For anyone who enjoys traveling, learning about interesting places and helping others with their business or pleasure travel plans, becoming a travel booking professional is a way to enjoy your love of travel while helping others visit places they may have only dreamed of in the past. Becoming a travel professional requires specific steps and dedication, but the rewards in the profession are significant. It requires the candidate to learn more about a wide range of locations, vacation options and regulations related to travel as well as learn to understand the needs and desires of clients who may contact them for travel arrangements.
I’ve been seeing many anxious TPI agents (advisors) post on Facebook, stressing over their clients’ canceled trips thanks to the COVID-19 threat. It’s absolutely understandable that there are so many of us travel advisors enduring an extremely stressful moment in time concerning our own health and the health of our travel businesses. Other fellow TPI agents are chiming in, echoing the same exact sentiments, but also offering stress management solutions. (According to a good majority, wine helps!) Our family of Rockstar agents is working together to get through this challenging time in our industry, just like a supportive family should. Amidst the anxiety and worry, one this is for sure, we must practice healthy stress-management solutions so we can come through this thing on top.
Is Stress Always a Bad Thing?
In general, stress isn’t great for your health. However, when referring to feeling worried about your clients’ enjoyment of their intricately-planned vacation or how they are going to cope with having to cancel a long-awaited dream vacation, that’s not such an awful thing. Stress like this means you care and is a good indicator that you’re in the right profession. When you are concerned with the welfare of your clients, you stay sharp and ensure you cross every ’t’ and dot every ‘i.’
However, too much stress can hurt you and, eventually, your business. Between anticipating your clients’ needs, keeping with current trends within your niche market, and handling the administrative tasks of owning a business, your days as a travel agent can be overwhelming. It takes to a particular type of person to hustle day in and day out as a small business owner, but at the end of the day, we’re still human, and stress can get to all of us. That’s why it’s imperative you learn and practice excellent stress management skills.
Standard Stress-Management Techniques
You know the typical suggestions when it comes to business stress management.
- Drink Plenty of Water
While these stress-management recommendations are both effective and valid, there are other lesser-known business stress management practices you should think about incorporating into your daily life. As a small business owner, consider the following suggestions to ensure stress doesn’t get the best of you and your business.
Lesser-Known Business Stress Management Solutions
- Be Part of a Community
Most of us travel advisors are damn proud to be solo entrepreneurs, but when the stress of this business gets to be too overwhelming, having a stable positive support system on your side invaluable to managing your stress at work.
For most people, a stress-management support system could consist of a combination of the following:
- A Spouse or Significant Other
However, if you don’t feel the support you need to manage your stress at work from those closest to you, don’t despair. There are other ways to be a part of positively supportive stress-management communities.
- Facebook Groups: There is a Facebook group for everything, including plenty of groups for travel agents (advisors) and small business owners to talk business, ask for help, and relieve stress. Within Facebook groups, you’ll connect with people all over the world who can empathize with your concerns and offer valuable solution suggestions to possible issues. Remember the TPI agent sharing her anxiety and stress over her clients’ trip? Well, she discovered the perfect business stress-management solution through a Facebook group, where she was able to express her anxieties within a trusted, supportive community of travel agents who understood what she was feeling.
- meetup.com Groups: If you are looking for more of an in-person business stress-management solution, check out meetup.com, a community-based website where you can connect with local entrepreneurs and travel agents can schedule or create meet-ups. This is an excellent way to build a stress-management support-network for you and other travel agents in your area.
- Host Agencies: Talk about a massive resource for like-minded business stress-management! Joining a host agency is one of the best things you can do as an independent travel agent. Here at Travel Planners International, we guide and support our 4,200+ rockstar agents on the road to their own success. Plus, we host dozens of training events and networking parties in our Central Florida HQ, as well as across the country. We do all this to curate a positive atmosphere for our agents to thrive within their businesses and provide a valuable business-stress management outlet.
- Cover Your Bases
Limit the amount of stress you have in the future by doing your due diligence now. There are some crucial things we strongly advise you to do to reduce business stress.
- Push for Travel Insurance: Hands down, this is one of the most impactful things you can do to reduce stress in your travel agency business. Trust us. Travel insurance is in your and your clients’ best interests.
- Ask LOTS of Questions: There’s no such thing as too much information from your clients. The more information you have, the more armed you’ll be against anything that could possibly go “wrong.” Don’t know where to start? Consider the following:
- What are they afraid of?
- Do they have allergies?
- Are they on a special diet?
- Do they use social media heavily?
- Do they have an international data plan with their cellphone carrier?
- What is their plan if unforeseen circumstances occur, and they need to cancel?
Record or write down their responses and store them in your CRM so you can continue curating better vacations for your clients. It’s always better to over-communicate and never assume. Having more information and participating in lots of communication will effectively reduce your business stress and keep your clients coming back for more.
- Don’t Let the Stress Drown You
In the end, no matter how hard we try to prepare our clients or how secure your support system is, stress can get to you.
And that’s ok!
Accept it, but don’t drown yourself in it. It’s easy to ruminate, but try to move past it. The more often you remind yourself of this, the more you’ll reduce business stress.
If you’re like the TPI agent mentioned earlier, worried about the abundant cancellations thanks to COVID-19, you must find a solution that will adequately reduce business stress. In a case like this, don’t be afraid to reach out to your fellow agents and get advice on how to manage rebooking customers for future trips, while calming their fears. Using your support community will help you better manage stress at work, and your clients will see it as you being the awesome and super-invested travel advisor that you are.
Don’t Take Travel Issues Personally
If heaven forbid, something does go wrong on your clients’ trip, or something you couldn’t see coming happens, like the COVID-19 pandemic, don’t take it personally. There are no guaranteed perfect vacations. If you did everything right and covered your bases (see the second tip), acknowledge that and give yourself some credit. However, if there is room for improvement, use mishaps as a learning opportunity, and unprecedented times like these to identify what you can do to prepare for such situations next time.
The fact is, you are in a fast-paced, ever-changing business as a travel advisor. You’re a go-getter and a hard-worker, otherwise you wouldn’t be in this business. So you’ve got to expect some level of stress, but learning ways to manage stress at work is critical to your health and the health of your business. Control what you can and let the rest be. No need to lose extra sleep over this, we’re already sleep-deprived as it is. Now, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep rockin’ it, Rockstar!