Wow, I can’t believe December is here and January is just around the corner. It has flown by this year – excuse the pun – and now is the time to get fighting fit for 2020.
December is our quietest month for bookings but has become one of my busiest times for checking that all our marketing is in place for the first three months of the year, as this is the time we have the most activity.
This includes social media, direct marketing, door drops and our new turn-of-year radio campaign, plus any local media coverage we can muster.
It is also a good time to engage with our local community and businesses to support their Christmas events and how we can help each other in the new year.
When I look back, we used to do hardly any marketing in December. We have a social media competition that we have run for the past couple of years in December, which I think has helped with our January campaign, even if it means that I have to wear a Santa suit and look like an absolute idiot – although some would say that comes naturally.
I also use this month to prepare my team for the beginning of the year, stressing the need for great customer service.
And it’s a time to take stock and look at the tour operators we have used, how they have supported us, what service we and our customers received, who we have grown our business with and where it has declined.
It’s like a winners and losers of 2019. It’s then we focus on 2020 and who we will continue to work with and where there are new, or missed, opportunities.
As I write this column, we have just had a general election and I think 2020 is going to be a good year for the travel industry.
Abta and the consortia need to get positive messages out to the media that the high street travel agent is not dead.
We just have to change, adapt and evolve. And it’s heartening to see many independent agents reinvesting in their agencies and opening more branches, as well as new independent travel agents opening across the country.
So as we all take a break for Christmas, and while I’m eating my turkey, nibbling on my mince pies and drinking sherry, I will be getting excited and thinking about getting back to work to see what 2020 brings and thinking about how lucky I am to work in an industry I love so much.
I will also tell my team that during 2020, the only “B word” I want to hear at Idle Travel is “get BOOKINGS done”. Have a happy Christmas and a very prosperous new year.