Travel Biz CEO Podcast: SEO and why should travel agents care
Blogging, Business of Travel, KTA, Member Spotlight, Podcast, Travel Agent Marketing

Travel Biz CEO: SEO – What It Is and Why You Should Care

How travel agents can improve their search visibility and attract more customers with SEO

Travel is a $1.2 trillion dollar industry – so it’s no mystery why travel agents are always on the lookout for new ways to market themselves and drive traffic to their travel agency website or travel blog.  SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the single best way travel agents can improve their search visibility and attract more customers.

The travel business is dominated by travel agencies that are run through 3rd party travel portals, which have become travel shoppers’ first stop for researching travel plans before visiting the travel agency. Here’s how travel shoppers find these travel agencies online:

  • 86% use Google as a travel agent finder
  • 86% use travel websites as travel planner, like TripAdvisor or Expedia (hotels too)
  • 79% use travel directories like Yelp or TripAdvisor
  • Travel websites get traffic from travel shoppers, travel directories get traffic from travel shoppers, and travel agencies get traffic from travel planners. It’s no wonder travel agencies are always looking for ways to drive more travel shoppers to travel agency websites.

How travel agents can improve their search visibility and attract more travel shoppers with SEO It is important travel agencies understand how potential travel clients find them in Google.

So where do you start?

You start with using a platform like WordPress where you can create original content on your own personal website. Don’t use a third party website or a website provided by your host agency.

A travel website created in WordPress by a travel blogger is going to be easier to rank for specific keywords and terms when they’re searched online.

Creating your website in WordPress allows you to add plugins and tools into your website to make your pages load faster – another great tip provided by Michele to help improve your SEO. Making sure that your website doesn’t have a delay in loading really tells Google that your are a professional that knows what you are doing.

You want to be searchable online and when we say that we want you to pay attention to 3 different platforms: Google, YouTube, and Pinterest.

In this instance we don’t worry much about social media. When you build your platform on social media and only share your content there, you are doing so on rented space. But if you focus on Google, YouTube and Pinterest you get to control the customer journey and lead them where you want them – which is your trip planning form.

The next thing you’ll want to do to improve SEO?

Create original content!

If travel shoppers are using travel planning websites to brainstorm their travel plans before visiting the travel agency, it’s also true that they’re using Google to find travel agencies that provide these services.

And they find you by searching and finding your blog – your original content that answers questions that they have about their travels.

For more on SEO be sure to listen to this weeks Travel Biz CEO episode with Michele Schwartz! You’ll also want to check out her Facebook Group First Class Blogging Academy as well as her SEO course offered in the Travel Agent Business Bundle.


Transcript of today’s show below:

Krystal Eicher 0:00
So we want to be able to do things to make our website more discoverable, not just to anybody but like Michelle said to our ideal client.

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 hosts 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 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 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 everyone, Krystal here and I am joined by the amazing Michele Schwartz today. You guys I’m so excited. For those of you who are new to the Travel Biz podcast I teach marketing strategy in our Kinship Travel Academy membership program. If you have been a listener of Travel Biz CEO you will recognize Michele because she joined us in Season 2, Episode 20, where she talked about bringing on IC’s to her agency, Making Memories Travel. But we are bringing in Michele for a completely different reason. Today we are going to talk today about SEO. So before we go any further, Michele, please introduce yourself and say hello.

Michele Schwartz 2:18
Hello! Thank you so much for having me. You know that I could talk to you and Wendy and Ashley all day any day, it’s my favorite podcast. I’m so honored that I get to be on here not once but twice. I am Michele, I am the OG Memory Maker of my agency, which is Making Memories Travel. During the COVID pivot that we all had to take and find. I sort of went back to my roots which prior to being in travel. It was an award winning page one on google searched niche wedding sites. So I made my living as a professional blogger. When I transferred into travel and I started investigating what I was going to do in terms of a host agency or a brick and mortar or start my own, I realized that a lot of the hosts give you a “free template” as part of joining. But that is really a misnomer.

Krystal Eicher 3:16
Beware of that carrot. Beware of that carrot.

Michele Schwartz 3:18
So I started my Facebook group called First Class Blogging Academy and I started putting a course together that will launch in January. I got to start talking to all the agents just like I used to talk to event planners about how they can be found by their clients and get more eyeballs on their website, which is what search engine optimization really is. It’s getting your website in a place where you will come up in searches on search engines. And that means your site is search engine optimized. I have lots of little tips and tricks for that.

Krystal Eicher 3:53
Awesome. I think that when a lot of agents hear search engine optimization, they get intimidated by the term SEO. And guys like let’s just cut straight through it straight from the beginning SEO is nothing to be scared about. It’s just can you be if you if if I type your business in Google or if I type travel agent in Houston, Texas, do you even come up on the radar at all? That’s really all that we care about. The reason it matters and actually let you answer that why does that even matter to an agent? Why? Why do I want to be searchable online?

Michele Schwartz 4:27
Lucky you you’ve been in the business long enough and you have enough referrals to keep you going then you don’t need to be searchable but for all the rest of us minion’s out here we need people who are looking or searching for what we have to offer. For me, personally, and I’m not even speaking for my whole team, for me personally that’s adults without littles as I like to call them. So the traditional family of four is not my ideal client. I’m really, really clear on who my ideal client is, which is the first step toward SEO. So when I speak to my ideal client I want to come up in terms that they might be searching for, for example, adults at Disney, or drinking around the world or spas at Disney. Those are all terms that when someone searches my local area, because a lot of it is geographically focused, I would like to be seen, I want more eyeballs on my website, always, we always want more eyeballs on their website.

Krystal Eicher 5:24
I know a lot of agents, like you said, you get offered like a free template for a website, things like that. And that sounds Oh, that’s great. That’s going to make my job so much easier. Except that in the long run, it actually makes your job harder. You end up being a secret travel agent, you end up getting out there in the world. But not nobody can find you. Right, no one can find you. And so we want to be able to do things to make our website more discoverable, not just to anybody, but like Michele said to our ideal client. Michele, how do you optimize SEO for your website?

Michele Schwartz 5:59
Well, that’s a great question. First, when you’re first starting out, in, I know that this this is a little bit touchy subject with some people that are first starting out. For one, the template that is going to be the “free template” that is supplied by host agency, it doesn’t have your best interests at heart, it has your hosts, industry or partner, okay, so there’s not a lot of white space for you to put your personality into it. And people want to I know, Krystal talks about the know, like and touch factor all the time. And that’s because it’s true. We want to have relationships and do business with the people that we know like and trust, and your “free template” is not going to give you that. There’s no way you don’t have enough ability to change the layout or the content to help people find you. The next thing next to a free template that a lot of people go to because it is easy it’s drag and drop. It’s a quick, easy builder is Wix. Now, Wix, you’re going to get the site looking more like what you want with lots of white space, which to answer, I’m going the long way around answering Krystal’s question, which is to get your site optimized, you have to have the balance between fresh content, and enough white space and images, videos now too count in there. Wix doesn’t have the same ability to host all of your images and videos and weekly content, original content. Without my graphic designer says, Yeah, I have a Wix website, I have the most beautiful website, she designs websites that no one will ever find me on, then the next step would be to do to purchase a template for either a Squarespace, Show it, which is what my platform currently is, or be really ambitious like Krystal with FG Funnels. And you can do a sales page on that you can even use Travel Fi, if you want just a really basic site. If you want to really go all in recommendation is that you start with where you want to be in three years, like it’s so much easier to start building a site, thinking about where you want to be in three years than to get to where you are going to be in three years and then have to transfer everything over. It’s a lot more expensive that way. My advice is always let’s just invest now, when you have some time, before wave season comes do it now and get on some of those black friday web specials. Whatever you need to do, and get yourself a really great site that we can optimize, then what we do is we just go into what I call the under the hood site, the backend or the site that you see not that your consumer sees and we start tagging it, we create meta descriptions. And we tag all the images with the search terms that we want to be searched under. Again, for me, that’s going to be adults at Disney or how to drink around the world. Or I have one that says where to see the characters if you want to be the princesses and not look at the princesses, all kinds of fun stuff like that. But then we can go to the next step, which is once we’ve got that website set up and the whole websites optimized, then we start creating weekly original content. And we optimize that for SEO that keeps our websites fresh. And Google counts that immensely in their algorithm. If you’re not constantly creating fresh content, Google’s going to think that COVID made you go under and they’re not going to keep indexing your site. So that’s really the most important thing. And what I teach the most about in my course is creating original content. I’m a writer. So for me that’s blogging. SoI love to blog.

Krystal Eicher 10:01
I’m going to cut straight to it because you know, we teach at Kinship Travel Academy, there’s three mediums that you can operate blog, vlog or podcasts. But at the end of the day, guys, all roads are going to lead to a blog. Because if you do a video, you’re still going to want to post it in your website as original content and write a small description of the video. Same thing with your podcast, and we do it with Travel Biz CEO. Travel Biz CEO lives on our blog, right, we repost the episode, and we put in show notes and transcripts and everything else again, because that helps our website become more SEO optimized that helps us become more discoverable to new people out in the world. And that means that when we put content out there, it doesn’t just exist in a flash and die. We don’t want our businesses to be Snapchat, we want to be able to put things out there in the world and be discoverable later on. Now, I’m going to circle back because a lot of people talk about, I’m going to create this website. And I think you made a really beautiful point to start where you want to be, because I think a lot of us tried to DIY and bootstrap things at the very beginning. Because we get overwhelmed by all the things we need to do to set up our businesses. There are certain things that you’re going to want to invest time and money into, and certain things that are not as important. And I do think guys, investing time into your website, which is your living, breathing storefront, putting it on a platform that gives you room to grow and expand as a travel entrepreneur later, is so much better for you in the long run than not. And when I say invest in your website, you guys, you can get entry level templates that are beautiful, that are wonderful on WordPress without spending $10,000, $5,000 on a web designer, but taking the time to invest the couple $100 to just get you on the right platform means that you’re saving a ton of time and money having to pay somebody to migrate you later on.

Michele Schwartz 12:07
Migration is no fun.

Krystal Eicher 12:09
Migration sucks guys

Michele Schwartz 12:11
#No migration.

Krystal Eicher 12:13
No, no to migration. In fact, a lot of people end up stuck on sites like Wix or other places, even though they know it’s not as great for SEO. But because the idea and the expense and the overwhelm of migrating later on is like too much to handle. I don’t want to do that.

Michele Schwartz 12:32
Amen. Have been through a few of myself.

Krystal Eicher 12:33
Yes, I mean, we just finished a migration from Kajabi to FG Funnels and holy smokes, I will never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever.

Michele Schwartz 12:44
And that’s it Krystal and I are telling you to not have to migrate because we both done it. And it sucks.

Krystal Eicher 12:51
It’s horrible. It’s so overwhelming. So if you can take the time and get yourself on a platform that can support you the right way from the beginning. And I can tell you guys honestly, I set up my first WordPress website as Serendipitous Traveler for $350. And what I did was I created a business plan in WordPress, I purchased a template, but my blog lived in that same website, everything was linked out beautifully right there. I think it made all the difference in the world so you can DIY it if you are technically ambitious, if you have the patience and the wherewithal to watch the YouTube videos and do it all. But I will tell you what, guys, Michele’s rolling her eyes at me right now she’s shaking her head. Most of us are not technically ambitious or technically savvy. And there are so many like this that you need to do in your business. That’s not a good fit or strategy for everyone. And I will tell you right now, I judge people when I go to your website, and it looks really messed up or it’s very kinder, I call it the kindergarten look where it looks very DIY. It makes me think that you’re not a professional, it makes me think that you’re not are you real?

Michele Schwartz 14:07
You’re not taking yourself seriously.

Krystal Eicher 14:09
You’re not you’re not taking yourself seriously and you wonder, in a world where the internet is this open ocean of all kinds of different backgrounds. Are you a scam artist? Are you going to just take my money and run? Are you really a travel professional? Can you really help me? There’s just a huge difference in being able to stand out appropriately. So yes, and that was a long, long way of coming back to please invest the time and money to do the appropriate research to get your foundation set up the right way from the get go. Because when you’re doing these things like being able to add on plugins to make on to make your SEO better being able to add on things in the background like where to house and store your original content.

Michele Schwartz 14:54
Small things like a plugin to what we call to smush your images with means to make them take up less space on a server is really important, because that’s probably why host agencies don’t really give you enough flexibility with their, “free sites” is because the more content there is, the more expensive it is to store that content. Again, I’m talking host provider, but not a travel agent, host provider, a host for your site.

Krystal Eicher 15:25
A web host.

Michele Schwartz 15:25
So yeah, so when we add plugins like smush, it, it puts those images at right sizes them, but it smashes the data in the image, so that it’s not taking up as much to store it if they’re right sized. And most of the metadata is still included. But it strips some of the data, it also makes your website load faster. That’s another SEO tip. Google is going to rank us based on constantly providing new and fresh content, making sure that our site loads properly, within one to three seconds makes a huge difference on whether you’re on page one or page three of Google. It’s huge. That’s another reason that those free templates, and they are free, but you get what you pay for. And I’m here telling you because I do believe that there is enough pie for all of us out there. A recent stat was that Disney actually books, like 90% of its business without travel agents. So that means there’s plenty of room for us to all grow. And that’s just Disney who knows about other suppliers. ? just opened a consumer facing site for people to buy their own travel insurance, we have to show our expertise. And we have to be able to crow at the top of the sky, how good we are that we’re worth the fees that we’re charging, and that we are experts and that people really shouldn’t be planning this on their own. And SEO helps, helps do that in your quote storefront. I mean, that’s what your website is. It’s your storefront, it’s where people are gonna walk in off the street and browse. They may not find anything that fits yet, but they really like what you have to offer. And so the next time, maybe you’ll have what fits and they’re going to come back to you. When I explained to people SEO I tell people to imagine your client and what the client journey looks like. So most of us when we want to plan a vacation, it starts with a Google search and they’re asking a question, I specialized in girlfriend getaway. So it’s like what are the top five girlfriend getaway destinations in 2022 would be an article that I would write in original content. To make it more my site more discoverable. You might Google mother daughter girlfriend getaways. If your site is tagged and is SEO optimized, you show up in those searches for your clients. And that’s actually how I ended up getting discovered by a lot of my clients at Serendipitous Traveler was they would actually say, Oh, I had Google, I was Googling sister vacations and your site came up. And when I popped onto your site, it was very clear that I specialized in girlfriend getaways. Or they would find a Pinterest article where I had written.

I was just going to say Pinterest and YouTube. We talk about Google as the one and only search engine. And certainly it’s the mama daddy of them all. And, and we definitely do our site optimizations based on Google. But there are two other really, really large search engines that you also want to pay attention to. No, I’m not talking about your Facebook or your Instagram, even though people do use those for search, it’s a whole nother thing. And right now, we’re not talking about social media, we’re talking about search engines. So the other two that are just under Google is YouTube. It’s the second largest search engine. And then Pinterest is the third largest search engine. For Google, we use SEO tactics, but we use the same tactics if we’re posting a video on YouTube or a rich pin on Pinterest. And the bottom line for all of these search engines is to get them to click on the link to go to your site. And that’s why it’s different than social media. Because for Facebook and Instagram, they want us to stay on their platforms, because if we click on links through them, they get money for advertising. You want to be building up your own audience and taking them from YouTube, Google or Pinterest, to your site, where you can then as Krystal just mentioned, control the client journey or the customer journey, and you can control that when they’re not on someone else’s platform when it’s on your platform on your website.

Krystal Eicher 19:45
Yes, I always tell agents that social media is rented property you’re paying to play and you are paying those platforms in the form of advertisements, usually to redirect them onto your website. That is why for so many agents who are starting out, we don’t have the money usually capital to invest in ads. So we rely more on an organic start strategy. SEO is a great way to integrate an organic strategy into your business by creating original content, optimizing it in your website, using keyword tags, letting it live organically on your site and sharing that on Pinterest and sharing our content on YouTube or sharing your content on other platforms that redirects people back to your house. Your property what you own.

Michele Schwartz 20:13
Great analogy. Love it. Correct.

Krystal Eicher 20:41

Michele Schwartz 20:42
Our fabulous Krystal will tell us once they get to our website, how we can engage with them and capture their information and what to do with it. Because she’s the marketing girlfriend guru.

Krystal Eicher 20:58
Yeah, stay tuned, guys, we’re gonna we’re gonna keep going into this further and further and further. SEO tips have fresh content on your sites. you’re updating your site continuously via a blog. That’s either housing, a written blog, a video blog, a blog, or podcast, okay, you want to optimize your site to make it load faster. Because that matters. Because how many times have we all clicked on a link and it’s loading, loading, loading? And what do we do? We just we just go away. We’re not gonna…

Michele Schwartz 21:27
We bounce is the actual term that Google uses is your bounce rate. So we bounce we’re out of there.

Krystal Eicher 21:34
Yeah, peace out? I don’t know, ain’t nobody got time for that. What are other tips that people can do to optimize their website, give us one more.

Michele Schwartz 21:43
Wow, I should have like seven right off the top of my head, I have too many. So I’m thinking of one that you can implement really easily find a naming convention that works really well. Let’s say your original weekly content is always tips about something or a review of something. Those words are really, really high search value. So I think every blog of mine is named Top 10 list of lists, recommendations, reviews are all really great ideas. And once you’re writing or blogging, or podcasting, that original content, you also want to show other businesses some love. So that’s my third top tip is make sure that you’re getting what we call internal links, and external links. And on those external links, you can show fellow small business people a lot of love by clicking by clicking to their site, I will give you my best example of that is as a Disney specialist, I met some ladies who have a site called Once Upon a Wardrobe. And they basically style Disney outfits for trips to Disney. And I’ve been using them for the last couple trips. And I tagged them in all of my stuff, because all my pictures are in their outfits. Well, that helps me because I am creating relationship with them. But it helps me because then Google recognizes that another site likes me and that I like this other site. And that gives us greater credibility, because it’s mutual attraction theory. If I like you, and you like me, then we are in love. And so Google loves us too.

Krystal Eicher 23:27
I love that. No. And I think that agents get stuck in that because they’re worried about redirecting people off their site. And you guys have to really fight that because it helps in your search ability later on. Likewise, when you’re showing other sites or other people some love, it increases the chance that they are going to reciprocate as well. You can set up your outlines your external links, so when you hyperlink text in your website, and so for example, if Michelle says, I grabbed my outfit from Once Upon a Wardrobe, check them out here and she hyperlinks to them, she can set up that hyperlink to open in a new window, they’re not leaving your site, they’re going to open up in a new window to go to your site. But when it comes to an SEO rating, that helps boost your SEO. So anytime we link out to other agents link out to guest post or I loved I when I was Serendipitous Traveler I love to link out to inspirations for things. So this blog post was inspired by a podcast that I heard from Brene Brown or this was I might link out to some of the sites that I’m recommending or some of the food or the restaurants that I love when I want to visit these places. That restaurant would reciprocate by saying hey, thanks for the shout out Serendipitous Traveler we love having girlfriend getaways here too. That helps increase my reach and my visibility. The love just keeps going and like Michele said, it’s not about taking a bigger slice of the pie guys. It’s about creating more pie highs. And this is a relationship games, the more relationships that you can make, and then you can show to Google or to the internet powers that be that I have these great relationships and they are reciprocated and they are positive, the more they are like, yes, we want to show more of that great love all the way around.

Michele Schwartz 25:19
Yeah, I just had one happen the other day where somebody responded to my post that I had made on my blog, and then they linked to my blog and their social media, it always all comes around to what’s on your website. If you’re tagging people appropriately, then other people are checking their analytics, and they’ll see that you posted to them. And they will share the love exactly, they will show the love and it makes Google happy. And it makes us happy. It’s just great.

Krystal Eicher 25:52
And it shows that you don’t exist in a vacuum, that you are an actual professional a business operating out in the world. Because again, the internet’s this big, open ocean, you guys, there’s trillions and trillions of things out there to be discovered and found. Linking yourself in the interwebs basically helps you become a greater entity to be found later on. So we want to be able to partner with local businesses and highlight them. I love Michele’s example of somebody outside of her industry that had a direct link to her industry to partner with or link up to like, Once Upon a Wardrobe. So outfits for Disney. There’s so many different things that you can do and create in your world to partner with. Because again, our ideal clients are not monoliths. I’m actually working with Michele on a Disney trip myself, I don’t just need her travel planning services. I also am thinking about what am I going to wear when I’m at the parks, what food am I going to eat while I’m there? What other tips and tricks can I have? She’s going to look at me as okay, we can bring in all of these different things service. And again, it just makes her business more added value.

Michele Schwartz 27:06
Right. And even though I do say that, there’s enough pie out there for all of us. And that’s true, I still want to be known as the Disney expert. Having those relationships again, it helps build my credibility, it just helps build my know, like and trust factor and build my SEO on my site. All at the same time. SEO is just a win win win. And it’s a must do you very easily could get your eyes glazed over when I start talking about it down in the weeds. But hopefully simple things like having a naming convention, having some external links, making sure your meta tags for your objects are correct and up to date. And creating original content, which is always and forever going to be my number one my most important one, then those are pretty easy hacks, you will have improved your searchability by implementing one of them. But just think if you implemented all four of those really, very easy like you could do it in an hour, kind of tasks, how much better you’re going to feel. And I say you could do those in five minutes, I do just want to go back to what I said at the very, very beginning. Those are five minute tasks to an hour long tasks, if you’re already on the right platform. And if you’re not stop this web, stop this podcast right now. Go set up your website on the right platform, and then come back and listen to us. Because doing all of those quick, easy steps is not going to get you far enough to where you want to be if you’re still on a free agency template or a Wix site. Now, I’m not saying invest a ton of money to move off of Wix onto something else, but invest some money when you can. I know we’ve all had a terrible, horrible year, but but the tide is turning. Right? I feel it to the tides turning the crowds are getting bigger. It’s time to take your website to the next level. And then we can help implement all of those quick and easy tips.

Krystal Eicher 29:12
Awesome. Well, we are going to link out to the show notes. Michele has this awesome Facebook group. Could you just talk to us a little bit about that. But one of the biggest things that and you can correct me if I’m wrong when the biggest things that agents can do for SEO to make them more searchable is to put original content on your site, okay,

Michele Schwartz 29:30

Krystal Eicher 29:30
If you are a student of K TA, you know that we teach at KTA you start with original content and then you move on to the other parts of your account. So original content first. So if you create your blog post your original content first and then we worry about creating social media posts or other things whereas most agents start the other way. They get so into the weeds about what am I going to post on Instagram today that they’re not creating original content and we want to flip that script and we want you to start with original content that you then repurpose on your social media platforms that we repurpose in your email, newsletters, etc, etc, etc. But a lot of people get stuck on this idea of what do I write, Michele has this great resource for you guys. And I’d like you to share your Facebook group with our listeners, please.

Michele Schwartz 30:22
Thank you. So it is on Facebook, it’s called the First Class Blogging Academy. It’s a group, it’s not a page. So you have to go there and ask permission, and I give you permission to join, if you’re a Travel Advisor, or someone who is friendly and works with travel advisors, but we don’t have big hosts agencies or suppliers on there is what I’m saying. And then every month, I post an editorial calendar to help you create that original content. All of the suggestions that I give you are things that people will be searching, I posted the November one already. Once a week, I also go in there and give you writing prompts, as well as show you what I’ve written and how it links or I give you a template for writing a blog post, you’re surrounded by other agents who are walking down this hill, I need help with ideas for this content, or how do I take this piece of writing that I did, and improve it for SEO? or Now what should I grab out to do for Facebook, I’m there for all that. I love to help people like Krystal reached out to me with just questions and I helped the KTA site get optimized their blog, I love to help. And I’m always willing to proofread or talk to you. Because I do 100% believe that it’s good karma. And to pay it forward creating those relationships. Again, it’s helpful,

Krystal Eicher 31:49
Which is a good point. Because you guys, a lot of us are not born knowing SEO or we don’t have the blogging Queen background that Michele has you guys, this is something that if you’re like I have listened to the entire podcast, I have no idea what the heck she talked about, hire somebody to help set up your website and optimize it on the backend. Michele said we at Kinship Travel Academy hired Michele to set up the back end of our blog, because I knew that there were so many things I didn’t know or understand. So somebody just to go in in the backend, and show me what it is that we need to do to help us get naming conventions, like she had said, set us up on the right path, set us up with the right templates, set us up with the right set up on our WordPress site, so that it would help optimize our SEO, if you’re in the weeds on that reach out to Michele, she’s amazing.

Michele Schwartz 32:40
It wasn’t very expensive.

Krystal Eicher 32:42
It wasn’t very expensive. But it was worth every single penny to have her set those things up. And it does it helps us in our searchability it helps us rise up in the Google rankings. It just helps more people like listeners like yourself, find our podcast and find our content out there. And that’s the whole point you guys. I mean, we love creating content for travel agents. We love doing what we do. But we’re not the Red Cross. We’re still a business. We want people to find us and I don’t want to just talk in a room by myself, which is what podcasting sometimes feels like if I’m not doing it via zoom with somebody else. I want people to discover our content. I want people to find me when I blogged for Serendipitous Traveler I didn’t want to be the girlfriend, getaway guru that nobody had ever heard of. I wanted to be THE girlfriend getaway guru. So I wanted girlfriend getaway groups to find me and hire me because I’m not the Red Cross. I was there to make some money. And you are to you want to be discoverable online. And this is a great organic way to do that is to keep SEO in mind when you are setting up your websites.

Michele Schwartz 32:51
Right. And of course, you know, I went on my soapbox about creating the original content once a week and getting your site on the right platform, which is very, very important in order for someone to know like and trust you and I’m waiting for Krystals expression or face to be like, Oh, you have to be talking to the right person. So every single blog posts that I write, I am channeling my inner Carrie Bradshaw. I am talking to Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda because those are my people. That’s who I want to book travel for. They don’t have littles. Well, Charlotte does but let’s just say you know, she likes her girlfriend trips, they have bachelorette parties. Those are my people. And so every time I create content, I’m writing to them. So if you’re having trouble doing that first before you do anything else, then I know that KTA is a great, great resource for that when I struggle, and I do because I don’t know everything about being a Travel Advisor. I know a lot about blogging. KTA always has the right resource to help get over that hump. So we’re going to define our ideal client, get on the right web platform. And then we can look at all the other easy things to do. And of course, we’re going to be doing that a lot in November because we have a special project coming and we’re going to be ready to start 2022 like 2020 never happened.

Krystal Eicher 35:26
I love that goal. I really love that goal. Alright, guys, we’re gonna wrap it there, link in show notes out to all the amazing places that you can find Michele, her First Class Blogging Academy, she has a course coming up, and then we’re actually collaborating on a project that’s going to drop on Black Friday. So link in show notes for that. If you want to be on the waitlist to be the first to hear about that special project. We will catch you guys next week. In the meantime, you know, start thinking about your fresh content. Bye, guys.

Hey guys, we hope you enjoyed today’s episode, take a screenshot and share it on social media and be sure to tag us at Kinship Travel Academy or #TravelBizCEO and if you loved us, don’t forget to subscribe and leave us a review. If you are a home based Travel Advisor looking for community and support we invite you to check out Kinship CEO Membership. Kinship CEO Membership is for travel agents looking for education and support in business marketing and mindset. Members get access to past and future courses, monthly coaching calls and our private community of agents. The love of travel just isn’t enough. You have to have solid business foundations, marketing strategies and a healthy mindset to make it and that’s why we teach all three you can find us at to learn more. Here’s to you. We’ll see you at the next level.

Transcribed by

Blog Title: Taking Clients from Quote to Close
Travel Agency Sales, Travel Business CEO, Uncategorized

Travel Biz CEO: Taking Your Clients from Quote to Close

Have you ever sent out a quote or a proposal and then….crickets?

Yep! We all have.

A lot of training we receive when we enter the industry is very supplier centric. Very little is done on sales. And when you mention the word “sales” many agents cringe. It feels unnatural or yucky. But if you don’t have a solid sales process then you will always struggle to grow your travel business. That is why we are so lucky to invite Dana Zificsak to the podcast.

In her 8 years as a travel agent, Dana has booked thousands of vacations for clients and developed and delivered training programs for travel professionals. A teacher at heart, prior to joining the travel industry, she taught Spanish for 10 years. Just like how she used to break down the Spanish language for her students, she breaks down the language of sales and marketing so agents can close more bookings. She teaches a step-by-step quoting and closing process to help you close more sales.

Every Monday, she sends out 3 post ideas to get your social media content going for the week. Sign up here:

To learn more about the project that Dana and Krystal have been collaborating on visit

Want more of the Travel Biz CEO Podcast? You can listen on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts or wherever you get your pod on!

Transcription of today’s show below:

Krystal Eicher 0:00
Because it’s not just enough to purvey pretty pictures online. It’s not just enough to show the product. We have to sell the product and we have to sell more specifically our brand, and our services in purveying the product.

Hey, travel advisors, you’re 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 systems, 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 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 everybody, Krystal here. I am joined by Dana, who has become a very lovely friend and a travel industry colleague. We’re here today to talk about how to take your quotes from just a quote to sales. How many of us have sent out quotes over the years doing this? And what you hear back is what crickets it’s the worst? Like, what the heck, where did they go? They just ghosted me and they wasted all my time and we get super frustrated. So before we go any further, Dana, say hi, introduce yourself.

Dana Zificsak 2:12
Hi, my name is Dana Zificsak. I have been in the travel industry for eight years. I’ve been an independent contractor for multiple agency, a couple agencies. I’ve also spent time training new agents. Now I have a business where I actually teach agents how to learn the marketing and sales language to convert their followers and their potential clients into client. I was a Spanish teacher before I was a travel agent. So it’s a nice melding of the two professions, I get to teach again and it’s also breaking down language. Which is what I spent 10 years of my life doing.

Krystal Eicher 2:51
So I always heard, it was like if you have the heart of a teacher, you have the patience and the ability to break things down and explain things in such a way that other people can understand. Because I think a lot of the industry education out there and I’m using air quotes, she and I are on zoom right now. So she can see if you can a lot of the industry education out there tells you all the things you should do. But the taking that extra step to break it down and say what does that mean? And how do we get there. And this is the way in which we need to use to make it happen is just a really special thing.

Dana Zificsak 3:24
I think a lot of our training is so supplier centric.

Krystal Eicher 3:28

Dana Zificsak 3:28
When you sign on as an agent, it’s like do the supplier training, do the supplier training, you need to get into the portal. Unless you have a business background or unless you have a background in marketing everything else is kind of just winging it. I was winging it for years and then I started figuring out what I was doing right. And then that’s how I trained other people. Someone said to me, I guess it was a while ago said, well, marketing is a language. It’s like, yes, it is. I realized, yes, there’s a language to how we can market and engage with people and not be that car salesman. Or to make sure that we are communicating that booking with us is different than booking with Orbitz or booking online. There’s a difference between what I know and what the algorithm knows or what a computer knows,

Krystal Eicher 4:15
Right, ecause you’re not just a booking agent that’s doing a search to try and find the room you’re advising on the right fit. All the processes that go along with it. It’s an actual service. And I think people forget that, that you actually are a service provider and not a booking agent. Yeah, you’re right. When people sign into this industry, and we’re sold Oh, you love travel, you should just sell travel. We forget that there’s this whole other side of it to running a business including actually bringing people into the business. How do you make the sales to grow your client list? How do you market your business? It’s all of these things that are missing. What I love is – so Dana teaches the step by step quoting and closing process in her program. She runs a, and we’re gonna link all this in the show notes, but she runs a Facebook group called Stop Missing Out on Travel Sales, she runs all these things and actually talks about the language that you can use to ask for the sale because it’s not just enough to purvey pretty pictures online. It’s not just enough to show the product, we have to sell the product. And we have to sell more specifically, our brand. And our services in purveying the product. That’s not taught enough in our industry.

Dana Zificsak 5:32
This is a little bit off of talking about the sales strategies, but also something I see a lot is, especially right now with the post COVID suppliers are giving us so much, you know, we’re getting opportunities to go and experience destinations I, you know, I follow a lot of traveling agents.

Krystal Eicher 5:49

Dana Zificsak 5:49
A lot of travel agents, and I love them all dearly. But there’s a way of using these events to build business or to build an influencer status. We need to build a business, not the influencers. People are writing Oh, look at me, I’m you know, on this cruise, well, what is you being on the cruise how does that help your client? So we have to think and like, you know, that’s why we have a personal busines, a personal Facebook page, you post all the pictures you want, you can make your friends jealous. But like on the business group or on the business page, it needs to be phrased in a way that the client can see why this is benefiting them.

Krystal Eicher 6:27

Dana Zificsak 6:29
That’s another thing I like to teach is how to make your experiences turn into booking, not just people saying I want to be an agent.

Krystal Eicher 6:37
No, you’re right. I think a lot of people think oh, you’re a travel agent, you get to like travel for free, which sometimes is the case. But also all the free travel in the world that suppliers give you are not going to make you have a profitable business. And at the end of the day, we all want profitable businesses. So I always tell members, you need to answer the question so what? So what? Take it to the next step connect the dots for your audience because they won’t naturally connect it on their own.

Dana Zificsak 7:06
No, you get less than three seconds for someone to really be affected by anything you post. If it’s not in the first couple words or Oh, she’s just posting from the beach again. Lucky her.

Krystal Eicher 7:18
Yeah. Nice. How many times have we heard that? Must be nice.

Dana Zificsak 7:23
That’s a whole nother, whole nother,

Krystal Eicher 7:25
Another podcast we’re gonna have.

Dana Zificsak 7:27
I know that really is, that really is. Today I wanted to talk about the three things that agents do that make them miss out on sales, like my group is missing out on sale, three things we do in the sales process. And it goes back to us starting in the industry. Nobody tells you this is how you do it. I remember my very first client was one of my neighbors. This just tells you how I, my business and my personality. A friend of mine, and one of my neighbors, she posted on Facebook that she saw this Groupon deal for Jamaica, me I had literally just signed my contract like two days before. I had no idea anything about Jamaica. I was like I told her I said this is a scam. This is not a scam. But I said this doesn’t look very nice. Like you know you pay for what you get when you go to another country. So I got her to book with a with a different resort well, and booked with me, but I just called it out. And I said, but I didn’t know what I was doing. I had no idea when I went to book I was like what do I have to do? There’s no training for it. There’s no there was no there just wasn’t fit, but I’ll never forget I was like, you can’t you can’t book that. Let me take care of you. And I knew I could service her better than Groupon. But again, it was going by instinct. There was no there was no manual. There was no guide book. There was just here. Here’s your contract here your log, here’s your login for Vax, have fun and that’s how a lot of us, certinaly now some agencies have great onboarding and great training taught everywhere a lot and totally now, a lot of agencies now are offering it. That’s amazing. So many are still just thrown to the wolves, especially the sales with the sales process. Well the first area where a lot of agents I think skip or they don’t do enough of is qualify, qualifying a new client, qualifying a lead. A lead can come in the form of a direct message, a text message, an email, a quote request form, an inquiry form all these things. If you get an a lead like that, don’t you dare make a quote. Don’t you dare. Even if you have dates, and ages and dates of birth, don’t go to a quote yet. Do not because you’re skipping a step you have to qualify. Qualifying means that you are getting down to the experience you want your client to have on resort. Like for example, if you are selling a Beaches resort, I’m going to use this example from my son. So if you’re selling a resort that has different levels of service, they have the butler level, theyhe entry level, you’re there and you know, of course, there’s different views and everything. If you’re there, and your clients there, and they see that, oh, there’s these resorts, these rooms right on the beach, and they have a butler bringing them stuff. How come? How do we get into that? And they’re in this entry level group. So in a week, in two weeks, we’re going to be in Turks and Caicos and I got, I’m going for a FAM. But my husband and son are coming along as well. So I booked them their own entry level room, because with the FAM, I couldn’t bring guests, so I just booked them their own rooms that way, you know, everybody, you know, everybody’s legit. Now, I told them, I said, you’re having your own vacation. I’m working the first three days, you’re not gonna see me. My son goes to me he’s like, you’re not gonna see us.

Krystal Eicher 7:39
Good for him.

Dana Zificsak 8:55
He’s like, entry level room does that mean the cheapest room? I said, yeah, he’s like, our view is gonna.

Krystal Eicher 10:53
He’s not wrong.

Unknown Speaker 10:55
He’s not wrong. But I said, child, you’re going to Turks and Caicos.

Krystal Eicher 10:59
And you’re not wrong. Yeah.

Dana Zificsak 11:01
But that’s, that’s how, but see, he’s a child, he’s nine. I’ve been doing this since he was in diapers. So he has grown up with me in the travel agents in the travel business. So he knows entry level means they have view, it means no butler means all those things. Our clients know, they just see a price. They don’t know what that experience is. Yes, they don’t have the benefit of having a mom who works in the travel industry and knowing different things. Our clients are coming into this blind, and not until they get on property. If you’re just giving them the lowest price they get there, they get to Turks and Caicos and they see the beach butler’s and like, wait a second, where’s our butler? Dana, where’s our butler?

Krystal Eicher 11:47
And then they miss out on an experience. You guys FOMO is a real thing on vacation. Like people really don’t want to be left out of the experience. But they didn’t know it was an option.

Dana Zificsak 12:00

Krystal Eicher 12:00
A lot of times people will assume those options to upgrade are so beyond their budget or their price range, because a lot of us will think butler service and they’ll think, Oh, that’s a 20 grand vacation. My budget won’t even allow for that. But we know better. And we know and we have the ability to give people what they not just what they want, but also what they need and what they are really desiring and are looking for.

Dana Zificsak 12:24
Yeah, a lot of times they’ll upgrade on property. Like they’ll see it and they’ll upgrade how much loss commission is that for me? That’s a lot of loss commission. That’s why this qualifying process, before you even issue a quote before you do anything, it’s so important to take the time on the phone. Now, I know a lot of clients right now we’re not phone people, much prefer text or email, go back and forth on email. I prefer email over text, because then I have a documentation trail. But sometimes you just have to do this. Sometimes you just have to do what they want to do because that’s just how how it is. Ask those questions. You have to educate them on what the resort is like, or where they want to go is like. Then pull in hey do they want this? Do they want that? Do they want, ould you prefer a room that is larger, but has a garden view? Or a smaller room but it has an ocean view? What kind of view do you want? Cuz sometimes people are like, I don’t really care about the view until they get there. And then they’re like, why is my view this this dumpster? I’m like, well, because you’ve chose the standard view. That’s what the standard view is.

Krystal Eicher 12:25

Dana Zificsak 13:31
And I even in my quotes, too, I even put View, Standard View equals parking lot view equals it’s the view that nobody wants nobody requests. It’s the lowest price. So if you don’t care, then that’s one thing. But tell me if you care about this.

Krystal Eicher 13:49
And some people will and some people won’t. There’s different priorities.

Dana Zificsak 13:52
Oh yeah, absolutely.

Krystal Eicher 13:53
Across the board. And I think that asking that question, and really understanding it – It’s funny because my husband and I booked an Alaska cruise next year, we’re doing a Disney cruise with the kids. And we actually had this argument is the view important? And we like went back and forth.

Dana Zificsak 14:07
Oh it is in Alaska.

Krystal Eicher 14:08
And that’s what I told him. I said, I really think in Alaska in particular, because we’ve done Disney cruises but we’ve done inside cabins because the view wasn’t as important we spent most of the time out of the room. And so it was like a really like serious conversation back and forth of does the view matter this time? Does it not? I was telling you the story of I just hired a Disney agent to plan our family Disney vacation and she was asking me the questions of what’s more important the room or your experiences because a lot of people give us an overall budget of 8000 10,000 7000 6000 You know, whatever it is. Well, you and I all know that that we have to work within a budget. That’s their entire budget. But one, people don’t know what things cost usually. I certainly didn’t when it came to planning this Disney trip. I have no idea where to even begin to budget for a Disney World trip for a family of four. So that’s one thing that we have to educate people on a realistic budget and help set those expectations because people are willing to usually bump if they know that the possibility for more is there or they know that that their particular budget won’t get them that far.

Or they have to modify the number of days say you put in a quote request for your Disney trip, somebody just acted like computer gave you a quote right back like didn’t, didn’t qualify you at all just gave you some random option if one of the options was $12,000 you’re like, I can’t afford Disney goodbye.

But and to really be able to ask the question and what I love so much about this agent was she actually asked the question she goes, what’s more important Krystal? Is it your room? Is it the pools because we told her we wanted to do like just a day relaxing in between because I got two small kids and going hard multiple days in a row sounds terrible to me. Because well, what’s more important the pool or the the food or the experiences, you know, to be able to like pay to do extra things on property like Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. By the way, guys, I don’t even know all the things I didn’t know about Disney. Can I just throw that out there?

Dana Zificsak 15:45
It’s a little scary. It’s scary.

Krystal Eicher 16:13
Yeah, you all Disney agents don’t even charge enough for all the knowledge that you guys know about. But, but I didn’t know what I didn’t know. And to walk me through all of that and educate me about, you could work in this budget, it would put you in this property. But I actually think based on everything that you’ve told me today, this is a better fit for you. And this is why these are two other options. And it’s gonna push you a little bit beyond your budget. Man, she upsold me.

Dana Zificsak 16:41
But she was listening to what you wanted.

Krystal Eicher 16:43
Yeah. Yeah. Before I knew it, I had increased my budget by like $1,500 without even blinking an eye. Because I didn’t even know that was an option tome.

Dana Zificsak 16:54
Oh, yeah.

Krystal Eicher 16:55
To be a to do…

Dana Zificsak 16:56
That’s why the budget question is such a loaded question. I don’t even have it on my request form. Somebody is just picking a number. And if they have a hard budget, they will make it known that they have a hard budget. But if somebody is just looking and curious, because they don’t know what a Disney Vacation entails, that’s a big thing. Definitely qualifying is so important and it’s something that a lot of agents skip over. The reason why people don’t book with them, a lot of people say, well, people say they can just book it online why would they book with me? Well, if you’re just doing the exact same thing that the algorithm or the machine, if the machine… how old so I sound?

The machines.

Yeah, the machine. But you know, magical website. If you’re only doing that you’re not asking them questions that will get them into what they want, then why would they book with you. And that’s a hard thing to say because you want to show them that you’re valuable, and that your knowledge is valuable. But if you’re just spitting things back at them, numbers and rooms and categories and all that without any sort of context or any sort of education, they’re going to book on their own because they’re like, well, okay, why am I going to get this stranger my credit card? Alright, that’s qualifying. So then we go over to following up. I know these statistics shock you and I have to say I didn’t make up these. I have, there’s this article called Tenacity Results in Sales by Robert Clay of Marketing Wizdom W I Z D O M. So this is an article, I have it printed out in front of me, because I can’t remember numbers, he says the different studies carried out at different times, different places, by different…so he’s, you know, he’s doing like an overall summary. It’s not like just one study or that study. I’m married to a medicinal chemist so like when I reference statistics, and studies, I have to give my sources like, well, this isn’t one study, but Oh, yeah.

Krystal Eicher 18:54
Um I love that actually.

Dana Zificsak 18:56
Where’s the peer review? Where’s the peer reviewed research? Take this as just somebody who’s observed, okay. 80% of non routine sales occur only after at least five follow ups, five follow ups. How many times? Are you following up with your people?

Krystal Eicher 19:15
Oh, definitely not, not enough, if it’s five,

Dana Zificsak 19:18
I didn’t know this when I started. I mean, I maybe remembered to follow up once. Maybe, maybe. But they had the quote if they wanted to book, they could come back. I stopped to think how many more clients would I have if I did this earlier? Like I’m very fortunate. I have lots of lots of clients. So I’m happy but I’m like, Man, where would I be if I implemented this eight years ago?

Krystal Eicher 19:44
I’m collectively feeling the cringe of listeners right now at that thought. So you know, guys, it’s okay. From here forward five touchpoints. Five touchpoints.

Dana Zificsak 19:53
Now, here’s the statistics that he goes on to review. Again, not peer reviewed and not from an official study, but we’re gonna just go with the statistics here. 44% of sales people give up after one no. 44% Give up after one no, that’s almost half. 22% give up after two no’s. 12% give up after four no’s. So that’s 92% altogether. 14% also give up three no’s. But numbers all go together. But 92% of salespeople give up after four no’s. That leaves 8%, 8% of people go the extra mile.

Krystal Eicher 20:26
That puts into good context, because I think the number one thing I hear from agents is I need more clients. But if only 8%, in general, of sales people are following up appropriately to take that across the finish line. No wonder we’re all…

Dana Zificsak 20:42
No wonder Yep, goes back to we weren’t trained. We weren’t told this stuff.

Krystal Eicher 20:48
Suppliers don’t mention that in their training about the room categories.

Dana Zificsak 20:51
No, they don’t. No they just want you to know what this category is. And nothing, we do need to know those things. We do need to know these things. But we need to know these things too. 8% ask for the order a fifth time. So consider that 80% of prospects say no four times before they say yes, the inference is that 8% of sales people are getting 80% of the sales. So are you if you’re listening, are you in that 8% getting 80% of the sales? Having a follow up system is really… it’s a commitment to get it started. But then once you have it set up, it runs itself if you have it set up correctly.

Krystal Eicher 21:27
And you have it set up automatically in your business, correct?

Dana Zificsak 21:30
I do I use Air Table, which is it’s like a spreadsheet thing. I don’t know, somebody shared it with me. And I really liked it. My CRM for my host agency probably could do it. But it doesn’t talk well with Macs and I have a Mac, so I just gave up on that. But I think most people’s host agencies have a CRM that will do this for you, you just have to take the time to put the information in. I put in the date that I issued the quote, and then I have it set up this many days, send this email, this many days send this email, it’s an automatic thing, I just have to remember to put it in the Air Table or you know, I know many CRMs have this ability.

Krystal Eicher 22:09
Because we use we use Funnel Gorgeous. So it would be a matter of like we drop them into a workflow that sends an email on day one, wait, if they don’t respond, then send another one. TravelJoy gives you guys this option. If you guys set it up on your task list, you can put reminders to send out an email and you could create an email to your autoresponder that’s a whole other thing.

Dana Zificsak 22:30
That’s a whole other training setting it up.

Krystal Eicher 22:32
Because, because if you can systemize it one, it’s just it’s a great way to be part of that 8%. But without getting stressed up and doing all the extra work. And that’s why systemising those things is so important.

Dana Zificsak 22:45
That was the key for me to being able to follow through on this because I am not going to… no matter how many reminders I set or anything like that. I am personally not going to but setting up the system is a whole nother training, right?

Krystal Eicher 22:59
That’s podcast return number three, that we’ve got you tagged for Dana.

Dana Zificsak 23:02
I have to put them into the confirmed category after they book. If not, they still get the emails and I’ve learned the lesson the hard way. Like the next day someone’s like, your hold is expiring they’re Dana I deposit. Oops, sorry.

Krystal Eicher 23:19
We need to move you down the pipeline.

Yep make sure that you are you know, and you confirm them, you also confirm them in that because then they get these scary emails. I’m like, yes, my system works too well. But we’re like, you know, wait, I thought we I thought I already deposited this and they’re all confused. And I’m like, oh, gosh, okay, Dana pay attention. But the thing is, the follow up strategy is something that you really do need to look at. I know for me, I have closed more sales using this strategy in the past couple of months, because I just learned about this maybe in May. I knew that following up was important. You know, the sales are in the follow up this whole, you know, the five no’s and things like that. I was like, wow, I really need to, I really need to test this and this is what I it’s so funny. I tell my husband and husband who is an actual scientist. I’m like I experiment with sales and marketing. I am an experimenter. He just rolls his eyes. I am not you know I’m not scientific or mathematical but…

I call it ABT. I call it ABT always be testing.

Dana Zificsak 24:29
Yes, we’re always testing things out. And so I think playing with words and language and that’s what I do. It’s like I’ve come up with these like magic phrases like the one is my second follow up, which is when the hold is expiring. So depending on the supplier, it might be you know, three days, seven days or whatever the whatever the supplier is, but I have it set up where it says Hi, Krystal, I wanted to let you know your hold is expiring today. Would you like to confirm your room or should I let it go? Well, if you have crickets, I’d highly recommend that phrase, should we deposit your room? Or should I let it go? People always respond like, either oh, yes, I’m going to put my deposit through or Oh, no, we haven’t decided yet you can let it go. That is like the magic phrase. If you put that in there on the day, it’s expiring. I don’t know it gets people to respond. At least it gives you an idea of where they are. Some people aren’t ready to confirm. But also it’s like, oh, well, this room is expiring. And I also put some little thing in like any pricing we confirmed will have to be repriced. So if somebody is wanting to get that room, they’ll deposit it. If not, and but a lot of times, they still respond, which solves the crickets problem, because a lot of times we put out quotes, and then we don’t hear anything back. Did they get my quote?

Krystal Eicher 25:44
And what that language does, go back to that how language is so important. And there is a language to marketing and sales. There is a sense of urgency that needs to be a part of all of our formulas. Now, urgency gets a bad rap sometimes, because sometimes businesses like there’s like false senses of urgency, and there’s made up senses of urgency, but everybody needs a reason to act now. Because if any of us has the opportunity to put it off until later, we will. We will sorry, we just procrastinate and things we get busy, we get tied up with kids and our families and our lives and our million other clients and the million other things we have to do with our own businesses. It’s the same for your clients. So being able to create that. I just thought of that when he said that that little sense of urgency gives a call to action to act now. Before it’s too late. It’s not a false sense of urgency. It’s not a yucky sales tactic and say, hey, this is this is important.

Dana Zificsak 26:40
I put this hold on for you. Yeah, I put this hold on for you. It’s gonna expire. wanted to let you know, sense of urgency. And also it’s something that belongs to them. It’s like right now that’s their room.

Krystal Eicher 26:49

Dana Zificsak 26:51
But if we let it go, might not be your room. Even though we know, you know, there might be plenty of rooms, but I put this on hold for you.

Krystal Eicher 26:59

Dana Zificsak 26:59
But sometimes it might be the only room, Like the past couple of months inventory and things like that sometimes it was the last room. I mean, you know, it’s like, no, you have to deposit this or you won’t get it.

Krystal Eicher 27:12
I know I don’t think actually if I go back to that same Disney qualifying call that got me to put down the deposit right there on the call, like, oh, actually, this is like the other the other lower category is not even available. It’s all booked up. So you might want to just grab this before, before it’s too late. But yes, please look me in that category.

Dana Zificsak 27:32
That is a very real issue right now, because there’s a lot of demand and not a lot of supply at hotels, resorts, because they’re still short staffed, so they can’t fill to capacity, even if they want to. So really, it’s an issue we are seeing on our side. Our clients don’t know that. I mean, they it’s true, it makes sense to them when you explain it.

Krystal Eicher 27:55
But they’re, you’re right. They don’t know that because I had somebody actually call me the other day because they were working with an agent and they got a quote. And they said this feels high to me. And I took a look at it and I go actually I think they really great deal. Because the reality is that currently inventory is low demand is high. Nobody knows all the things we know that we take for granted regularly,

Dana Zificsak 28:19
You have to take yourself out of the agent role and think of yourself as a client. And that’s hard for us because we live in our echo chambers, because we’re in all the travel agent groups on social media, and then we follow all the travel people. So it’s like, it’s all we see. That’s not what our clients are seeing. They’re, you know, blissfully unaware mostly.

Krystal Eicher 28:41

Dana Zificsak 28:42
So following up and then the last part is closing. Like I said, in my emails, I say, here’s how you deposit, that’s a call to action. It’s a call to close. But a lot of people don’t want to ask for that sale. And that’s a lot of mindset with that. It’s a lot of fear that someone’s going to say no, you fear that, you know, oh, I’m not good enough. I’m bothering them. There’s a lot of these negative things that we have going in our heads and actually a really good book because it’s completely off topic but John Acuff Soundtracks is about this and I’m reading it right now. It’s excellent, because it’s about those things we keep telling ourselves over and over again, it’s like a soundtrack in our head. You know, a very common soundtrack to travel agents have is I’m bothering them, you know, I don’t want to I don’t want them to think I’m aggressive or I don’t want them to say no. Like Babe Ruth says, don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing in the game. You have to, like in baseball, you have to go up and you have to swing you’re going to strike out more times then you’re going to hit a home run. But for that one home run, a lot of striking out to do and that’s how it isn’t sales. We are going to be told no over and over and over again. If you’re not being told at least five times a week. You need to be asking for the sale more, because not everybody sent me that magical unicorn client that tells you exactly what they want and what they want. They don’t do that there are the unicorns, and we love them because they make life a lot easier. But we don’t have all the unicorns. We have people who have lives, and they’re not quite sure what they want. It’s a whole lot of patience, a whole lot of waiting. But a whole lot of asking, too, and making sure and that kind of the closing goes in with the following up, because you are inviting them to both to make the next step. Because if you follow up, you don’t tell them how to book well, then that kind of defeats the purpose of following up a little bit, it can still respond back, but you have to be explicit, you have to give them the instructions of how to take the next step, people are not going to assume nobody will infer anything from anyone, we have way too much going on in our heads, nobody is going to read your mind, we have to give them the instructions. And even though you gave them the instructions, in the quote, they don’t remember, they can’t find the quote,

Krystal Eicher 30:58
They didn’t read it. They didn’t read it. They didn’t read it.

Dana Zificsak 31:02
You know, you can even copy and paste from the message they’re replying to and say, here’s how you deposit. Just leave it, you have to do things over and over again. And it’s not because you’re being an aggressive salesperson. It’s not that it’s just that people are so busy and so preoccupied, that they forget, or they don’t read the whole email, how many people have a friend that don’t read any of the emails, and they just rely on you to have all the information because I don’t read that I don’t read emails.

Krystal Eicher 31:31
The best example is I was I was actually doing a handoff for a client, I had an inquiry not a good fit. And I said, you know, I’ve got another agent friend, great fit for you. I really think they’re going to take so much better care of you. So I do the email to do the handoff, my agent friend responds to the client says, I cannot wait to work with you. I have all these destination weddings going out this week. So I but let’s schedule time next Monday. And he replies back I can’t wait to work with you. Let’s get something on the books this week. My agent friend laughs she goes clearly reading, reading is his strong suit. And I said it’s not a but it’s not just that that’s so normal. You guys, normally there are only halfway paying attention. There’s assumptions on what you’re gonna say. And so many people have never worked with a travel agent before. You don’t know how this works.

Dana Zificsak 32:19
And you need to have patience. This is a long game.

Krystal Eicher 32:23

Dana Zificsak 32:23
It is not for the weak of heart.

Krystal Eicher 32:26

Dana Zificsak 32:26
You know, like you have to do things that are going to scare you because those are the things that are going to bring you to the next level. When you’re comfortable that means you’re not challenging yourself enough and you’re not going to grow. If something makes you a little scared, then that’s what you have to do. Because that little feeling in your stomach that you know gives you a little anxiety. That’s the good anxiety that makes you grow. Yeah, anxiety isn’t all bad. And fear isn’t all bad. But you have to do those things that scare you. And take a deep breath and just do it. Yeah, like going live on Facebook. I mean, that’s a whole nother marketing thing. You have to be able to talk to no one no one is showing up. In order to have 20 people on your next one, you have to start somewhere and you have to ask for the sale. You have to get told no five times before they’ll say yes. And it’s not anything against you. I think that’s another thing. We take things personally, Oh, I must have said something wrong or oh, you know, I might have offended that. No, it really is people have so much going on in their lives. Like with the school picture form. It is sitting on the kitchen table. I know the picture date is November 11. I know I need to send that paper in. I want to get the pictures, I want to buy the pictures. I’m not avoiding it because I don’t want to buy them. It’s just I keep forgetting now I need a deadline. November 10th I’ll fill it out because I know it needs to go in the next day. But it’s just sitting there even though I could like you know, be all on top of things and have it all done and ready. But I still have until next Wednesday to do it, to get that also, it’s there. And that’s how clients are too they need a deadline.

Krystal Eicher 34:05
It’s true. It’s true. And they need to be invited to the next step. They need clear directions on where to go next, what the next steps are, how to work with you how this works going forward. And they need to be told over and over. You’re doing a Disney cruise for my mom’s 60th birthday. I don’t know how many times I have to tell her how to do the invoice, approve the invoice. Every time she has to approve an invoice we’re on the phone where I’m walking her through how to approve the invoice. It’s just part of it guys. It’s just part of it. My mom has the lowest common denominator like she is the average client. She is not super tech savvy. Paying invoices online is very new and different. Remember this this is not something that’s super intuitive and people are leery of doing that sort of stuff online because of all of the scammy things that are out there.

Dana Zificsak 34:55

Krystal Eicher 34:56
People who are in your world but never been a part of your world before. They are coming into this with a little bit of hesitation on putting credit card numbers online and how does this work?

Dana Zificsak 35:07

Krystal Eicher 35:08
Is right? So having clear processes stepped out in that closing part and just really helping bring it over line super valuable and important.

Dana Zificsak 35:17
Absolutely. Yeah.

Krystal Eicher 35:18
Well, I think that is a beautiful place to wrap it up. So like just remind everybody when you’re trying to bring that thing from quote to close, remember, qualify, follow up and close. Don’t forget to ask for the sale. Don’t forget to actually ask them for the next step. Dana, thank you. So, so much. OGh gosh, we love having it’s not gonna be the last time I have a feeling we are going to link in the show notes everywhere that you can find Dana, including her Guts, Grits, Goals program. Her Facebook group, all of the things that you do. Dana and I are really excited to be collaborating on a new project, the Travel Agent Business Bundle, which will be available on Black Friday, and there’s going to be a link to the waitlist for that. If you want more information there’s a link to that in the show notes. So Dana, thank you so much for joining us.

Dana Zificsak 36:15
You’re welcome. It’s been great talking sales. I can talk this all day.

Krystal Eicher 36:20
We probably would if we gave the opportunity. That’s why I think there’s going to be a multiple part to all of this. Oh, yeah. So I was taking notes. Like I need to have her back to talk about this and we should have about to talk about that. Thank you so much. All you listeners out there. Have an excellent week, go ask for the sale. Go follow up. Go follow up with your people today. That’s your homework. Bye, everyone.

Dana Zificsak 36:42
Bye bye.

Krystal Eicher 36:44
Hey guys, we hope you enjoyed today’s episode, take a screenshot and share it on social media and be sure to tag us at Kinship Travel Academy or #TravelBizCEO. And if you loved us, don’t forget to subscribe and leave us a review. If you are a home based Travel Advisor looking for community and support we invite you to check out Kinship CEO Membership. Kinship CEO Membership is for travel agents looking for education and support in business marketing and mindset. Members get access to past and future courses, monthly coaching calls and our private community of agents. The love of travel just isn’t enough. You have to have solid business foundations, marketing strategies and a healthy mindset to make it and that’s why we teach all three. You can find us at to learn more. Here’s to you. We’ll see you at the next level.

Transcribed by


Travel Biz CEO: How to Cultivate Grit as a Travel Advisor


Grit is such a funny word.⁠

Most of us conjure up images of an old western – some leathery old dude with a bandana about to take on the world. ⁠

Very few of us self identify with the idea of “grit” much less know how to cultivate it for ourselves.⁠

But resiliency and grit are MUST HAVES for entrepreneurs. Because even if your business survived the pandemic, this won’t be the last major obstacle you’ll face. ⁠

This is a long game. Do you have what it takes?⁠

Check out this week’s podcast and catch the replay from Wendy’s class from our Grow Your Travel Business Summit.⁠

You can catch this FREE class at⁠


Transcript of today’s show below:

Krystal Eicher 0:00
Welcome back to season three of Travel Biz CEO. We are starting this season off with something a little different. Our first episode features our opening class from our Grow Your Travel Business Summit that we launched during the break. The summit is free, and it is for any Travel Advisor looking to grow your travel business and you can find the link in the show notes for that. This episode is featuring Wendy Guth’s talk on calling out the elephant in the room and how to cultivate grit. Not just now but always as an entrepreneur. While most people tend to think of the current climate as the time that you need grit the most the fact of the matter is, as an entrepreneur, there will always be obstacles that you have to face, and cultivating grit and resilience is something that every Travel Advisor must hone and learn to grow. And so that’s what Wendy is talking about today. Enjoy.

Hey, travel advisors, you’re 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 tune ups 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 hosts 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 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 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.

Wendy Guth 2:19
Hello there! Welcome to cultivating grit in this current travel climate. I’m so happy to kick off KTA – Kinship Travel Academy’s Virtual Summit Grow Your Travel Business. So what can we do to cultivate the grit we need to sustain ourselves not just now but into the future? So as a student of positive psychology, I’m looking forward to digging into this incredibly important mindset that we all need now and in the future. And I’m very happy that this is actually a mindset that we all can learn. Before we begin, let me introduce myself. Hi, I’m Wendy Guth, founder of Rebel on the Go and co founder of Kinship Travel Academy. So I’m a transformational travel expert and certified business life coach. And I specialize in finding purpose and goals success. My mission is to help travel entrepreneurs to create the life they want. And I say it’s the rebel way. And what’s that? Well, it’s under your own power, under your own terms, one step at a time, savoring each moment as you go along. Let’s start off with what is grit?

I’m going to use the definition by the preeminent authoritative person, a professor Angela Duckworth.

Her definition is grit is passion and perseverance for long term goals. Goals that you care about so much that it organizes and gives meaning to almost everything you do.

We like to think that these are the long term goals you have that help you create and sustain your business. Also with that this grit is holding unwavering to that goal. Steadfast no matter what. And that means even when you don’t feel like it. Or even when you feel like you’re failing. Or even when you feel like you’re stuck, whatever it is. And I say this, that when you have a solid foundation, and built in opportunities for evaluation, that’s when you are going to dig in and use grit to achieve these long term goals. We talk about this is actually I guess a word but what makes a gritty person? Sounds kind of weird, doesn’t it? That is a person who has really the passion and the perseverance and this equals grit, which equals success. So passion is, and it’s not just you love to do something, it’s the passion that leads to your purpose, to having a real yearning, a real purpose for what it is that you are trying to achieve. And ultimately what your goals are. The purpose is having a clear understanding of your values and your beliefs.

And I know that this is a big thing that we talk about a lot at KTA. It’s values, beliefs, purpose, and you mix that together, and you have a passion, a fire, like you talk about fire in your belly, for what you’re doing. It’s the values, the beliefs, the purpose, the passion, that’s all aligned together.

This is actually a really important thing and it’s understanding that alignment is not always in equal shares. That there are opportunities that could arise that you may need to shift. And it becomes priority. It’s prioritization. But nonetheless, you have a really strong alignment, in terms of what you want to achieve, how you’re going to get there, what is it going to take? What are the resources that you need? And a lot of that is emotional resources, what are the emotional resources that you will need that add to that it really is understanding what your values and your beliefs and your purposes.

The one thing about passion that I don’t hear talked a lot about the ability to inspire others. And I think this is super, super important, especially in the travel industry, that what we’re doing is we are inspiring others, to either see what we’re doing or listen to what we’re saying or read what it is that we’re producing, and inspire them to travel go and do. It is so important that piece of it. And that is an very important piece of the passion that we’re talking about. So passion and then next would be perseverance. Perseverance means that you continue to move forward, whether you’re having a good day, whether you’re no. Whether you feel like you’re failing, whether you’re excited, whatever it is, perseverance is you are going to to continue forward moving forward, no matter what.

I say that that has been one of the I think one of the most difficult parts of what we have experienced. It’s muddling through, it’s also learning to embrace the discomfort that comes with that. I will give you tips to help you to increase your grit to build your grit.

One of that pieces is really is what is it you need to embrace this discomfort, we’re wired to run away when we feel uncomfortable. And this is I’m saying is you need to just sit in it. And there are ways to do that. And we will talk about that. And another piece of this is to celebrate, it’s celebrating yourself celebrating what you are accomplishing, or what you are doing each and every step of the way. And building in the celebrations and really allows you to something to look forward to something to reach for.

And those actually are very important things to do. Especially in times when they’re tough. Sometimes you may not feel like celebrating, maybe it’s a week where just things didn’t go the way you want it. The fact that the week is ending, it’s a finite end is actually a reason to celebrate. And celebration can be whatever you want, could be you going for a walk at the end of the week, because it’s over, it could be having your favorite beverage, whatever it is that works for you. One thing about a lot is it’s personalized. It’s individualized. It’s customized. It is what you need to do for yourself for yourself, to reach your goals. And to celebrate. again, the celebration really needs to happen very frequently. Because that’s another way of also maintaining the motivation. Very, very important. As I believe we all know.

Without further ado, let’s talk about how you can develop grit.

I have five suggested ways that actually come from the American Psychological Association.

It’s interesting that developing a gritty mindset is really ultimately very important to not only achieving your goals, but also maintaining your own health and happiness.

So the American Psychological Association thought it was important enough to offer assistance in this regard.

Let’s start with the first one, which is be curious. I really like this because what we’re really saying is that as you go through experiences, whether they’re good, whether they’re bad, whatever they are, be open to looking at it from different angles. Be willing to look at it and say, how could I do that better? What worked? What didn’t? Looking at each part of your business with an open mind, not only that, is that be willing to learn what went well? What did you do well, what could be improved? Is there any anything that can change? Those types of things are so important. And learning allows you with an open mind allows you to learn from your mistakes. They say that you really don’t want to make everyone makes mistakes, but you don’t want to make the same mistake over and over again, especially in your business. So it’s very important to, again, to have this curiosity that that allows you to try something to then evaluate it and tweak it, you can feel comfortable, that this is actually a part of the business process, that this is what you need to do. And it’s not a you’re not judging yourself, none of that. It’s just your try, evaluate, tweak, try again, evaluate tweak, very important. With that, and I think that that’s this ties in with really the tweaking part, and I think sometimes can be very hard is be flexible, and willing to make changes. You have these long term goals and these are not generally you know, this is not with, you know, year, year goals, these are the farther out long term goals of your business. This is where your, your purpose, the values, the beliefs, all those come into play. So these should be really rock solid. It is when you’re looking at the strategies and the tasks and those sorts of pieces that are changeable, and can be very ma… and can be very malleable. You can update, fix whatever, as you see fit is long, you know, as long as it meets your ultimate long term goals. So the willingness to be flexible, again, is not an admission, oh, I don’t know, you know, I didn’t do this right or whatever. Not at all. It’s the will, it’s the ability to, to learn and be open and make changes as you need it. So it’s to be flex… flexible. Another thing is, if something doesn’t go right, and inevitably, something will not go right. It’s to embrace any failures. And maybe it’s failure is the wrong word is a strong too strong word. It’s to embrace these less than successful things that happen and learn from them. And try not to repeat them. But definitely to to be really open to this, that would be be curious. The next thing is commit to making decisions. Again, you’re working off of a solid foundation, you’re working off of your vision, your mission, your purpose. And even you’re working off of strategies that you feel meet your long term goals, it’s hard sometimes when you’re in a tough situation, maybe things aren’t going as well as you’d like or as well as you expected. You feel that you’re in a tough situation and you’re just not sure. The problem is things being ambiguous, being uncertain, being wishy washy, these actually can be very, very destructive to your mindset. If you can avoid that in the first place. Fabulous. A lot of times you can’t. So you just need to push past that and make decisions. And you’re you’re doing this because you know that you will make the best decision. Even if it isn’t the perfect one. Most decisions actually aren’t the perfect one, you’re taking the action of making a decision based on the best information that you have. And also you’re trusting yourself. And you’re listening to your instincts. Another thing that’s really, really, really important is to listen to yourself, that little voice, the knot in your stomach, whatever it is, but you’re listening to yourself when it comes to making decisions. In terms of just overall you want to try to avoid situations that make you feel ambiguous or uncertain, really, because that can spin you into into a hole. And I’m not saying making rash decisions, not at all. Not at all. It’s making decisions that you feel you need to make to move your business forward under the situation or circumstances that you’re currently in. Very important. The next one is and this this ties in with the other pieces as well. It’s no negative self talk, you have your long term goals in place, you know what you’re looking to achieve, and you feel you have the appropriate steps to take to get there. You’re in a position where you’re making the decisions you need to make to move yourself forward. At times, things may not go again as you wish. Look at it again as an opportunity to learn. The negative self talk is something that we again, I think are wired very much wired to to go down that path and you just don’t want to be there. You absolutely don’t want to be there. Trust that you know yourself better than anyone else. Trust that you have the intelligence and the power to not only know what’s best for you. But to take the best actions, avoid negative self talk at all cost say to yourself, I know it’s best for me, I know what’s best for me, this decision is best for me right now, may not be five minutes from now may not be 10, you know, 10 years from now. But right now, this is where I am, this is the best decision I I can make or the best the best situation I can be in and just avoid the negative self talk at all costs.

Let’s see, the next one is and again, all of these really tie together. And each one needs each other in order to to be successful. So you want to practice self compassion. And this is can be done in a few ways. You know, it could be taking time every day and get out and exercise. It could be spending time outdoors, it could be spending time laughing. One of the pieces I think is super, super important is it’s also surrounding yourself with positive, optimistic people who will be your honest cheerleaders. Who will help you to avoid the negative self talk. Who will help you to find ways that you can practice this self compassion, be kind to yourself, allow others to be kind to you. It’s so important. Right now, we all want to be successful. We all want to run successful businesses, the question comes up in terms of balance. And that’s really where the self compassion comes into providing the balance that you need for your self care. Finally, here we are. And it really is to keep your eye on the prize. What is the prize, it’s your long term goals. We’re talking three years down the road, five years down the road, even 10 years down the road, or whenever it is that where you envision your business to be where you envision yourself being, when you’re when your business is exactly where you want it to be the exact success that you want. And this comes again, in so many different shapes and sizes. It’s really very personal. And specific to each of us. What we’re talking about here is that 35,000 foot view, this isn’t the day to day operations. This isn’t even the short term fix of how, what do I do to get through the current situation? This is the down the pike, this is the this is what gives you the true happiness to run your business and to have your business again, not It’s not minutia. It’s not even the strategies. This is we’re talking about the long term goals that are tied to the vision and mission and purpose of your business. Anyway, I’d love to know what you think please go into TATM and drop a message. I know that this is these have been challenging times. And we’d like to think that we are now heading into clearer to much clearer and better place in the travel industry. But I think that no matter what the ability to develop a gritty part of your being is so important no matter what, that having the passion, which I believe that most of us have. But adding the perseverance to really muddle through is so important because hopefully the pandemic will be gone. There’s still days where you don’t necessarily feel like getting up and working, or situations that arise that make you question you know, yourself and what you can do. And really, I think one of the key pieces of also developing using the steps to develop this grit is it gives you confidence. And there’s nothing more important than having confidence in your abilities, having confidence that you’re successful, that you will continue to be successful that you’re on the right path, and you’re on your path, which can be so very, very different from everyone else’s. So anyway, I’d love to continue the conversation in in the group. So please let me know what you think. Any questions, any suggestions, and I’d love to hear from you. And thank you so much for joining me today.

Krystal Eicher 19:15
Hey guys, we hope you enjoyed today’s episode, take a screenshot and share it on social media and be sure to tag us at Kinship Travel Academy or #TtravelBizCEO and if you loved us, don’t forget to subscribe and leave us a review. If you are a home based Travel Advisor looking for community and support we invite you to check out Kinship CEO membership. Kinship CEO membership is for travel agents looking for education and support in business marketing and mindset. Members get access to past and future courses, monthly coaching calls and our private community of agents. The love of travel just isn’t enough. You have to have solid business foundations, marketing strategies and a healthy mindset to make it and that’s why we teach all three. You can find us at to learn more. Here’s to you – we’ll see you at the next level.

Transcribed by


Business of Travel, Business Systems, Strategic Planning, Travel Business CEO

Travel Biz CEO: Justifying Your Business to Your Stakeholders

Earlier in the week Krystal was listening to a podcast and the idea of treating your contributions to your marketing as a real up-front investment came up.

In the context of this podcast, the podcaster (Emily Hirsch of Hirch Marketing) really emphasized that you have to be diligent with your marketing investments. Before you invest money you need to understand what the goal is, how will you track and measure your ROI, and be able to justify and articulate each expense. It can’t be a last ditch effort to throw money at hoping that it will save your business.

This launched an interesting discussion in our infamous Voxer thread about how we think that every expense in your business should be treated in the same way.

Some expenses are no brainers. Others we are pressured into by emotional sales pitches promising us the moon. Whichever it is, if you don’t know diligently which category your expenses fall into, or even worse, what your expenses are, you may have a problem.

Even worse, what if you and your family are the primary investors in your business. How do you justify and plan for your expenses? Does your business expenses cause any conflict or stress at home?

Investments and money and conversations that surround it can be a tricky place to navigate in your personal life. But when you are an entrepreneur, these things bleed into each other. Often there can be a fuzzy line between the personal and professional when you start out, but it’s more important than ever to dig into those uncomfortable conversations and establish appropriate boundaries from the beginning.

And that leads us to today’s podcast topic: Who are your stakeholders? And how should you treat all of your investments in your business. Enjoy!



Transcript of today’s show below:

Wendy Guth 0:00
It’s like one of those things where we all have to have our elevator pitch and we all have to be prepared to sell what it is our vision, our mission, our purpose it’s not just for our clients. When I continue to talk to my partner about what it is that I do, he wants that elevator pitch and it’s geared more towards him as a stakeholder.

Krystal Eicher 0:29
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 the saw a glaring need in the travel industry, the need to look at the whole 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 focus on the mind, body and soul or 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.

Welcome back Travel Biz CEO listeners. We are here for the season two finale of Travel Biz CEO. I am Krystal Eicher and I am one of the founders of Kinship Travel Academy and the marketing guru of that trio of ladies and I’m joined here today by my partner’s. Go down, introduce yourself, ladies.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy 2:09
Hi, I’m Ashley Metesh-McCoy, newly residing in Missoula, Montana. I am the business operations side of this team. And I have a sinus infection so I probably sound very nasally right now. Apologies for the listeners.

Krystal Eicher 2:28
What are you talking about?

Wendy Guth 2:32
Hi, I’m Wendy Guth. I am in Southern Maryland, in what I hope is going to be the end of the heat that we have. I focus in on mindset goal setting. I’m actually super excited about the topic we’re talking about today. Investing in your business. You always have to look at your stakeholders that in some ways is not just yourself and your clients. But it can also be those who actually share your world with you, a partner, spouse, family, and it’s requires a buy in all the way around. At least it did for me. I think for you guys as well.

Krystal Eicher 3:16
What brought about this topic of this podcast was I was listening to another podcast, the idea of unsupportive spouses came up, I kind of chuckled because this is a really common theme in our industry. I feel like a common story that I hear from travel advisors, especially travel advisors who are women, sorry to pick on us, is that my spouse is not supportive. He just doesn’t understand what it is I’m trying to do. That really resonated with me, because when we made the decision to start this business, it was starting a business and it required a capital contribution. It requires startup seed money, you have to invest in the business to grow the business. I thought this would be an interesting conversation to have with Ashley and Wendy. And we started this conversation on a voxer thread. And a lot of really great points came up. Ultimately, I did have the same struggles in my house with this business from my husband, because he didn’t understand where the money was coming from. What do you mean, you had to pay? What do you mean you had to have another $750 on your credit card you needed to pay off this month. Where is the money going? What is it doing? Now when I shifted the conversation, and I said, This is what I need. These are my projected costs for the year. This is why, these are my investments that I’m making in marketing and this is my intended and hopeful return. Well then spending the money was no problem except that I forget my husband lives outside my head, not so much inside my head. Actually that’s kind of the problem with the whole world or maybe the blessing for the rest of the world.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy 4:55
Depends on who you ask.

Krystal Eicher 4:59
But it really changed, it shifted the entire way we talked around my business. I think that if more people could really put on their CEO hat and treat this like a business, like Wendy said, identify who your stakeholders are, it would make a really big difference in how your business is received by those stakeholders.

Wendy Guth 5:23
It’s like one of those things where we all have to have our elevator pitch, we all have to be prepared to sell what it is our vision, our mission, our purpose. It’s not just for our clients. When I continue to talk to my partner about what it is that I do, he wants that elevator pitch. It’s geared more towards him as a stakeholder. I have to be prepared to tell him, that makes it sound kind of harsh but it’s not really, but I have to sharpen that pencil to be able to tell him what I want to do. Are there any cost implications that impact the family, that’s an important thing. It’s actually not just monetary cost. It’s also time costs. Am I disappearing for a couple days? But all those different kinds of things, I think it’s a matter of really just sitting down planning for this. In the long run, it pays off in dividends.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy 6:25
It’s interesting, because Krystal brought this up, we use Voxer for internal communications. For those who aren’t familiar it’s just like verbal messages, real short recorded messages that you send back and forth.

Krystal Eicher 6:39
Or long recorded.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy 6:39
Yeah, in our case, sometimes long messages. It’s easier than texting and emailing. Shout out to Voxer. This episode is sponsored by Voxer, just joking. In all seriousness, when Krystal brought this up, it’s interesting because I typically consider myself a pretty business minded person. I think about my business very deliberately. I never really thought about it in the sense that my husband and I have invested in my business since we opened and never really thought of him as traditional investor. I should even go further with that and think of myself as an investor. There have been times when in the beginning, where I dipped into my savings to get this going, that does impact our family and then it also impacts my future security. So it was a really interesting mindset frame for me. Because if I were to, I mean, I’ve never done this approach a family member for funding, or then of course, approach a lending institution or anybody, I’d have to have some documents lined up: my business plan, my projections. I’d have to have, I actually cringe at the word elevator pitch, I see that. But that’s just because it’s so like, ingrained in Business School, and it makes me think of my MBA days. It’s true, you still need to be able to qualify what you’re doing, why you need that investment. One of the things I’m learning is, it’s actually irresponsible to ask for more than you actually need. So sitting down and figuring out what your expenses are, this is just a fundamental part of running a business. Projecting your expenses, so you know what kind of revenue you need to make. What are your goals so that you know how many clients you need to serve. That exercise will also serve this purpose in giving yourself an idea of what is a realistic amount of money to ask for from investors, whether it’s outside investors or your own self. I’ll be honest, I didn’t do that in the beginning and I have an MBA. I just kind of looked at my own pockets, you know, I’ve been working hard, I saved this up, this is my launch. But I don’t think I deliberately thought about every single spend. We’re not saying that you can’t utilize an element of instinctual decision making and take some risks here and there because that’s what entrepreneurship is about. You still should do your research and kind of plan stuff out. That’s my two cents.

Krystal Eicher 6:56
Because you have to think about yourself as the investor whether it’s from your family or a spouse. And my husband used to refer to himself as the investor in my business, and I used to get so mad at him and still get mad at him when he says that, who am I kidding?

Ashley Metesh-McCoy 9:26
Like the elevator pitch. I don’t know.

Krystal Eicher 9:28
It’s cringy because there’s a lot of baggage and that’s what we go to therapy for. I know that at the end of the day, whether you’re making these decisions as a family with a spouse, or even if you’re not married and you’re making these decisions individually, you are still taking money from a personal fund. From a private account and transfering it to a bank account to fund your business. If you’re not doing that that’s a whole different podcast people. You’re still taking things from a personal column to a business column, no matter how you do that that’s an investment. That is, by definition, a capital contribution. If you’re going to personally make the capital contributions into your business, those decisions need to be made with your business hat on. And intuition is great. Emotions, not so much. So be very wary about making emotional purchases, emotional decisions, really make a decision with that business hat on. I think this is interesting because Wendy and I were Voxing the other day about how a lot of people are saying, I have vowed I’m not going to purchase any more courses for the rest of the year. Because you can get caught up in the emotion of a sales page and of a sales pitch and a program. And I know we’ve all done it with mastermind programs and other things. We were making large financial decisions from an emotional state without really asking ourselves, what’s the return on investment? Do I have the cash flow to make this business decision right now? I think if we could go back and do things differently, I guess I don’t want to speak for Ashley and Wendy, I know that I would. I would make some decisions differently. So that’s why this reframe to me was really important to say, I think we can get really spun up in this idea of you have to spend money to make money, which is true, Like you have to invest in your business, to accelerate some things, you have to invest in marketing, you have to invest in things. But we do it at KTA now, because we all have business hats on, and we all walked into the partnership in this business, all kind of vowing we’re going to do this the right way. Our decisions for the KTA are very data driven. I think.

Wendy Guth 11:39
The thing that really comes to mind is that whenever you invest, in whatever it is, whether it’s time, whether it’s money, whatever it is, there needs to be some end result. It doesn’t necessarily mean that everything always goes well. Hello, look at us now. But at least there…

Ashley Metesh-McCoy 11:59
What does that mean? (laughing)

Wendy Guth 11:59
The past year has not been…15 months, 18 months. What are your expectations? And those expectations can be evaluated at whatever frequency you’re comfortable with. There needs to be expectations and there needs to be some objectivity and evaluated. Just as Krystal said having things that are data driven is so important, even if it’s a commitment of time. I’ve heard about so many people the past couple years it hasn’t been the financial, but it’s been the time. They’re working, working, working, working, working, where does the return come in? That’s my two cents.

Well, it’s a good two cents. In terms of the idea that, oh my gosh, I totally lost my thought.

Krystal Eicher 12:50
Story of my life. Well, let me just jump in real quick. If you’re going to invest a lot of time, but you’re only making like two bucks an hour? Really, it’s time to reevaluate if this is worth showing up for you.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy 13:07
But I think it goes, it probably goes without saying, but in the beginning, you are going to invest a lot of time where you are making $0 an hour. I don’t know what the magic formula is, when you need to stop that. It comes back to the point of having this conversation with your spouse or whoever your investors are yourself. You have to work out that budget and understand your time. This is, this is our make it or break it time. When nine months from now, 18 months from now, two years from now, whatever, we can invest this much over this period of time. And if it’s not returning on our investment at that point, then we need to think about something else. So that’s where those deliberate planning and conversations come in. What I remember what I was gonna say earlier, I like your point that we are data driven. Because we do track data, we typically look at it monthly and see where we’re at in terms of our finances, but also in terms of our internal metrics that we measure. At least at KTA like how many members we have, what’s our retention rate, that type of thing. We know those numbers. But occasionally opportunities will come up, we recognize and I think we don’t sit down, we’re not like, okay, let’s have a meeting about that and form a committee and decide based on it, we’ll make some instinctive but with the background like of our data, knowledge and our research on the opportunities ahead of time, we’ll make some somewhat instinctive decisions because there is still an element of if you’re engaging in another company, kind of sussing out if they’re a good fit, and if it seems like a good intuitive fit, so I just throw that out there. It’s a combination of all the things but you really can’t do one without the other. Either.

Wendy Guth 14:55
If you have a solid foundation and you have numbers that you’ve been tracking. You actually, I think it gives you the confidence to be able to possibly take risks or make some changes or things, because you have a solid foundation.

Krystal Eicher 15:14
And I think that to Ashley’s point, you know, we have invested in a few mastermind programs and a few other things through KTA and we’ve had very quick conversations about what do you think? The data that drove those decisions for us to instinctually say yes, was we knew how much money we had in our bank account. We knew what our projected income was, we could see our growth rates, we could see all of those things. Then we also had to set goals and say, okay, in order to cover these expenses, this is what needs to have happen. You can make financial decisions in your business, you could say, I’m going to invest $1,000 in Facebook ads this month, but you need to be able to track those expenses as you go monthly. You need to know what your conversion rates are, what your click through rates are all of those things to make sure so that you can go back after the fact or as it’s going and you can tweak and go along the way, then you can look back and some investments you’re going to make mistakes on but you’ve just paid for a really expensive lesson. In some cases, which we’ve all been there as well. I think if you know your runway, and you know what you’re comfortable spending and you know, what you have spent, it doesn’t feel like a huge devastating loss, or a huge mistake, I think where people get in trouble is if you didn’t stop or cull some expenses at the start of this pandemic, like in March 2020, then you were damn fool because there were certain things and certain business decisions you needed to make investment wise, as things were slowing down because you didn’t have the income to cover it. That’s where people were getting in trouble with their investors, or their partners or their spouses or themselves. It’s because there was this panic, we were leaking, the ship was leaking, and we had no way to plug the leak. And it caused a lot of extra stress and strain on people in this past year. In a lot of ways those uncomfortable moments can be avoided, again, if we put our CEO hats on, and we really start looking at the numbers and start really making decisions from a data point and not from an emotional state.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy 17:22
Which admittedly is very hard.

Krystal Eicher 17:25
Yes, incredibly hard.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy 17:28
We call this the Travel Biz CEO, podcast because it takes work to achieve that title and maintain it. It’s not easy. But that’s, that’s where you want to be like, that’s how you want to run your business.

Wendy Guth 17:42
If it’s a muscle that you continue to exercise, when times are really good, when times are just you know, whenever if you continue to do it always in your business, when times do require possibly contraction or something of that nature, you’re better able to respond to it. Have that muscle and you’ve been working that muscle all along, and you have a better idea even possibly, you know, especially with like with projections and things like that. It’s something to start. If you don’t do it start now.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy 18:20
And we can help you with that.

Wendy Guth 18:23

Krystal Eicher 18:24
Yeah. A lot of our classes and our membership program cover exactly this. How do you track your financials? How do you do your annual strategic planning for next year? How do you do your marketing strategy planning? How do you plan out those budgets? All of the things.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy 18:42
How to adjust your mindset around all of those different relevant topics?

Krystal Eicher 18:46
Oh, yeah, because the money thing is ah, that’s a bitch.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy 18:55
Explicit rating on this episode. Yeah.

Krystal Eicher 18:59
Sorry, we went for it. That’s just all it is.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy 19:05
It’s true.

Krystal Eicher 19:06
Everybody struggles with the money mindset thing. It’s just part of it. And this is part of entrepreneurship. And there are things that run easy about, but I will say that being a data driven business owner versus being a, I’m going to just see how I feel about it business owner is a night and day difference. It gives me so much more confidence in the money area. When I know our money, and I don’t know about you guys, I used to be the kind of person even in my personal finances, I just put my head in the sand. I was bank balance budgeter. Oh, there’s money in our bank account. I’m not gonna worry about it. It was not a great place to be. I felt insecure about money all the time. I was stressed about money all the time. And we fought about money all the time. And this is not a podcast about money. But I think that if you can have control of your finances, and you can work out those budgets and you can work out those things, and you see progress in your plans. Same thing with your business your confidence just soars around money.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy 20:07
I mean there’s a zillion topics we could go with this but there’s like two thoughts that stand out one is money problems are one of the top three if not top reasons people filed for divorce so it’s legit like it’s….

Krystal Eicher 20:20
Oh yeah, money is the number one stressor in marriages.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy 20:23
The other thing that I keep thinking about is how you….another thing you said on Voxer Krystal, the other day was, I think it was on Voxer, I don’t know could have been our last meeting. But we were kind of like thinking about, we’re adjusting our advertising strategy tactics spend, you know, we’re doing…Krystal’s doing a phenomenal job of looking at that every month and tweaking it, bringing on different partners anyway. So one of the things we’re looking at recently was sort of what we need in terms of growth. And in our business model, that’s new members of KTA, or different product purchases for you at feeding clients, you know, service fees, bookings, talking about what our goals are for the next two months monthly, so that we can justify our advertising expenses and any other types of new business development things. We’re bringing on a virtual assistant for the first time to help us with our background stuff. We need to be able to justify these costs so that we can continue to grow. Krystal told me that knowing what those goals are really helps her to get it done basically. I took that for granted in my head it’s that we just want to grow, we want to keep growing, you know, that’s our goal. But for Krystal having specific numbers is helpful in focusing her and I don’t, I think everybody thinks about that differently. But it’s also important to think about that in terms of who your partners in your business are, who your investors are. Some people work much better with specific that was another like mindset reframe. For me, I was like, Oh, yeah, that’s good to remember. I think it’s all relative. Again, there’s lots of different directions, we could go with this topic. But whether it’s a partner or an investor, or yourself, there’s lots of reasons why this is important.

Wendy Guth 22:11
You know, the number two, after finances is communication. Again, whether it’s with, you know, romantic partnerships, business partnerships, whatever. Not only understanding your financial situation, and your financial goals, but also being able to communicate and articulate that it also really goes far in terms of…and it also again, it helps build your own confidence. I don’t think anyone ever goes into becoming an entrepreneur thinking, Oh, it’s going to be easy, or it’s going to be a surefire, whatever, or most people don’t. But the ability to articulate what it is that you want to do and what your goals are, also allows you in your own head to adjust and adapt if you need to.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy 23:03
Which a lot of times at least, I’ll again, I’ll admit my mistakes, which is why I try to teach, don’t do what I did do as I say, no I’m was just joking, I learned over time that when I first started the travel business, I wasn’t as closely tracking number of clients average service fee, I wasn’t tracking these important internal metrics so that I could develop professional goals, which is I…I kind of started feeling fuzzy and lack of confidence once I started. I didn’t know what were the internal drivers that was moving my business forward. So that’s why I sat down and developed my annual strategic work shop for myself, I was like, I’m gonna go through this process so that I can see where I’m at and see where I want to go. And then I started teaching the people on my team. And now we do it with KTA. I’m just telling you, like, I didn’t do this in the beginning either. So if you’re not, don’t feel like you’re a bad person. It’s not usually intuitive for people to do this type of thing.

Krystal Eicher 24:00
I think it’s a common mistake. Careers in travel are sold as a low barrier to entry. So a lot of people say oh, just join a host agency and then you’ll just start selling travel and then you’ll take off. If you listen to our podcast with Glinnesa Gaillard, for get your legal on, even said she, if you want to low barrier of entry career field, you need to go sign up for Pampered Chef, go do something else. There’s a bit of investment required to start this particular business. You can scale slowly, you can scale quickly. It’s all up to you. But at some point in time, there’s going to be required investments into the business. There are hosting fees if you choose not to be hosted. There are legal fees, there are insurance fees, there are licensing fees, because you need your solo travel license. There are all these things that you need to do. So you need to recognize from the very beginning again, this is a business this is your pizza parlor. This is your pizza parlor that you have to invest in. So it It is normal and natural for your partner to ask questions about those investments, because there is a risk involved when it comes to investing in a business. Having those very important conversations about how comfortable you are like what’s your, what’s your runway? What’s the maximum number, you’re willing to risk and it fail? Is it $1,000? Is it $10,000? Is it somewhere in between? That’s a really tough conversation to have, you should be having that conversation with yourself, if you don’t have an outside investor. What is it that you’re comfortable losing? Is it $30,000? Is it $50,000? As anybody who’s been in the business this last year, there are no guarantees in this travel business to make money.

Wendy Guth 25:49
Yeah, the whole concept of risk aversion, well, that could be an entirely, that could be an entirely different conversation. But it is so important. It’s also important to again, do things, you know, you you sit down, and you think about it, and you plan and you prep and everything and you, you feel that you’ve come up with a plan at the beginning, you need to check in on yourself as you go along. Because things change, aversion changes, the world we live in changes. Also checking in with your stakeholders to make sure that they’re also in line and it’s not well, you told me two years ago that you were fine with this, mmmm yeah, that doesn’t generally work.

Krystal Eicher 26:36
Yeah, because investors that were fine investing in travel in 2018, and 2019, might have had different feelings in 2020.

Wendy Guth 26:46
That’s when you communicate and you don’t remain silent about things. I know there was a period where I just didn’t want to have conversations. My husband finally sat me down and said aan we just chat about this? And we went out to dinner, have a couple glasses of wine, he felt so much better, because he was just able to just to hear what was in my head. It was a scary conversation. But anyway, but having that ability just to hear how I was feeling, what was going on. Also having him say, and this was really key for us, he’s like you’re not burdening me when you share?

Krystal Eicher 27:22
Can I ask you this question? Did you make that conversation out worse in your head before you had it?

Wendy Guth 27:27
Oh, of course I did. Of course, I always make those conversations worse. Regardless of how much mindset training there is, those conversations. you rehearse them, you practice them and you say, oh, Lord, and then it turns out if you know the person and that’s again a whole other issue if you don’t know the person you’re really talking to, or really know the person you’re talking to. But yeah, it ended up being probably one of the most productive conversations we have had it has enabled him to really be a good adviser as I move along, he’s not involved so just having advice from people who know love and care about you is a good thing as well.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy 28:12
We’re talking specifically about spouses but any type of investor partnership you have that maybe not so conventional like a bank loan officer something which the same conditions apply but we’re talking about those more emotionally charged intimate relationships that you have. I just wanted to add that what you said was really powerful because as business owners we do tend especially women probably we do tend to take on all of the responsibilities ourself and it is a heavy burden. We feel like we took on this project so we need to succeed and if we don’t succeed we fail whatever that means. We don’t want to talk about that and we don’t want to share it because we don’t want to burden people. When you do actually end up having those super hard conversations I feel like a weight lifts off my shoulders. My partner at least I have a generally good relationship with my partner so I’m blessed in that respect. I think my partner feels better too even if everything I say to him is bad news, but he just feels better knowing that what’s going on with me what the situation is and what’s in my head. There’s a lot of reasons to be open about that. It lifts the burden on you and your partner.

Krystal Eicher 29:31
Yeah, yeah, that doesn’t make you a bad business owner that actually makes you a smart business owner. If you are in debt in your business, if you have struggled in the last year that doesn’t make you a failure if you feel like you need to close up shop in your business that doesn’t make you a failure just makes you a smart business owner.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy 29:51
Smart business decision making processes is pivot, proceed or close. Basically the critical questions you ask yourself at a critical time like now for many business owners, those are the options and how you do that is the question you need to have with your investors.

Wendy Guth 30:10
But that is exactly what I was going to say. It brings it back, full circle, in that when you start an endeavor, you have an idea for you may not know all of the details, but you plan to the best of your knowledge, the best of your ability. I’ve heard that savvy business owners have an exit strategy. They know at some point, when is it that I have reached that point where you make maybe just making those choices? You go on to something else you close up shop, whatever it is. Oh, sorry, there was I’m sorry, I’m looking I’m looking at a cat. Who is now tickling Ashley’s nose, so sorry.

Krystal Eicher 30:54
That’s okay. Mike Pence’s fly was buzzing around here earlier.

Wendy Guth 30:59
And, gosh,

Ashley Metesh-McCoy 31:03
There were two bucks like, boy, for those who don’t know with the horns outside my window yesterday, locking horns as I was working.

Wendy Guth 31:12
Oh wow.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy 31:13
So I live in the wilderness now.

Wendy Guth 31:18
I just think that these are such important conversations to have. I think we look forward to continuing the conversation in Kinship Travel Academy with you all.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy 31:29
For sure.

Wendy Guth 31:30

Krystal Eicher 31:30
I think that’s a wrap for season two of Travel Biz CEO.

Wendy Guth 31:35
I think the Cat…

Krystal Eicher 31:36
The cat is saying to wrap. So first of all, shout out to all of our listeners this year. Thank you guys so much for making this podcast the success that it has been. It has been a ton of fun. Behind the scenes. If you would like to hear us cover specific topics we’ve heard back from a few of you. So we have a lot of fun lined up for season three. But shoot us a DM at Kinship Travel Academy on Instagram. Join us in our travel agent training and mentorship Facebook group. The link is in the show notes and let us know what topics you’d like us to hear covered. Otherwise, that’s a wrap for season two and we will see you back in season three in just a few weeks.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy 32:21
Whoo. Thanks everyone.

Wendy Guth 32:24
Thank you.

Krystal Eicher 32:32
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 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


Who is your person?
Business of Travel, Podcast, Travel Agent Marketing

Travel Biz CEO Podcast: Who is your PERSON?


Your ideal client. Your ICA. Your avatar.

Whatever you call it, there is a PERSON behind that list of demographics and psychographics that you have in mind. Yet so many marketers lose sight of the PERSON behind the avatar.

In Season 1 Episode 3: Ideal Client Specialization we broke down why you should focus on the traveler versus the style of travel, yet we still continue to see travel advisors get stuck in this area.

In this weeks episode, Krystal breaks down how to find your PERSON and what you should be really thinking about when trying to nail down and niche appropriately.


Transcript of today’s show below:

Krystal Eicher 0:01
People are multifaceted beings. They are not monolithic. And I think oftentimes we try to whittle them down to monolithic creatures. My clients are people who want to save time and money traveling. Well, duh that’s kind of a given. What are the bigger things that they worry about?

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 at 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 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, fellow travel advisors. My name is Krystal Eicher and I am the marketing educator for Kinship Travel Academy. And today I wanted to talk about something that we keep beating and beating and beating to death on this podcast and that is how do you identify your ideal client? And how do you create content to attract your ideal client? If you go back to season one, you can see that we did an episode about ideal client specialization and in that podcast, we really talked about how a lot of travel agents in our industry when they niche down or you ask about their niche, or you ask about their specialization, the focus is on the type of travel that they do. It’s a destination focus; their an Italy specialists, an Australian specialists, a Europe specialist. Or they specialize in honeymoon travel, group travel, luxury travel, except that that’s not really a specialization. And I think the focus when we talk about that takes the focus off of the human being that you’re serving; the client. And really keeps that eye on a bright and shiny destination. And while the destination is an important piece of this, it is an important part of this, it’s not the whole piece. And I think when we niche down in such a specific way, we lose sight of the ideal client. Now there’s a lot of really great arguments on this. And if you want to hear more, I suggest you go back and listen to that episode. But today, I really wanted to talk about how you can really dig in to your person. And so in KTA, we say dig into your person. Why person? Because I want you to always think of your person, as a human being, as somebody to really focus on but then I also want you to think of person as an acronym.

So let’s get started. So when you think of your person, I want you to think of P-what’s the problem? I want you to think about their personality, their values, what do they like and enjoy? What do they not like and enjoy? What are common complaints that they have? How do they talk about their problems? How do they talk about the solution to those problems? When I say problems and solution, guys, I don’t just mean travel related. If you’re a travel advisor that focuses in special needs travel or adaptive travel, your clients problems are way beyond how do they like to travel? Way beyond just the nuts and bolts of travel planning. Their problems are way beyond trying to save time and money in travel. People are multifaceted beings. They are not monolithic. And I think oftentimes we try to whittle them down to monolithic creatures. My clients are people who want to save time and money traveling. Well duh, that’s kind of a given. What are the bigger things that they worry about? What common sayings do they have? What common complaints that they have? Really P-what’s the problem?

Next would be E-what’s their ecosystem? In the marketing ecosystem, in the Big Picture of things, you need to not operate in a vacuum. You need to think of your marketing and your business as operating in an ecosystem. So same thing with your client. Again, they’re not monolithic. So what sort of blogs do they read? Magazines? Articles? What sort of podcasts do they listen to? Where are they in social media? Are they on Instagram? Are they on Facebook? Are they on Pinterest? I gotta say guys, more than likely, they’re on all of them. Are they on tik tok? Are they watching reels? Are they on Snapchat? Before you say no, my ideal client is 40 years old and they’re not on tik tok, I want you to think again. Because I wasn’t a big fan of a lot of social media things but as I get a kid that gets a little bit older, I’m on social media platforms. What sort of events are they attending? What sort of trade magazines are they looking at? Again, in a marketing ecosystem your clients are in a lot of different places, and both online and offline. In your community, in your local area where are they at?

Next would be R-residents. This is the basic demographic. So guys where do they live? What kind of housing do they have? Age and income? Relationship status? What kind of census type info can we really box them in at? Oftentimes, when people are identifying their ideal client, they really just kind of settle in this R category. I really want to point out, this is probably the least important category of all categories, because it’s really hard to box travel clients in because travel is a different priority for different people. So though somebody might be in a lower tax bracket if travel is a high priority for them, they will come up with the money to do so. Likewise, people are in a higher tax bracket might not view travel as a priority. Their car might be a priority, their housing might be a priority, their boat might be a priority, I don’t know. The point is, is that travel is such an eclectic thing and it attracts a wide variety of people. So I’d be really, really cautious of boxing yourself into a certain income demographic.

Next would be S-status. So we’re up to P-E-R-S of your person acronym, S-status. What are their priorities? When I think of status, you really want to think about like, where theire status is in the world? And again, this is that priority thing that really can make that income bracket really obsolete. So increased status to them looks like, do they care about driving a fancier car? Or carrying a certain kind of handbag? Or what kind of coffee they like to eat or drink? What does decreased status look like to them? Again, this is really getting into the psychology of your ideal client, of your person. What do they prioritize when they travel? Do they care more about the experience or more about the accommodations? I did a great qualifying call actually, with another Disney agent shout out to Michelle with Nick and Henry’s travel and she did a great job of qualifying my family on that call, because she really wanted to know, is room important or experiences at the parks important? Do you want the fancier room? Do you not care about the room because you’re not going to be there? For us it’s a little bit of both. But you really have to know, what is the priority for your client when you’re qualifying them? Is it location? Is it thread count? Is it a certain type of breakfast? Are they particular about the breakfast? Foods really important when I travel. I don’t know about your client, though. Is a Starbucks going to be okay for your client? Or are they only going to want a very local very specific cafe? Or do they think that Starbucks is a fancier coffee? It’s all really important questions to know and it seems very silly and it gets really down into the minutiae of things but these things matter. And so this is where their preferences for vacation and luxury and what does that mean to them? Really, really matters. A lot of agents out there say I’m a luxury specialist. Well luxury isn’t just a price point. Luxury is having what you want when you want it and that means different things for different people. And different people are willing to splurge more on different aspects of their vacation. Luxury to some might mean private plane, five star resort, butler concierge services, Michelin star dining, and private shopping experiences. For others luxury might mean a business class ticket, fine dining experiences, a four to five star accommodations, butler service not required, with a higher preference for an ideal location, and private guided tours over a Michelin star restaurant and private shopping experiences. For some people, none of that matters at all. They just want to blow a lot of money to have a quality vacation time with their grandkids. Lluxury and price points and all of this is very, very, very different for each set of traveler. Really getting into the psychology of why, what does that matter as far as status because all of us consider status at some point in our day. It comes down to the questions of what kind of clothes we wear, to what kind of cars we drive, to the computer that we are going to operate with, the laptop that we carry, to the phones that we carry. There is a status behind our decision on what kind of phone we have and what generation we have, and whether we upgrade our phone, believe it or not.

So next is going to be O-your offers. This is where you’re really going to get down to what are they trying? What are they buying? When it comes to how you operate and the value that you bring to the table how aware are they of that value? Completely unaware? Are they aware of the problem? Are they aware that travel agents exist, that they are out there, but they’re not sure that they’re a good fit or they can help you? Are they just completely unaware that travel agents exist? And we all know that there’s a ton of people out there because any of you that made the announcement that you were going to be a travel agent heard from somebody in your life wait, what travel agents exist? You bet they do. Are they aware that travel agents exist, and they can help them, but they’re not really sure how to get in touch with them? Or are they totally aware, they understand the value, they’ve used one before and they will never go back? Where does your ideal client fall in that faultline? Knowing that really helps you create content that explains your value and your expertise without sounding redundant or without sounding patronizing. But then you really want to know what are they trying? What are they buying? Where have they bought travel from before? Have they normally just gone to their local Costco to buy a travel package? Are they Expedia people? Are they I buy a guidebook and then I booked direct kind of people? Where do they fall on that continuum? And really knowing and understanding what their experiences have been before helps you better serve them? What did they experience that they loved? What did they experience that they hated? What do they want to experience in their next destination that you can particularly help them with? For example, get a lot of people who say I want to go to the Maldives for vacation. Well, what can a travel agent bring to that table? There’s so many resorts, there’s so many properties, there’s so many experiences out there, it’s impossible for the average person to know about all of the things that exist. We as travel agents take it for granted, because we sit through a lot of webinars from a lot of suppliers, and we hear of a lot of cool things that are out there. Most people don’t even know that that’s an option or that that exists. Knowing what your client would be interested in, being able to hear an offer and going oh man my people will love that. And even better being able to hear an offer and going hmm not for me because you know that your clients aren’t going to be into it. So you don’t even have to waste time sitting through that webinar or sitting through that informational session to know that yep, this is worth my time, or no, it’s not. Being able to share those experiences or share what you’ve learned from other people again, it just allows you to create content on your social media, on your blogs, on your own podcasts to know exactly what would be of interest to them.

So the last letter in person N-nuances. So this is where you kind of get the catch all miscellaneous thing about your person. So their beliefs around the problems that they have. Their beliefs around the solutions. So if the problem is that I want to travel better, and I want to help manage my family, what are my beliefs around the solution is the belief around a solution is that travel agents are going to cost me nothing? Are beliefs around the solution that the travel agents going to cost me something? What do they believe, is the value to any of that? There’s so many agents out there that like to advertise that it doesn’t cost anything to work with them, but then they attract a lot of people who are kicking tires, they’re actually just shopping around. And then you know, likewise, there’s a lot of people who hear that you charge a planning fee but you’re not doing a great job explaining why you charge the fees that you do and the value it brings to the table. You’re providing a solution but what is their belief around that solution? What do they actually think that you do? What’s their belief around the product that they’re buying? In this case the product is travel. What is their belief around all of the things that they’re looking at is their belief that all all inclusives are kind of yucky? Is their belief that all inclusives are just spring breaks in Mexico? I’m saying that guys, because that’s what I thought for a really long time, then I got a little bit more educated and I’m like, Oh, yeah, an all inclusive might actually be for me. What is their belief about themselves? Do they see themselves as Caribbean people? Or do they see themselves as more European travelers? Do they believe that they can’t be big travelers because that’s something only affluent people do? Or do they believe that this is even possible for them? What do they believe about others that travel and others that operate in this world? What’s their belief around all of this stuff? Llike, again, those little nuances, really leaning into the psychology and the psychographics of your client helps you see the big picture for that. It helps you talk to them in multiple ways about multiple things in a language that they understand and connect with. It helps you really see this as a human being. And really gets to humanize your ideal client, your person, your world, because instead of thinking of them as an ICA, as a robot, especially those of us that do digital marketing, so many things happen in this void. You’re really thinking of your people as people makes a huge difference in how you market to them and honestly, how you can even lean into enjoying your marketing. So just to recap, P-problem, E-ecosystem, R-resident, S-status, O-offers N-nuances. KTA members, watch for a full training on this coming out really soon. If you guys have any questions about this, or have any thoughts on this, I’d love to hear them. Join us in our travel agent training and mentorship Facebook group. That’s our free Facebook group for travel agents looking to collaborate with other members of the community. Then a shout out to Julie Stoin of Funnel Gorgeous for inspiring this podcast today with all of her awesome training that I received through her programs. Being able to make that shift of looking at your ICA as a human being makes all the difference in the world in how you market to your client. That’s all for today, guys, we will catch you next week. Have a good one.

Hey guys, thanks for listening. We hope you got something great on today’s episode. If you were wondering where you are out of balance in your travel business take our free quiz at 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



Travel Biz CEO: Purpose Driven Profits

Last week we hosted our Purpose Driven Profits workshop with KTA members and have already received awesome feedback.

So what are Purpose Driven Profits?

When you are languishing in your business (and really – who isn’t languishing even just a little in the travel industry right now?) it’s more important than ever to dig into your purpose and your why.

Because passion can only take you so far.

We are all passionate about travel, but if you’ve been in our world for more than five minutes, you’ve heard us say it before: the love of travel isn’t enough to make it in this business. You HAVE to have the appropriate business foundations, marketing strategies and a healthy mindset to back it all up.

The healthy mindset piece – that’s where your purpose comes in.

It is your purpose that gives you the resilience and grit needed to weather the storm and keep showing up. And, unlike passion, it’s tangible. And if done correctly, it can serve as a guidepost and a roadmap to help you navigate turbulant times.

Still don’t get it? Let me bust out this metaphor for you:

When you are traveling to an awesome destination, do you really love the 12 hour long haul flight? Or is it something you endure to get there?

No one LOVES to spend the time and money on the flight. But it’s a means to an end. You do it so you can get to the final destination.

Your purpose – it’s the final destination.

The flight – it’s the thing you spend time and money on to get there. If you are smart, you do what you can to make the flight more comfortable. You prep ahead of time. Some pay for upgrades. You bring things along to make the journey more comfortable.

And some of you are going out of your way to NOT listen to other people, and your travel time is a little more miserable – especially those trying to go it alone.

Ok. ok. I’m FEELING the eye rolls at this point. I’ll lay down the metaphor. But you get my point, right?

Digging into your purpose is the only way you are going to recalibrate and get through these languishing moments.

So tell us – what is your purpose? What gets you up at the end of the day in your business? Let’s continue the conversation in TATM.



Transcript of today’s show below:

Wendy Guth 0:00
It is really an incredibly tough time. As human beings. It’s not even as entrepreneurs, it’s not even just as travel advisors. But as human beings, you know, the things that we crave control, certainty, are things are just things that just aren’t here right now. And the word lang… I think the word languish may end up being the word of 2021 because it’s not just feeling stuck. It’s also feeling when you are moving, you’re just spinning your wheels.

Krystal Eicher 0:38
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 focus 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.

Welcome back Travel Biz CEO listeners. I am Krystal, the marketing guru, expert, coach, whatever you want to call it. I’m joined today by Wendy. It’s Wendy Krystal time.

Wendy Guth 2:10
Yes. Yeah. Actually we do miss Ashley, terribly always. This is fun. I don’t think we’ve had the chance to just chit chat, well while we never chitchat on the mic.

Krystal Eicher 2:23
On the mic.

Wendy Guth 2:24
I’m Wendy Guth, co founder of Kinship Travel Academy, founder of Rebel On The Go and assorted coaching certifications and stuff like that. Always around a mindset and motivation and goals and all that good stuff.

Krystal Eicher 2:43
We should never be in charge of introducing ourselves ever again.

Wendy Guth 2:47
No, no, because no.

Krystal Eicher 2:51
So today we wanted to pop in and talk about purpose driven profits, but in a larger context. So we did a workshop with our membership this week called purpose driven profits, which, if you’d like to know more about that, you should definitely check out our membership. Specifically, we started talking about this topic because a lot of our community is languishing right now. In fact, a lot of the world is languishing right now, but especially those in the travel industry. I’ve decided that we we have it worse than everybody else. Maybe I’m wrong. It really kind of comes down to the fact that it’s really hard to be a travel advisor right now. It’s really hard to show up. And how do you continue to show up in this industry, in this environment in this world, right now? Wendy has some thoughts on that.

Wendy Guth 3:51
That was a good pass. I like that.

It is really an incredibly tough time. As human beings. It’s not even as entrepreneurs, it’s not even just as travel advisors. But as human beings, you know, the things that we crave: control, certainty. Are things…are just things that just aren’t here right now. I think the word languish may end up being the word of 2021. Because it’s not just feeling stuck. It’s also feeling when you are moving you’re just spinning your wheels. It’s really, really tough. One of the things that I think is really important about all of this, it’s not necessarily to wallow in it, it is to have conversations about it. I don’t think it can be eliminated. But how do we figure out ways to lessen it as much as we can? I always think of there’s mountains, there’s molehills, there’s speed bumps. I like keeping things at the speed bump level. Staying away from mountains and trying to bring everything down to a level we just go over the bump, we keep going, we go over a little bump, keep going. It’s always interesting, purpose driven profits, we…everyone is in business, I think to make a profit. We are, we’re not charities, at least most of us are not. So ultimately, the long term goal is to make profits. What I actually found was interesting that the University of Michigan did a study, they did a 10 year study, those people who had the strongest sense of their own purpose and what they are doing, ultimately, were the people who ended up making more money. Ended up with a greater income. Ended up with higher net worth. The concept of purpose driven profits, is actually a proven thing out there, just to start with.

Krystal Eicher 5:48
Yeah, so we’re not just making it up and this is not some way to build it, they will come moment. And it’s not a money mindset issue. It is if you can dig into your purpose, that’s how you one: turn those mountains into speed bumps. You kind of level things out, and you normalize them by talking about them. You can bring it down to the surface, but then it also can give you that roadmap of where you’re needing to go ultimately.

Wendy Guth 6:14
Exactly because really, you when you think about it, your purpose is very much future driven, very much future driven. And an exercise that I like to do with clients is really, this is gonna sound a little morbid, but is to create your headstone. What is your legacy? What is so important that you will be remembered? And it just kind of spins things in a different perspective

Krystal Eicher 6:41
Well and I think what’s important about that we had our coaching call with our members this week, and it’s a common theme. I’m struggling. I don’t know what I’m doing. We don’t know where we’re going. very frustrated at the moment. Should I sell travel? Should I not sell travel? Should I have an exit plan? What should I be doing in my business right now? What is cool about this concept of purpose driven profits was this was an exercise that I did with you in a private coaching session. I think we decided it was four months ago. I can’t remember how long ago it was. What it did for me was it put into perspective what was important? Where do I want to be? The obituary or the headstone piece is kind of interesting. And it is a little bit morbid, but at the same time, really puts things into perspective. As far as what’s important to me, who relies on me, who do I care about? What legacy do I want to leave behind? Where am I going in this life? And really asking the question is of…is what I’m doing now getting me there?

Wendy Guth 7:48
Oh exactly. Exactly. Exactly. I think that that’s well, and it’s also Hmm, just to put a little twist on that what about is where I’m going the right direction?

Krystal Eicher 8:01
Oh, that’s a really good question, too. Because I think knowing that where you want to be where you want to end up, if where you’re wanting to be is, you know, a beach in Mexico, but you hit the ocean, that’s terrible. You’ve not qualified yourself. It’s like not qualifying your client, like you’ve just gone in completely the wrong direction. Qualifying yourself and qualifying your wants and your needs out of life and realizing that I’m not a bach person, which I’m not. Wendy is, Wendy is our beach person. Wendy keeps saying I think we need to build a cruise ship and everybody come on board. And I just told her and I’m like yes but you forgot that I don’t like the ocean. It’s a hard sell. The concept is good but it’s a hard sell. But knowing that about yourself and knowing about where it is that you want to go, and how you’re going to get there it helps you backwards plan those incremental steps that you need to take in your life, in your business, in all of the things to know exactly how you’re going to get there. It’s how you make the plan. And that’s how you create your certainty. That’s how you create your stability and your security, all those things that we need that we can’t have. It’s gives you the ability to control what you can in this moment when so many feel completely out of our control.

Wendy Guth 9:19
Oh, yeah, that is that is well, it’s very true on a number of points. Right now, it’s just so hard. One of the things that I say is, look ahead, look forward, look down the pike and sometimes it is so difficult to do that. Actually another exercise also can be very powerful is to sit down kind of clear your mind, grab a piece of paper a writing utensil, and think about your perfect day but not necessarily think about it now. What is that perfect day for you like five years down the road? Even 10 years down the road. In all likelihood you’re not thinking oh, I’m waking up to a pandemic or something of that nature. And then to start, what are you feeling? What are you seeing? What are you doing? All those sorts of things and you start to build a repository that allows you to come back and say, What are my values? What is so important to me? Where am I going? It’s always interesting one of the exercises that we do is what we call like the be goes, do goals, action. And then from there, I guess tasks. Most people actually start in the do phase, I want to do this, we are wired to do that. It’s great if you can actually start, what do I want to be, but you can work your way back, you can work your way I want to be a millionaire. Or I know I want to…well, that’s ultimately and that’s a very hedonistic goal. But it did pop into my mind right now. I think maybe we should play the lottery. I think that’s the sign.

Krystal Eicher 10:58
I like it. I like it. Well, just because I want to be a millionaire doesn’t mean I would be hedonistic with my millions of dollars.

Wendy Guth 11:04
Well, I know that about you, because I actually know your values.

Krystal Eicher 11:11
You also know my be goals. That kind of helps too.

Wendy Guth 11:15
I think that one of the things that I find so interesting is to really talk about purpose driven profits, you really have to spend the time and the energy and it is there’s energy involved, to really dig into the purpose piece of it.

Krystal Eicher 11:34
When Wendy and I did this process together how ever many months ago. We were going through this in a workshop this week with members and so many of them got stuck. And I was rattling off mine in the comments and somebody private messaged me and said, Man, you have it all down. And I said no, you don’t understand. These took hours and weeks on pause and weeks of back and forth with Wendy and I to really work through them. So when she said, you know really come up with your be goals. What do you want to be? So I wanted to be a great mother, I wanted to be a loving partner, I wanted to be a community leader, I wanted to be a marketing expert. Now we needed to do attach, you know, what do you do? So you know, like she just said be, do, action tasks, what do we do? So if I want to be a great mother, I’m going to carve out extra time for my kids. I’m going to schedule more walks. Just kind of worked down to start with the macro, and you work down to the micro. And you do this in a lot of aspects of your business or your life. That’s where your purpose comes from. Because I know now my tasks aren’t just tasks, I’m not just going for a walk to go for a walk, I’m going for a walk with the kids tonight, or I’m going to sit down and play this game of mousetrap for the 6 million time, which by the way, is the worst game in the world ever invented because it breaks every single time you play. All kids are obsessed with it. And I’m still mad at my husband for buying it. But I’m going to sit down, I’m going to play this game of mouse trap tonight, not because I’m just checking a box, but because it is attached to the bigger purpose that I have attached to it. Which is I want to be a great mom. It’s the same little things that you’re going to do in your business. Like I’m going to send out my weekly newsletter, well that’s attached to I really want to be a community leader in my industry. And I need to attach to that on a micro level is keeping in touch with them on a regular basis. And it helps give me that motivation to show up in my business and show up in my life in ways that sometimes I don’t want to do.

Wendy Guth 13:41
It’s messy, dirty work. And it’s interesting. I did this, obviously, before you did this. For me my ultimate purpose, amongst other things, but really was to be there. And I had couched it I want to be there for my loved ones. I actually had a bit of a I guess you’d say it was almost like a revelation. That really it even expanded to I want to be there for those in my community as well. That is one of those drivers for me that gets me doing Facebook Lives. Or drivers like you say communicating. But I want to be there I want to show myself as the teacher and as a leader in my work community. It was an interesting, just a little powerful shift that has proven to be quite important for me. I like to say it’s all dirty work. It’s all evolutionary. And you can sit down and come up with and it’s just I guess, seeing how it fits into your your picture into your life. It’s interesting not too long ago, I don’t think I’ve shared this with you. I ultimately am a visual person. And for a while there my life…a number of years ago my life was incredibly chaotic. This is a really funny, I had a picture of a submarine in a hotdog bun. Oh my gosh, it had like bubbles and anyway, it was really a crazy image. But it basically came down to this concept of Aeronautics, what they call Max Q, which is maximum density, that it’s just the perfect, the perfect point at which something either explodes completely, or just takes off in a positive way. I felt that that was my life. So I had this visual, I, that’s hasn’t been my life for quite some time, though, still sort of fits. But anyway, I created another visual this time it’s a river with banks and rocks. And I have my buckets on the rocks in the middle. For me, that’s like, Okay, this is my visual. And this is where I am now. Anyway, I’m not sure why I went off in that strange tangent. But those are also the kinds of tools that can help in trying to find some answers at a time where they aren’t necessarily available.

Krystal Eicher 16:02
What’s hardest about this work is there is a fear when people get started that the answer that they come to might not be what they wanted to hear. I think we all set up very different expectations for ourselves and how the world perceives us and how we are perceived by the world. I think there’s there’s sometimes a disconnect there. So when we create these be goals on what we want to be, I’m going to use the motherhood one because I think that’s a pretty pointed example there like perceptions of like what a good mother is to me is different than maybe what a good mother is to you than what is a good mother to like Suzy-Q, listening to the podcast. And so really trying to drill in to what that actually means to you, and what your definition of success is in that area. And how you feel about that, right? so incredibly powerful. On one hand, and then on the other hand, so you might get to this conclusion that hey, some of these be goals actually work against each other. And what is the priority? What is the ultimate be goal? What is the most important be goal here? That’s a really interesting idea too around this and why it’s so important to assign, like Wendy said, your be, do, action tasks. Is that what it is? I always get them confused,

Wendy Guth 17:26
Be, do, action and then go and then tasks and there’s you could even go farther, it’s just, it just sort of flows. It’s drilling down as deep as you can go to actually as deep as you want to go. So interesting, what you just said, because at times, with one on one coaching, you can obviously you can drill down further. And there are a couple questions that routinely come up. When we talk about goals. It’s so funny, because I think you just hit the nail on the head, which is, are there current activities or situations in your life that might conflict with enacting your goals? I have a goal that I want to do everything I can to be the best at my job. Yet, I also want to be the best I can as a mother. Sometimes those are conflicting. And it’s not always possible to juggle everything. I always like to think that priority really is just one thing. It’s hard to have priorities. You have priority at any moment. So it’s just makes me think that ultimately, and maybe this is just getting into the whole thing that as women, sorry to any men who are listening, but as women, I’ve always feel like we sort of second guess ourselves. What are other people possibly going to think? And I know that’s very important. It’s very important in my house, it’s very important in my world. It’s very important. I spend a good bit of time thinking what will Ashley and Krystal think of this? And I do? And it’s a combination of because I value what you have to say. But it’s also it’s that little second guessing in my head, that I don’t necessarily, sometimes we’re kind of I don’t know that we’re wired that way but we’re taught that way.

Krystal Eicher 19:23
Yeah, Ithink that that’s true. I think that again, it comes back to that conflict between your perception of self and the world’s perception of you. And sometimes those don’t always mesh up. And so when we create these goals for ourselves or these expectations for ourselves or what do we want to be? Really taking the time to dig down and make sure that it’s in alignment with what you actually want to be not just what you think the world wants of you. And then when those priorities do come in conflict, and they will. It’s interesting because Brene Brown does a similar exercise, for values exercise. And we did it as part of KTA, when you ask somebody, what do you value? They might give you a list of 30 things. And I said, Okay, well not you need to really just take three. Yeah, you really, three, if you can narrow down to two, one even better when you look at that list of all the values that could be out there, courage, curiosity, wholeheartedness, leadership, kindness, gratitude. There are all these things, that that you’re like, Oh, I want to be this. And I want to be this and I want to be this and I want to be this, I want to be this. We only have so much bandwidth.

Wendy Guth 20:34
Well, and it’s interesting, because it’s not also necessarily what you aspire to be. It’s what are those core values that you really are? And you’ve done the values in action exercise, where you answer questions, and they actually tell you what your values are. And they bring it back. And you’re kind of like, Oh, that’s really interesting. It’s also interesting, when you’re being told what you are, rather than you’re picking from a list. There’s so much out there, oh, it’s like an over abundance of tools that can help us. But deep down, it’s just I wish that we listened to our gut more, listened to having a community that allows us to share openly and honestly. These are such incredibly important. Like, I’m very lucky. I mean, I have Ashley and Krystal. And I wish I could share them with everybody. But that would leave less for me. So

Krystal Eicher 21:47
I don’t want to be shared with everybody I feel exhausted. But what’s cool about this exercise, again, is when you do break it down into the micro and you see all the tasks that you need to do to achieve your be goals to achieve that higher level of what you want to be. Really, for me anyway, when we first did this exercise, I kind of made the joke. She said, Okay, list out your be goals. And you know, you list out like 10 things that I wanted to be. She said, Okay, now for each be goal, you need to cite three do’s and for each do three tasks. And it felt very quickly, like the ice breaker toilet paper exercise. Have you ever been in the room when they pass around the toilet paper and pull some toilet paper. And then oh, by the way you have for every square of toilet paper you pulled off, you had to share one thing about yourself. So the people that got in really ambitious and pulled like 20 squares versus the person who did one got really screwed in the icebreaker conversation. And that’s how I felt with these be goals. The first time that I did them was okay, I did too many. I did too many and some of them have to go. Because the reality of it is we only have so much time during the day. One has to have bigger priority over another. It’s true in all things and not just in your be goals and in your business and your purpose driven profit exercises. But in your marketing strategy, in your business plan. You cannot as an entrepreneur starting out especially do and be all the things to all people. Something has to win.

Wendy Guth 23:26
Oh, that is absolutely so true. That is so so so true. And it’s really knowing when the right time is for any of those and for things happen.

Krystal Eicher 23:40
I love that because I saw something the other day it says you can have it all just not at the same time.

Wendy Guth 23:45
Exactly. It’s fun we do this wheel of life. There’s 10 different buckets in your life. Probably if I look at it, my purpose involves probably all 10 buckets, but not at any given time. It’s just not humanly possible for us to do everything. It’s also I think there’s there’s a comfort. I don’t know if you feel this way. But there’s a comfort in knowing for me that I have a purpose that I will more than happy have on my headstone. Not right now but someday. It allows me the flexibility, maybe that’s the right word, to shift and pivot and shimmy and do whatever it takes to make this pandemic and this time, I guess as least painful as possible.

Krystal Eicher 24:39
Well, there’s power in boundaries, and there’s power in, like you said, knowing that you are fulfilling a purpose. It’s just not all of your purposes all at the same time. There was something incredibly freeing about the permission to say no or not achieve or not do certain things in certain areas, because I was fulfilling my purpose in other areas.

Wendy Guth 25:07
Yes, yes, yes, yes. Yes, I like that. And there is power. And the power can also be I know what’s best for me. I know what I can control in my world, actually, the power is in saying, I trust the decisions that I make.

Oh, I think we’re gonna end it there.

With this wonderful meandering experience, I appreciate that.

Krystal Eicher 25:38
Well, I appreciate all meandering experiences and conversations that you and I have. Alright guys, until next week, tune in. But join us in travel agent training and mentorship. And we would love to know if you’ve done any purpose exercises if you have any idea on how to drill down on that. If you’re struggling course, in KTA we have this amazing workshop available to all our members to work through this process with Wendy. But until next time, enjoy your purpose and enjoy drilling down and we’ll see you soon.

Hey, guys, thanks for listening. We hope you got something great on today’s episode. If you were wondering where you are out of balance in your travel business take our free quiz at Kinship Travel 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


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 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


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 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.

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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. 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

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