Written By: Jackie Friedman, President – Nexion Travel Group
Can you believe it’s already summer—where has the year gone? It seems like just yesterday I was on the AmaViola ringing in the new year. And like the new year, when goals are top of mind, summertime is the perfect time of the year to reflect on and renew your goals, both from a personal perspective and for business.
Part of this reflection is giving yourself a grade. Dust off your written goals and evaluate progress. Renew goals that are still relevant and meaningful, and tweak those that are not. Ensure your goals remain S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely).
The back-side of the year is also ideal not only to assess the current year but also to start planning goals for the next year. What is it you want to accomplish, and what do you need to do to position yourself to put your best foot forward?
In addition to spending time on reflection and renewal, I encourage you to make relaxation a goal. Enjoy vacation with friends and family—we’re certainly in the right industry to be able to explore new destinations! You’ll definitely want to recharge your batteries for the latter part of the year.
Taking downtime is a lot harder than it sounds—trust me, I know. Be sure to set expectations with your clients when you travel, and you’ll set yourself up for success. Let your clients know you’re on vacation, and ensure necessary items are taken care of before you leave. Have another colleague be your back-up, and ensure this information is reflected in your out of office messages. Two examples from Nexion Travel Group members that I absolutely love are:
- Thank you for your email! This is an auto-response, but I really did write it. It’s not just a machine. I may be slow to respond to emails and quotes through the July 4 week. I am traveling to the beautiful Hotel Xcaret in Mexico with the Club MACE group for a week of gaming, exploring and relaxing. I will try to check email daily, but if you need me urgently, text or call my mobile number: xxx-xxx-xxxx. There will be times I am away from my phone, so if you are traveling or are about to travel and are unable to reach me, you can reach out to Sandy xxxx at xxx-xxx-xxxx. She has offered to provide a bit of back up for me this week. I will be back in the office bright and early Monday, July 8. Thank you for your understanding and Happy Independence Day!
- Hello, and thank you for your message! I am doing some research in Mexico for your next vacation. Check out my Instagram @xxx or my Facebook page for updates! I will be checking email sporadically but will only be responding to urgent messages. I will return on June 14. For non-urgent matters, please email xxx.
I also encourage you to use resources that your travel host agency or consortia offer for back-up if you don’t have a colleague for back up within your travel agency. For example, Nexion Travel Group has a special group in its social media networking community for advisors to find partners who may have similar experience or for referrals.
Whatever type of arrangement you set with a back-up colleague, ensure it meets your business and personal needs.
If you need to work on agency business during vacation, allocate time to do so, and try to stick to it. For example, plan to spend one to two hours a day going through critical items that need follow up or must be done, and then ensure you have true quality time for yourself and loved ones where work doesn’t interfere.
When you’re back from vacation, don’t forget to follow up with clients on their own vacations. Given that you most likely have many of your clients who are traveling now, from a business perspective, it’s also an ideal time to connect with clients. Take connections a step further bybuilding on those relationships; reach out and find out how their vacations are going. Ask them open-ended questions and actively listen to hear what they say about what they liked and didn’t like. Then determine how you’ll use this new-found knowledge.
Until next month, I wish for you rejuvenation, reflection and renewal. Happy Summer!