Take Time to Invest in Yourself
By Jackie Friedman, Nexion President
Nexion offers educational events for every facet of its membership – from new to experienced, leisure to corporate. I’m often asked, “Which event is right for me, and which ones should I attend?”
And with the start of spring – and the kickoff of industry and trade show season – all of these event and show choices can seem a bit overwhelming. As part of your spring repertoire, I hope you’ve taken a few moments to review and target your personal development plan. If you haven’t, now is the time to spring into action. Here’s how:
- My recommendation is for you to go back to your overall goal for your business. Who are you selling to? What do you want to know? Then focus on those programs to attend. Select a few Nexion, Travel Leaders and industry events.
- Once you select the event, ask yourself, “What do I want to get out of this event? What do I want my business results to be?”
For example, a Nexion member told us that after attending an AMAWaterways FAM last year, he wanted to increase his AMA river cruise sales by a certain dollar amount by the end of the year, which he then achieved! Another Nexion member had a goal to discover a certain type of supplier for groups during our inaugural Group Travel Sales Summit. After attending and meeting with all the suppliers present, he found what he was looking for and was then able to book a huge sale.
A third member attended Nexion’s Group Travel Sales Summit with a goal of learning how to qualify clients. Upon returning home, she shared, “I’ve booked one group celebrating a milestone birthday this summer and another celebrating a milestone birthday in spring 2018. Qualifying clients upfront has led me to providing one customized solution for them with “good, better and best” enhancements, which I learned at Nexion’s summit. Yay!”
As you can see, some travel professionals set sales goals, while others want to learn from particular supplier partners. You can also have goals based on your specific specialty, such as luxury, romance, groups, etc., or maybe on a particular area where you want to expand your knowledge, such as marketing. (Nexion has events targeted for each of these specialties, in addition to its annual member conference, CoNexion, regionals and more.) These examples show both very specific and more generalized goals, which will differ based on your individual business needs.
Time and money are investments – use both wisely
Attending events can be a huge investment in both your time away from your agency and on your wallet, so you want to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. In addition to choosing the right event to attend and preparing in advance so your goals align with your business, my final recommendation is to ensure you’re putting into practice what you’ve learned once you arrive home. Once you leave (on the airplane on the way home is a great time!), identify the things you’re going to apply and include realistic deadlines.
At Nexion Boot Camp, we always ask attendees to write a letter to themselves on the last day with actions they learned that they want to apply when they return. We then send this self-addressed letter 30 days later as a reminder, and ask the agents to share feedback on their progress.
The key is don’t be an education junkie and take training just to take training. Put yourself in a position of strength, and choose events, webinars and educational opportunities that are relevant in your business. Then, make the most out of them by setting goals and keeping yourself accountable to achieve those goals once you return home. Happy spring, and happy learning!
Jackie Friedman, CTC, CTIE President Nexion LLCJackie Friedman is the president of Nexion®, a fully licensed, bonded and accredited host agency with operations in both the United States and Canada. She oversees an operation that employs 60+ employees supporting more than 3,700 independent leisure and corporate travel professionals.
Jackie joined the Nexion leadership team in 2004 as Vice President of Operations. In early 2007, her responsibilities increased when she was promoted to President of the host agency, with a focus on membership growth, supplier relations, marketing, business development, training, customer support, product development and fulfillment services.
Prior to joining the Nexion team, Jackie enjoyed a 15-year career with Sabre Travel Network, serving in a variety of account management, sales, business development and leadership positions in both Canada and the United States. Prior to joining Sabre, Jackie got her start in the travel industry working as a front-line agent and eventually a travel agency manager in Toronto.
Jackie brings proven success in leading organizational change, implementing new programs and managing day-to-day operations. She is often asked to participate on industry panels and has been a member of several travel industry advisory boards, including the Carnival Executive Forum, Celebrity Cruises Advisory Board, CLIA STARboard, Globus Presidents Council, Holland America Line Advisory Board, the Professional Association of Travel Hosts (PATH), Royal Caribbean Advisory Board, the Travel Institute Board of Trustees and the Travel Insured International Advisory Board. She also served on the ASTA Board of Directors from 2012-2016. Jackie is a recipient of the Barbara O'Hara Award for Advocacy, among other industry honors and lifetime achievement awards.
About Nexion: As a branch of Tzell Travel Group (a Travel Leaders Group company), Nexion® is a fully licensed, bonded and accredited host agency, where members have focused on selling travel since 1995. Nexion provides ticketing, operations and fulfillment support to independent travel professionals coupled with best-in-class tools, technology, marketing, education and support. Nexion is the complete host agency for multi-agent agencies, corporate agencies, experienced agents and those new to the industry. The difference is clear – joining Nexion is the best decision you can make.