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READY, SET, GROW – Designing your Travel Business for the New Decade

Written By: Cris De Souza, Vice President Sales & Marketing – Nexion Travel Group

Seven Sure-fire Steps for Growth (Part 2)


Do your passion and purpose for your travel agency align? Are you happy with your level of business success? Want more? Last month I shared the first three of seven steps to move your business from where you are to where you want to be, and this month I’ll focus on the final four steps of brand, market, monetize and optimize.


Whether you’ve been in the business for six months or six years, these steps will surely help you become a travel marketing ninja:
1. (identity)
2. (mission, lifestyle)
3. (model)
4. (positioning)
5. (publish, network)
6. (conversion)
7. (impact, leverage)


Step 4: Brand (positioning)

When your vision with every decision and action is aligned, along with your true self, passion, gifts and lifestyle you want to live (discussed in the first three steps), this is where you consider your positioning, messaging and materials, known as Brand.


Start at the left of the pyramid with inner work of self-definition. You’ll have the positioning, and you’ll have a sense of your messaging today. Perhaps your materials can’t be done today, but you’ll have a head start.


Then in the middle, you look at your business strategy and focus on your brand. Your brand is what people perceive; however, you get to influence that message. (You can’t control the message, but you can influence that message).


The outcome is consistency and credibility, and you create a connection with the market.


When you think about your brand, ask yourself, “Who do I want to be for the world and what does that sound like (messaging), what does that look like (feeling) and what does that feel like (emotion)? For most entrepreneurs, they miss the “feeling/emotion” component of this exercise.


Emotion is “energy in motion.” We create emotion for our brand, and it makes people want to take action. Some of us can get caught up in giving so much information, we forget about the transformation that comes from the emotion. Our brand must have emotion, and it must flow through to the messaging and the materials.


Emotion is where your sweet spot is – you take your passion and talents and look at marketing opportunity. This is where all things come together, so you can leverage them in your business. For example, one of Nexion Travel Group’s advisors has a wellness background. This advisor is passionate about wellness travel, and she’s taken this energy and emotion, and she’s tapped into this with luxury wellness vacations.


Step 5: Market (publish, network)

Step five to grow your business is all about marketing – from publishing, broadcasting, speaking and networking.


So now that you’re clear about who you are, you’ve got a vision on the lifestyle you want, and you are feeling fueled and motivated. You have a business model that you know will create monthly recurring revenue, and you have built your brand. ​

Now what do you do? Sit home and wait for the phone to ring? No! There are many ways to market yourself, but the first step is going out there and doing it. You must put yourself out there.

This is where people can get really discouraged and stuck. You think, I built this great website, but where are my clients? ​

It will take time to reach your market, but you want to keep building. Use shameless promotion; be confident about promoting your business. ​ Most people think the problem is we don’t have enough customers, and we are constantly having to chase customers. ​


Marketing is about attracting. Here’s an analogy: Think of it like a butterfly and a garden. You can go around like a kid with a butterfly net running around and trying to chase clients, but that’s an old model and does not work. ​

A new model is building a butterfly garden and attracting the butterflies with your beautiful and engaging garden. You must plant some flowers in your garden to attract butterflies (or in our case, clients). What happens if one flies away? No worries, because you are attracting the right butterflies with the unique chemistry, colors, smells and flowers of your garden. So even if one gets away, there are many others who ARE interested in what you have to offer. ​

The solution is changing our perception into realizing we have all the tools and resources to cultivate business through the right marketing tactics. To help you build a robust butterfly garden, Nexion Travel Group has an excellent suite of products to help you with marketing. ​


Here are some suggestions for attracting people to your garden: ​

1. Publish something. It can be an article for your local paper or a club you are a part of, a blog post that you can send to everyone on your email list, plus social media postings or direct mail. Publishing does not need to be only social media. Social media is only a tool to get the word out there about your business, but you can’t just do that; you need to do other things as well. ​

2. Broadcast your business. You can put a video on YouTube; you can do a Facebook Live post. You can promote your business with t-shirts or other promo gear and give them out to your clients. ​ Consider speaking at a local travel club or offer to do a presentation at a service organization’s monthly meeting. You must put yourself out there, so people know you exist. ​


3. Speak Up! Sometimes you need to have shameless self-promotion. Don’t be afraid to be an expert in a certain area. Don’t be afraid to represent your brand in a shameless way. Don’t apologize for who you are and your brand. If you are confident in what you know the most about, people will respect you. ​

4. Networking: Join a club or a service organization. Volunteer in your community or sponsor a little league team. Set up a booth at a farmers’ market. Promote a trip that you are passionate about and get others excited to take that trip, too. ​


Brainstorm and get creative to attract clients through ALL types of marketing. This takes time and a plan. When business is coming to you, isn’t it a lot more fun than having to hunt it down? ​It’s all about how we approach our business and how we perceive our thoughts.

Step 6: Monetize (conversion)

Once aligned, and you have right marketing plan in place to attract diverse clients, that’s where business has scale. That’s where you’ll see your business grow. ​


We can monetize a lot sooner; however, this is based on the premise that all the previous levels of the formula create the conditions for monetization or conversion to happen. Monetization is the conversion of your magic into money. It’s up here for other reasons, too: ​

When we’re not in alignment, and being in tune with our talents, our gifts and our strengths, ​
When we’re not in authenticity, when our model is not a match for how we want to live, ​
When we don’t have a solid brand that drives emotion and action, ​
and When we’re not putting ourselves out there shamelessly and consistently over time,
We can’t monetize; the monetization part breaks down. ​

That is why all these steps in this order are so critical. ​


Step 7: Optimize (impact, leverage)

Step seven, the last step, is to optimize the system. With self-replication, we can do this repeatedly; we’re constantly optimizing.  ​


To conclude, don’t forget to start from a place of “Who am I really? What are my strengths, and what are my gifts? I want to be connected to my truest, authentic self. Can anyone relate to that? How do I want my life to look? What is my vision?”


I’ll leave you with a proven formula to think about this and create your mission statement: ​
​ ​

I help ______ (who do you serve) do ______ (what do you do for/with them) in this unique way (million dollars) so that _____ (why do you do this/the greater purpose)  ​


No one needs to know the how, not yet. Don’t get caught up in the how. Start with the why.
​ ​
Why are you on this planet? ​
Who are you here to serve? ​
Then work your way up the seven steps to get to the how​ and how you’re going to do it.


You can also listen to a webinar, where I, along with members of the Nexion Travel Group team, talk more about this seven-step formula to grow your travel business. Visit