I’ve brought on ICS each of them sort of identifies their own niche. And so it’s kind of, you know, I feel like a queen bee, so to speak, sometimes end up saying, well, we do everything and then so it’s like, well, what does that mean? And it’s like, well, because I have an IC who does this? And I have an ICC does this. So that’s always sort of a hard question to answer and I think you answered it beautifully. So thank you. Yeah, and hard question right off the bat. And and actually I am moving in a direction of bringing on ICS that are a little bit more geared towards something that we can keep everything in house should someone not feel comfortable chart, you know, doing one destination, but somebody else would.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
So cool. Yeah, we’ll have to talk about that.

Denise Lorentzen
Yeah.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
So I guess my next question is, and this, you know, I think the people listening, are going through this in their minds right now, possibly. Why did you decide to bring on sub agents or ICS?

Denise Lorentzen
I think ultimately, it was because I enjoy helping and mentoring those that are wanting to get involved as well. I remember when I was first new, and I had a couple people stand out to me and kind of held my hand and, and I wasn’t with an agency right away, I was kind of doing it on my own. And it’s very difficult when you don’t have that guidance. So I, I want to be able to give that back and help others grow their business and develop it and mentor them and and teach them.

Teach them the things that we’ve learned the long and hard way. So I enjoy doing that I enjoy monitoring them and and having that bigger picture. It’s definitely a lot of blood, sweat and tears, it takes a while to develop. Yeah, and I don’t I don’t.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
And this is part of the reason we wanted to have these conversations on the podcast, I don’t think a lot of people realize, when they’re considering this business model, how much work it is, it’s not just you, you find, find somebody, and then they just go you write, even if they’re experienced in the travel industry, you still have to train them on how you do things in your agency or consortium or if you’re hosted as well. So you have to be ready to do some mentorship and training, even if it’s a minimal amount. Yes, if you’re not comfortable, and you don’t have the patience for that, you really need to reconsider the idea of pursuing this business model.

Denise Lorentzen
So I totally agree.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
Yeah, I’m glad that you mentioned that, like your motivator was helping people and train them because it is a huge part of of this, you know, yeah, yes.

Denise Lorentzen
Yeah, you have to want to lead or, um, and it doesn’t have to be massive. But for me, personally, my big picture is not a huge agency, it’s a small boutique agency, but you have to want to put that time in and that energy and to, to mentor them, because that will all be without pay. And you have to look at what’s coming down the what’s coming down the way, you know, it’s it’s going to pay off eventually.

But for me, that’s the beauty of it, you know, to see their wins, and and to be able to celebrate with them. So,

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
no, you make a good logistical point. I mean, especially if you’re bringing on brand new advisors, as we all know, it takes time to build up your clientele. And then as we know, further, nobody gets paid until that travels done. So yes, get that commission split that, you know, agency owners usually use as their, you know, justification for having ICS. It takes time. So it’s definitely a long game. So you need to go into it with that mindset.

Denise Lorentzen
Yes.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
Okay, so that brings me to a really good question. Well, it’s a good question to me. I don’t know if people think it is. But I guess the question is, are there any important lessons that you learned in the process of bringing on other agents that you think people should be aware of as they’re considering this business model?

Denise Lorentzen
And, you know, it could be anything from a very specific technical thing to just a very broad mindset thing, feel free to share away.

Oh, I think one of the first biggest things is value of your time. And make sure that you set up your program, the way that you feel that you want to be valued or paid, because there are other agencies out there that will bring on ICS for for no charge, just as there are agencies that don’t charge a service fee and some that do. So it’s, it’s a model for me. I had to I want my IC’s that come on to have skin in the game and I don’t want them to just think it’s nothing and so I had to find the right balance of putting a monetary value. So I played around with that. I mean, I tried different prices and everything and right now, you know, we have it kind of set where I think that it works for us where there’s a little bit of a larger fee when you join you got your training

Then you have a monthly fee. Um, that to me is probably one of the biggest things is make sure your systems like that are set up ahead of time. Because if you start changing them as you go, then the message set could could not be very well, you know, like, especially if IC’s start talking that and then also your splits like what do you make sure you you are happy with all of that

Take some time and actually talk to other business owners that are doing it to see what they’re doing. I found that most of us were around the same in the split. And I think those are the two most important things. Other than that your your other systems

CRM, that was one mistake where I went in with one, I started with one and then I changed to another. And then yeah. And so finally, I’m just I’ve settled now on something and all the other things I will make, be like, if they want to use it, they can but this is the one main thing they have to use, you know, so there’s no right or wrong answer out there. I mean, even with systems, there’s no right or wrong system, everything has its own value. And it’s just what works. But really take the time to figure out those kinds of things first and put all of that in place.

Yeah, and I mean, the reason why is like if you try to change something like a CRM, it’s one thing when it’s just you by yourself and virtual assistant or whatever. But if you try to change it with even one IC or two or, you know, dozens,

yes,

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
you have to retrain them and you have to, you know, reinforce and even

Denise Lorentzen
And all that data, you got to move over and and if so,

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
yeah, we’re not saying you know, don’t fix the system, if it’s broken, it’s you know, we all know that sometimes you have to make those difficult decisions. But, I mean, I guess what we’re trying to say, and I don’t know, if you’ve experienced this, if people have come to you for advice on bringing in ICS, when people come to me, usually I find that they have a lot of work to do in their business, or on their business before it would be appropriate to bring on ICS. You know, they’re, they don’t have a contract put together, they don’t have, you know, an SOP, or standard operating system for their client care services. If you can get that stuff solidified and documented before you bring on ICS, your life will be 1000 times easier.

Denise Lorentzen
Yeah, all the forms for onboarding, if you’re trying to grab them as you go, which I did, I had someone come to me and say, I really want to do this, and I was planning on it. But I wasn’t quite there yet. And when she came and it was just like, Oh, you know, this is a sign and so I scrambled to get all that together. So yeah, all the logistics, how are you going to onboard? What’s your training, like, I’ve changed my training several times over, you know, it’s just it and now I’m in the process of can like I’m adding to my training. And so anytime that I choose to do something for them, like a little mini training, I’m, I’m now in a process where Okay, we video it or we you know, we record it, and then on it goes into the library of the rest. So now I’m developing more training as I go. Having all those ideas and lay them out, like actually lay him out. I use Trello board now and, and lay out everything that you want to do on each subject. And your you know, one for your onboarding, and what forms are you going to be sending? And what’s your contract going to be like? And

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
yeah, I have a trello board too.

Denise Lorentzen
Embrace it, but I do love it now.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
Yeah, Imean, whatever system you want to use, it’s fine. Just make sure it because the more people you bring into your sphere of your agency, the more responsibility you have. And yes, something happens to you. Or even if you’re just on vacation, you need to have that documentation in place so that everything doesn’t come to a screeching halt, you know, right? It’s not sexy. It’s not exciting. It’s super boring. Nobody wants to do it, but it’s necessary.

Denise Lorentzen
And I know that they can’t see this, but I actually take everything. Oh, and because I’m I’m a solar entrepreneur, right. And my fear going into it was with all these processes. What If something happens to me, so how so make sure that as part of your planning, of getting all that set, you have to have backups and what you’re going to do, so I basically take everything and print it and put it in here. So I’ve got, you know, are copies of our like seller travel or insurance policy, and just all of that. And then every year, I freshened up all of our information in one. And so it really pre planninga lot of pre planning.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
So you guys didn’t see it, but I’ll just try to describe it to you, she had this really pretty black and white floral designed binder, colored tabs. And I think we might have to have a another podcast conversation about the contents of that binder one days,

Denise Lorentzen
I basically have, again, you can’t see it, but like all of our, you know, anything that’s like business related policies, our bonds, our DBA, everything is copied in here.

Yeah, and I mean, again, if it’s just you, you know, you, you can probably keep that stuff in your head, I know where my, you know, sellers have travel licenses. But if you’ve got seven agents working under you using that sellers of travel, they need to know what that number is at minimum. So, again, it’s it’s not just about you. So organization is key in this business time. Yeah. So my question, my next question for you is, do you actively recruit icees? And if so, how do you differentiate, differentiate yourself from other host agencies? And if not, how did the How do you end up with ICS?

So, um, over the last year, is where I started doing Facebook ads,

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
okay.

Denise Lorentzen
Prior to that, a few of them came to me from referrals, or they were a client. And then so it kind of that kind of happened a little more organically. But when I knew that I actively wanted to grow, and not just wait for one here, one there, I put together a plan. And I do Facebook ads, I find that that gave me the best results. And then whoever I bring in, you know, I interview them, and we go from there, if it’s a good fit, as far as when I do the recruiting or the Facebook ads, I was doing it any time prior. And one thing I learned is to bring it on in, in batches or like certain times of the year, because if not, you’ll be constantly like spitting in the same things over and over and over. So I find that I’m like, this is third quarter. So I’m going to actively start putting the ads out soon, and then bringing them on and be training in the fourth quarter. And then so every other quarter is where I’m going to kind of do that. And that way. Normally, it’ll, for me personally, I wanted it to coincide with when it’s typically wave season, pre COVID. And when we’re typically on our, you know, more busy, I don’t want to be having to train 10 people all at once. And so I’m trying to get into a rhythm that way. So I would say that’s really important is to think about your times, don’t just do it anytime, because sometimes that is a little too overwhelming. And so that’s my main focus right now. And I’ve tried Pinterest, but I haven’t gotten anything from there yet. Couple have been word of mouth, but mainly Facebook ads is as where I got it. And as far as what different differentiates us.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
We both had a hard time with that.

Denise Lorentzen
I mean, you and I have known each other for a while we have wonderful friends in this industry. And so all of us are equally great. And we all have something to bring to the table. So I think it it’s about connecting like when I get on the phone with someone and we start having a conversation and I can hear their passion and and it connects for me I think I’m going to come from a place of we’re not just going to be transit like a transaction we were going to be there as a family so that I the people that I want to bring on are going to enjoy being a part of something and and kind of be in that family feel.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
Cool. Yeah, I like that and it works perfectly with your your family travel.

Denise Lorentzen
Exactly. Actually backtracking a little bit to the bringing them on through Facebook ads. I actually did Several types of ads. And I found that when I used a Disney focused ad, bringing them on, like, Are you the Disney go to, you know, friend everyone goes to, then I was getting more much more. So then those people came in with a connected love. Hmm have a destination or product. And then from there I have been helping them to develop and not put all their eggs in one basket. So don’t. Yeah,

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
sorry, go ahead.

Denise Lorentzen
Just don’t I not to focus on the one subject or the one supplier, but the whole family kind of focus? Yeah,

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
yeah. That one Disney agent I had on my team, we worked on that quite a bit too, because? Well, there’s lots of reasons and we don’t have to go into that. But I like to call Disney the gateway drug to travel agent, because so many agents come into the industry as Disney specialists,

Denise Lorentzen
no.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
And then they brought it out. So it is it is funny that you noted that like a very specific marketing example. So

Denise Lorentzen
it definitely is, because when I did general ads, I didn’t get nearly the amount of interest. So I’m like, okay, that’s where it is. And that’s cool. And then like I set them up, when we train, we start with their Disney training and their training for me. But then I started immediately, you know, talking to them, I make them like choose their top five suppliers. Like, that’s a good training, like, give me five suppliers, and then those are going to be the ones you’re going to be like your go twos.

Mm hmm. That’s a good idea. Yeah. Okay, so I have two more questions. And I feel like they’re all kind of related. So I’m just going to kind of ask them to you, at the same time, you tell me where you want to go with what we’re okay. Where do you want to go with it? So do you think the icy business model or the queen bee business model is for everything? Or everyone? And I guess a better way to ask that is, what are some good characteristics for someone who’s pursuing that model? And then just generally speaking, do you have any specific advice for those thinking about recruiting? ICS?

Um, so I don’t think it’s for everyone. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, you do have to have a passion for wanting to leave, but the train and mentor and help, you have to have that passion, because there are times where you’re gonna get questions, and you’re not gonna be able to do your own thing, sometimes I find that my stuff isn’t getting done as quick maybe, and because I’m working on things for them. So you’re going to want to have that drive and that desire to to grow. Um, I have learned, personally, that I am actually enjoying that the more I get involved and do more, I’m actually enjoying it a lot more than I thought. So that’s one thing. And I think that you can, you don’t have to be huge, you can build that model if you wanted to have a few. So it’s not as overwhelming. And you enjoy that to some extent. And then, but just you got to find your right, your right place in that, like, how many is good for you? And what do you vision, your agency being like, because, because if you’re an active seller yourself, and you get too big, you’re not gonna be selling anymore, you know, you’re going to need to be focusing on all the, the work stuff. And as far as advice, I mean, I think everything we have talked about is actually getting everything in place. Mm hmm. And, and don’t, you’re going to make changes as you go, because that’s what happens. But try not to try to be set up somewhat before you bring that first person on. That way. You don’t have to be learning how to handle it, learning them, training them, and then changing things as you go.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
great advice

Denise Lorentzen
Be prepared.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
Yeah. No, and I’m, I’m so appreciative of having this conversation with you. Because, you know, you really made me think of things differently too, like your, the way that you bring people in and what kind of waves

Denise Lorentzen
Yes,

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
no pun intended, because we tried to avoid bringing them on for wave season, probably. But yeah, no, that’s a great idea. And just, um, you know, I I’ve said I’ve shared similar experiences for sure. Yeah. So it’s really cool to talk to you and I want to thank you again. And here we’ll share your information how people can get in contact with you. If anybody listening is potentially interested in joining Denise’s team. You know what, we’ll have those that information in the show notes. And any final parting words, Denise?

Denise Lorentzen
Um, you’re not alone? Yeah. Yeah.

I mean, there’s there’s a lot of people that get into this, this industry and feel alone, but getting into the right groups, you’re definitely not alone. And there are other owners that are completely willing to, to hold your hand throughthat setup.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
Yeah, you were telling me beforehand, I don’t know if we want to name them, but to other people I know of who are wonderful people and agency owners. She regularly talks to

Denise Lorentzen
Yes.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
And when I started my, you know, queen bee model, I had a couple people that I talked to, to, you know, work through all those kinks. So

Denise Lorentzen
having having your people forming those friendships and groups and, and groups like KTA, you know, being in groups where, you know, you can be vulnerable, you can ask for questions, you’re gonna get real help. You’re, it’s it’s all everyone’s there for the same reason. So I highly recommend getting involved in that. So

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
yeah, definitely. Thank you. Thanks for your endorsement of those means a lot when we get people as awesome as you given us your stamp of approval. So yeah,

Denise Lorentzen
it’s it’s definitely I couldn’t go back to not being parts of groups. Oh, yeah. Yeah. And there’s different groups out there for different reasons and everything and finding your own home is is good, but really, I think that people shouldn’t have to feel like they’re alone in trying to navigate it.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
You can’t You can’t do it alone. Yeah, well on that note, you are not alone. We are all here for you. You listeners, you should know where to find us. If you’re not on our public group, which is totally free. Check us out at the travel advisor training and mentorship group in on Facebook. And of course you can always find us at Kinship Travel Academy dot com and we will, as I said, share Denise’s information. Thank you so much again, Denise and great day,

Denise Lorentzen
you too.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy
Bye.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

 

Travel Biz CEO Interview with Stephanie Cannon
Podcast, Travel Agent Education, Travel Business CEO

Travel Biz CEO: Do You Know Your Finances?

Do you understand your business finances?

This week on the Travel Biz CEO Podcast we are excited to welcome Stephanie Cannon. Stephanie is a former CPA turned successful travel advisor and a member of Kinship CEO Membership.

When it comes to numbers and data, too many travel advisors stick their head in the sand and outright ignore their numbers. Stephanie helps other travel advisors and entrepreneurs lean into their discomfort and fear of numbers and demystifies the process once and for all.

So we asked Stephanie: what are the most common obstacles or problems that she recommends travel advisors focus on?

When working with other agents, the most common thing that people need to work on is mindset.

We keep telling ourselves that numbers are hard. Getting past the mindset piece is one of the biggest hurdles that advisors and entrepreneurs need to overcome when dealing with their finances.

Most believe that you must be an expert to be good at running your numbers for your business. Or that you must have an accounting background to be good at it. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Stephanie agrees that she has a definite leg up with her background as a CPA, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. It means that it is just something you need to learn and put it into practice.

The next thing is that advisors need to make tracking finances a part of their routine.

Making tracking your finances a part of your routine is vital to your business success.

How many people do you know wait until tax time to pull their numbers and perform basic bookkeeping?

Too many.

The problem is that without tracking your numbers routinely throughout the year, you have no real benchmarks to measure and know if you have reached your goals for your business.

At a minimum you should be tracking quarterly. This makes tracking your finances seem much less overwhelming and easier to tackle.

Create systems and SOP’s that you can put in place to be consistent.

If you know what you need to do, then you automatically have a system in place and know exactly what needs to be done.

Creating those systems and checklists in place give you predictability quarterly on what you need to track, and helps you stay on track with a routine.

Spoiler alert: Stephanie provides a checklist to agents! Click here to grab yours!

But don’t stop at the basics. You aren’t done yet. Going beyond the basics is where the magic happens.

Tracking financial basics and metrics overtime is great, but running reports that analyze those metrics is the next level.

Based on those analytics and metrics you know where to tweak.

Looking at averages like:

  • Commission rates
  • Service fees
  • Booking size
  • Conversion rates
  • Sales

When you know these numbers, you know what goals to set for the year for your business.

And that is what makes you an intentional business owner – A real travel business CEO!

Stephanie Cannon will be running a workshop in our membership program called Back to Basics for our August Monthly Class. Be sure to join and check that out!

This fall she will also be running her 4M Approach Workshop in her private group to help advisors figure out where they are leaking money in their travel business.

 

Stephanie Cannon is a former CPA, who made the leap to solopreneurship 14 years ago. It’s time to ditch the bank balance accounting and master a system that sets you up for higher profits and wealth. For more about Stephanie and the AH-mazing programs that she offers, check out http://www.withstephaniecannon.com. You can find her on Facebook and in her private Facebook Group: The First-Class Profit Lounge with Stephanie Cannon

Download her FREE calculator and start using this key indicator in your travel business. It’s simple, quick, and packed with so much POWER should you choose to use it.

Podchaser - Travel Biz CEO

Business of Travel, Podcast, Travel Business CEO

Travel Biz CEO: Sales with Glenda Beagle

This week on the Travel Biz CEO podcast we are thrilled to welcome Glenda Beagle from the Art of Selling Travel.

You might remember Glenda from our 2020 Virtual Travel Career Summit. Glenda is an industry leader in sales and has helped numerous travel agency owners make the leap from brick and mortar set ups to at-home, digital entrepreneurs.

From an early age she learned how to leverage her competitive nature to hit her sales goals.

Glenda knows that it’s wasn’t about selling for the sake of selling – and often that is what intimidates people into making sales. Sales is about listening so intently to your client that they get what they need, not just what they want.

To put it simply, sales is getting something for something else. Whether it is money for a service or a product – sales is attention for the outcome you want.

Glenda teaches a 12 week coaching program for travel agents called the Travel Sales Authority. You can learn more about her and her program at https://artofsellingtravel.com.

The Silver Bullet
Business of Travel, Podcast

Travel Biz CEO: The Silver Bullet

The Silver Bullet

 

The magic bean. The one thing that you need to do to have instant success in your travel business.

Yep, we are going there.

What is the silver bullet, the one thing that will make ALL the difference and give you overnight success?

It’s the tactics that are constantly sold. If you JUST did this ONE thing, you will be successful.

Well, we hate to break it to you. That ONE thing doesn’t exist.

From an operations standpoint, there are a LOT of great tools and tactics that you can incorporate into your business to streamline things and make your back end run smoother. But those things are different for every entrepreneur.

From a mindset standpoint, there are little things you can do and incorporate into your routine to make your business run smoother, but we’d never go so far as to call them a silver bullet. They are constant works in progress.

For example, working on your confidence will help you as an entrepreneur. As will working to find your purpose. But these are not check marks on a list – that once you find your confidence you are done and never have to work on it again. Confidence and purpose are evolving practices that an entrepreneur must work on.

In marketing, silver bullet tactics are constantly being advertised. If you used this social media product or tactic, you will be successful. And that’s just not how this works.

And the main problem is that we are starting at the end. We are starting at the sale and the product and the destination. The most useful thing a travel advisor can do is take a step back and start at the beginning.

Who is your PERSON?

P- What is their problem?

E- What is their ecosystem? What blogs do they read? Where do they hang on social media?

R- What is their residence? Their demographics? Where do they live? Who do they live with?

S – What is their status? What do they prioritize? How does that make them feel?

O – What offers are they interested in? What are they willing to spend money on? What do they buy?

N – What other nuances can you look at? What is their personality? What do they value? What do they enjoy?

From that point on all marketing should serve to speak to and answer the questions and concerns of your PERSON.

And all of this happens in a business ecosystem. You work your business systems, marketing strategies, and mindset in concert with one another.

There are just a few certainties that you can count on:

  • You will need to build resiliencies.
  • You need to be willing to try new things.
  • You must always be testing.
  • You will fail.
  • You will need to try again.

 

That’s why at Kinship Travel Academy we teach members our best practices in mindset, marketing, and business operations for travel advisors to try and build into their business with a community to support you and back you up. You can learn more about Kinship CEO Membership and our program here.

KTA

Do you feel balanced in your business?

Balance. Do you have it?

Without a doubt 2020 knocked travel advisors off balance unlike ever before. But the fact remains that most advisors before the pandemic didn’t have balance in their business.

What do I mean by that?

Often when I bring up the idea of “balance” people often think of busy mom’s trying to “have it all” or yogis in a tree pose. And while it’s not far off, today I’m talking about balance between the three main areas all entrepreneurs must balance: marketing, business, and mindset.

Why those three?

A healthy balance of marketing, business, and mindset is what propels you forward on the path to success. It gives you clarity and confidence in your travel entrepreneur journey.

Why marketing?

Because if you don’t have a marketing system – a system in place that gives you a steady stream of clients – you don’t have a business. You have a hobby that caters to family and friends. You don’t need to be in this business long to agree that family and friends often make the worst clients.

And if you don’t have a marketing strategy that continually attracts your ideal client, then you have a very resentful, frustrating job.

Why business?

If you don’t have business systems in place – CRM’s (client relationship management tools), ways to automate and accept payments, financial tracking tools, itinerary management tools, trip financial tracking tools, etc. – you let you business run you. You never know where you stand or what your next step can be. It makes it that much harder to scale, hire for help, or add independent contractors to the mix. Business systems also enhance the client customer experience, making you more professional and appear as more of an expert.

Why mindset?

Your mindset is the glue that holds it all together. It is the belief that you can achieve and be successful in this endeavor. It is the grit and resilience you need when it gets hard (and it will get hard). And it’s the optimism you need that will carry you through to success.

It is easy as an entrepreneur to become despondent when things get tough. A resilient mindset is what will carry you through those times.

That, in part, is why we created KTA Membership. KTA focuses on finding balance between your Mind (Marketing), Body (Business Operations), and Soul (Mindset) of your travel business. Because it’s not enough to have just one. So we teach all three. Each quarter you get a balanced approach through monthly classes that focus on one of the three areas. We teach blueprints and frameworks that help you create effective digital marketing strategies, financial tracking and planning courses to help you create a business, and mindset and resiliency foundations guided by a certified life coach.

KTA is a program for modern travel advisors, created by modern travel advisors, to help you gain mastery and balance in your travel business and make you the CEO of your travel enterprise. Membership opens October 24th. Click here to learn if KTA is right for you, or to join the waitlist and be the first to be notified of when membership opens up.