Every year for the past nine years, Vision Travel has held a conference for our team members and suppliers. It has evolved into a weekend of sharing, learning, connecting and networking. And that means for hundreds of Vision people – including our ITAs – it’s not to be missed.
Your group probably has conferences and meetings too. How can you make the most of each one? It’s an investment of time and money-wise to just be there, so let’s see how you can make every minute count:
1) Chances are you chose your host agency based at least in part because of its leadership. Here’s the chance to have some face time with them, hear them share their plans for you and your colleagues, and refresh your commitment to why you do what your do. Face to face with your execs and your team is the best medicine if you are feeling out of touch.
2) Do a bit of homework in advance. Take advantage of a break in the agenda, or even get up early, to connect with key colleagues (Same part of the country? Same area of expertise e.g. destination weddings or golf?) to share and exchange tips and know-how. Be generous with your own knowledge: mentoring at any level is a good thing and meetings always open that channel.
3) What a great opportunity to build your supplier network. When else are you going to be in the same room as them, sharing your business-building ideas? Hint: be sure to connect with suppliers you don’t personally know rather than the tempting option of always hanging with your old faves/friends. Make every minute count towards building your business!
4) And for many this may be the biggest benefit of all: the chance to hang out with your fellow home-based agents. There’s no one who understands your life the way they do. Find out who has what specialty and you may be able to make referrals to them. Equally, make sure they know your area of expertise (maybe make a note of it on your card when you give it to them: lots of cards are exchanged at these things!)
Attending your group’s annual conference is an investment in your career that’s hard to beat. Watching a group of Vision’s top sellers in Alberta getting together for their own mini-meeting (that they organized themselves) and noticing an impromptu group getting together to plan a strategy to support each other, I thought: How wonderful it is to see entrepreneurs like our home-based agents being creative and forward thinking about their careers. Made me so proud.
Lynda Sinclair, CTM, is the Senior Vice-President – Leisure at Vision Travel , which has an ever-expanding and vibrant program for independent agents. With over 60 years in the Canadian retail travel industry, Lynda says Vision “lives and breathes what goes on at the front line.” She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.