Travel

Nothing will get you in the holiday spirit like the scent of roasted chestnuts, gingerbread and hot mulled wine, and the sight of festive holiday décor as you stroll through bustling Christmas markets across Europe – or even close to home.

Christmas Markets are essentially street markets, which are associated with the celebration of Christmas during the four weeks of Advent. Usually set up outdoors, the Christmas Markets specialize in a variety of local crafts and wares, along with tasty holiday delicacies. This is a no “mass-market” shopping experience; it’s a chance to experience a long-held holiday tradition throughout many parts of Europe. In fact, these historic markets have filled medieval town squares in late November and each December for hundreds of years.

Browse row after row of highly decorated stalls, illuminated with twinkling lights, for the perfect, one-of-a-kind gift, from hand-blown ornaments and handcrafted toys to beer steins and colorful woolen scarves.

A river cruise is an excellent way to experience the magical Yuletide season, as you’ll get to partake in multiple Christkindlmarkts, as the Christmas Markets are known. At one time, Christmas Market voyages were only offered along a handful of European rivers; today, nearly every major river cruise line offers sailings that traverse the Danube, Main, Rhine and beyond. Outside of Europe, one popular route brings you to the celebrated Mississippi River, with markets that beckon you with calliopes ringing in Christmas carols.

Christmas Market river cruising also goes well with time spent with family and loved ones. Travel logistics are handled for you, so you’re free to celebrate the season. The price for each vacation generally includes riverboat and hotel accommodations, along with most meals, entertainment and guided sightseeing. It’s quickly becoming a popular time for multi-generational families to cruise together, as these voyages are a great value and a lot of fun.

As you wander through the many markets, stay merry with these tips:

  • Bundle up in layers and wear good walking shoes. It can get a bit nippy in the outdoor air, but don’t fret – a cup of hot mulled wine and delectable gingerbread as a snack will keep you on the go along the many cobbled streets and rows of stands.
  • Visit more than one market! Depending on which city or neighborhood you are in, each Christmas market has a distinct personality – some are more traditional than others, with different music and local, handcrafted items.
  • Daytime is good; nighttime is great! The markets generally open in the afternoon, and you can peruse what’s on display. Once night falls and the lights are aglow, everything is more festive.
  • Bring small bills. Many of the stalls will accept credit cards, but it’s beneficial to bring cash. You wouldn’t want to miss getting that unique gift because plastic is a no-go.
  • For a fun memory, collect the mug. Each market boasts its own distinct ceramic mugs. Highly collectible, you might just end up with a suitcase full! (You can also return it to the vendor you bought your beverage from for a small refund.)

A trip to the Christmas Markets will have you stepping back in time to a world without big-box retailers and long lines. Don’t wait too long to contact your travel professional to book – these cruises are popular and tend to fill up fast! In fact, while you’re in the holiday spirit this year, it’s the perfect time to book your Christmas Markets vacation for next year and get the best cabin and itinerary!

 

Written by Suzanne A. Harbison, Marketing Manager at Nexion LLC

 

Inclement weather, delays and crowds – oh my! Traveling during the busy holiday season doesn’t have to weigh on your nerves or purse strings. While some things you can’t control, by following these seven holiday travel tips, you can still be well on your way to finding a boat- or plane-load of joy in your stocking.

  1. Avoid peak travel days of the week. At Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, traveling on the actual holidays is almost always cheaper than the days leading up to them. Your travel professional can help in finding you the best value.
  2. Oh, the weather outside is frightful. Weather can be unpredictable and turn ugly on a dime, so leave plenty of time between you and your destination. Check with your carrier prior to heading to the airport, and keep their app handy for gate changes and updates. Know the weather report where you’re headed, so you can pack appropriately. Getting stuck in Rockefeller Plaza in the snow with no mittens is certainly no fun.
  3. It’s a mad, mad world. Being caught in holiday traffic can be a nightmare – literally! Leave plenty of time to get to the airport, and consider taking a shuttle, car service or public transportation. Trust us; you’ll thank us later!
  4. If you’re flying, choose the right seat and flight. All airplane seats are NOT created equal – and we’re not just talking first class versus coach. Check seat and plane reviews on SeatGuru. Spending a little extra money to enjoy more leg room, priority boarding access or even lounge access can also go a long way on the ease factor. As far as timing, flying out as early in the day as possible usually means less delays.
  5. Bring comfort items for you and your travel mates. No, we’re not talking your Sherpa throw blanket and bunny slippers, but we do suggest a good book or noise canceling earphones with your favorite tunes, a sleep mask and pillow if you have a longer flight and your favorite healthy snacks. Wearing comfortable clothing completes the Zen you’re seeking.
  6. Keep it small. If you can, skip checking baggage and instead bring a carry-on to save yourself the stress of a lost suitcase. Whether you check or carry on, don’t pack gift-wrapped presents, or airport security will have a field day with them. Consider shipping gifts ahead of time, or if you must bring them, a collapsible gift bag that can be used to wrap upon arrival works nicely.
  7. Above all else, stay positive. Studies show that keeping a cheerful and optimistic attitude allows you to cope better with stressful situations. You’ve got this!

Avoid the stress and let a travel professional help you on your next holiday outing. A good travel agent, like those you’ll find at Nexion, can secure the perfect package for you that includes the best airline seats, hotel rooms and rental cars.

Written by Suzanne A. Harbison, Marketing Manager at Nexion LLC

 

It’s important to get the right foundation to be a successful travel agent. For four years, Travel Leaders of Tomorrow (a Travel Leaders company and sister company to travel host agency Nexion) has been training the industry’s newest travel professionals with its Virtual Campus travel agent training program. It’s easy: attendees get live, instructor-led virtual sessions, textbooks and a virtual study group of classmates. A new study group starts approximately every six weeks throughout the year. But sometimes, prospective travel agents need something else – something even more flexible. That’s why Travel Leaders of Tomorrow introduced the Independent Learner travel agent training program.

This program includes high-quality, online lessons, as well as quizzes for the aspiring travel agents to test their understanding and retention of the course material. Travel Leaders of Tomorrow instructors are available via email for guidance, and one coaching session is included. Independent Learners can move at their own pace, and the courses are available to them for six months.

You might want the Independent Learner track if you:

  • Want a highly flexible training program with no study group or class commitments
  • Have a good idea of the areas of specialization for your prospective travel business
  • Are looking for a more economical option
  • Have heavy career or family commitments that would make it difficult to be in a regularly scheduled study group
  • Want to get started on your training but just can’t make the time or financial commitment just now for the Virtual Campus training program

“The travel business is as robust as ever, and the Travel Leaders of Tomorrow program intends to infuse it with fresh energy and talent, which will continue to sustain it for years to come,” says Nexion President Jackie Friedman.

The entire Independent Learner travel agent training program is being offered by Travel Leaders of Tomorrow for $495. Students also have the option to buy textbooks and take the Travel Agent Proficiency (TAP) test for an additional fee. If you’re already affiliated with Travel Leaders Group, please ask us about our discount program. Participants who decide to upgrade to the Virtual Campus travel agent training program will get the Independent Learner fee applied to their tuition.

If you are thinking about becoming a travel agent, we’d love to talk more about which program is right for you, the Virtual Campus or Independent Learner program. Either way, Travel Leaders of Tomorrow can help set you on the path to success. Learn more about us here.

Written by Heather Kindred, Travel Leaders of Tomorrow Program Director

 

It’s never a good situation when you miss a flight when connecting somewhere. It doesn’t matter if you’re leaving or heading back home, delays in flights that cause misconnection are nothing we want to face. From a travel professional perspective, there are things you can do to protect your clients:

  1. Check the itinerary to ensure the legal minimum connecting time is met.
  2. Check to ensure there is no change of airports, such as getting to Heathrow LHR and getting a connection in LGW London Gatwick to move forward with an intra-Europe flight.
  3. Ensure that connections are purchased in the same ticket to allow baggage transfer.
  4. Use your own knowledge about the connecting airport, or do some research regarding distance between terminals and how easy it is to go from one to the other. Consider your passengers’ age and any physical limitations. For example, it’s not the same to go from terminal A to F if a passenger is young and athletic versus if a passenger is a mother with two, small children or if the passenger needs wheelchair assistance.
  5. If possible avoid tight connections, giving extra time to guarantee the connection will occur.
  6. Have alternate flights handy in case the connection is lost, which will shorten your time when dealing with the airline with a last-minute request.
  7. Let your passengers know that most times the airline will be able (if willing) to protect them on the next available flight, but the next flight could be the following day.
  8. Nobody is under control of delays due to weather conditions. When the season is known to be tough, suggest to book longer connection times.
  9. Prior to any trip, ensure you review details carefully and ensure involuntary schedule changes have not interfered in your original booking and connecting times.
  10. Contact your passenger to refine details and wish them a good trip!

 

Booking air has never been simpler than through SNAP!, available with your Nexion membership. Contact us today to find out more.

Written by Alejandra Alexanian on the Nexion SNAP! team

After watching so many amazing movies on Hawaii, it’s easy to see why these islands, located in the Pacific Ocean, are the perfect destination for a family, a couple or individual, as each island embodies a different attraction.

Some of our recommended must dos on Maui, the Valley Isle, include:

 

IAO VALLEY

First stop would be Iao Valley, which is known for its waterfalls and rainbows, as well as the amazing hiking trails. It is open from 10 to 4 daily in Wailuku in North Maui, near the airport. There is also a well-marked paved pedestrian path leading from the parking to view Iao Needle, and the ridge-top lookout provides incredible views of the valley. The needle is sometimes covered in clouds, so an early start is our best bet for a good view.

 

 

HALEAKALA NATIONAL PARK

Most people visit this spectacular Haleakala National Park at sunrise, but our preference is to go for the sunset and then stay and watch the stars. It is simply stunning and a lifetime memory! Another way of enjoying the wonderful sites is to go for a bike ride and, if you start at sunrise, it’s good to do it on the first full day you are on the island to get rid of the jet lag.

 

ROAD TO HANA

The Road to Hana is located along Maui’s eastern coastline and considered one of the last unspoiled Hawaiian frontiers. It is only 52 miles away from Kahului, but the drive can take from two to four hours to complete, because it is laden with narrow one-lane bridges, hairpin turns and incredible island views. The road leads you through flourishing rainforests, flowing waterfalls, plunging pools and dramatic seascapes. Start early, since there are plenty of opportunities to stop and enjoy the lovely views.

 

 

FLYIN HAWAIIAN ZIPLINE

For a bit of adventure, try “flying the magnificent Hawaiian skies” on the longest zipline in Hawaii. From the top of the mountains, you have incredible panoramic views of Maui and can see the entire central island, including both the north and south shore. You’ll cover more than 2.5 miles of the West Maui canopy, stretching from Waikapu to Ma’alaea, where you’ll cross nine different valleys and 11 different ridges. Eight ziplines range from 250 feet to a 3,600-foot monster, with heights over 250 feet and speed in excess of 50 mph! As an added bonus, you’ll gain insight into Maui’s rich history and culture, as your guides also share fun and interesting facts about the island, vegetation and history. This is definitely a one-of-a-kind experience!

LAHAINA

If you are wanting to shop, find good restaurants and history, you will want to visit Lahaina, an old fishing village.

There is an old courthouse near the Banyan Tree that has a great heritage museum upstairs and information on the historic sites. You can take a self-guided walking tour through the old town, visit its galleries and watch the surfers. Parking can be a challenge, so it’s wise to get there early and make a day of it.

And if you want a fun evening out, be sure to check out Warren and Annabelle’s comedy magic dinner show – reservations are needed ahead of time.

 

FEAST AT LELE

Save another evening for a traditional luau, or better yet, the Feast at Lele, which is similar to a luau but more intimate and authentic. The scenery is breathtaking, and the food is amazing. It’s pricey but a great value for the experience. Do not forget to reserve in advance, as it is a major point of interest and sells out.

 

 

UP COUNTRY

Located up country near Kula, the Lavender Farm offers delightful views of gardens that seem to just go and go with a variety of tropical flowers and plants, in addition to fields of various types of lavender.

Enjoy a cup of lavender tea and a lavender scone for a break with a wonderful view. (Tip: Bring your own cup/mug, and your tea is discounted.)

Afterward, head to the vineyards and tasting room at Maui Wine, which is close to the gardens. Tours of the grounds and wine operations are available during certain hours. By driving past the winery about five miles, you will be able to see the ‘backside’ of Haleakala and the lava flows that go down to LaPerouse Bay. If time, end the day in Makawao (the cowboy town) or Paia to find more shops and local art.

HULA GRILL

For a beautiful sunset and sand at your feet, take time to visit the Barefoot Bar at Hula Grill in Whaler’s Village (just down the road from Lahaina). Because they have live music regularly, if you request a table outside in the evening, you will have a starry ceiling while you enjoy a fabulous dinner, enormous Mai Tais and good music. Save room for their famous hula pie!

After dinner, walk through the shops at Whaler’s Village and even take a beach-walk stroll.

 

By using Nexion’s easy-to-use air, car and hotel booking tools, a Nexion travel professional can have you on your way to Maui in no time! One of our favorite stomping grounds is Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, which offers a tour of the stars through a hefty telescope on the property’s rooftop that you will not want to miss!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Suzanne A. Harbison, Nexion Marketing Manager, and Paula Szekely on the Nexion SNAP! team

Finding the right travel host agency that fits your business needs is of utmost importance to your success. You may be transitioning from one career to a travel career, and you need a little guidance on getting your agency off the ground. Or, you may have outgrown your current business model and find that affiliating with a host agency will be advantageous to you and your customers. Or, perhaps you just wish to take your business to another level, where a host agency would benefit these wishes.

When researching host agencies, do your research and call each host agency to ask their sales manager qualifying questions. My recommendation is to go to www.hostagencyreviews.com and/or www.findahosttravelagency.com, and choose a few to interview by reading reviews from agents who belong to them. Then call each host and ask these questions:

  1. How long have you been in business, and what is your sales volume? You want to look for size, strength and experience, which brings added negotiating power with supplier partners that will help you. For example, Nexion® is owned by Travel Leaders Group, and with gross travel sales of $400+ million, Nexion® has size, strength and more than 20 years of experience.
  2. What are your commission levels, commission split levels and which suppliers do you partner with? You’ll want to find a host that can provide you with maximum commission levels on the suppliers you will be selling. As a member of the Nexion® family, you will earn what a passionate travel professional should earn: up to 90 percent of top-tier commissions with more than 140+ air, cruise and land supplier partners.
  3. How and when will I get paid? There’s no point in a host stating they’ll pay you 90 or 100 percent of commissions if they never pass it along to you from the supplier or if you have to wait forever to receive payment. Get paid twice per month via direct deposit with Nexion®.
  4. How can I keep track of commissions, and what reporting resources are available? Does the host offer a 24/7, automated commission tracking system? What about offering standardized reports to track important metrics such as supplier payment status, service fees, commission income and revenue/expenses?
  5. What are your fees? Be sure to ask about any hidden or annual fees as well. You’ll want to find a host that doesn’t nickel and dime you for everything as well as a host where you’ll pay fees on only the things that pertain directly to your business. With Nexion®, there are no annual renewal fees, no per-invoice or transaction fees, no ARC bond or accreditation requirements, and no long-term GDS contracts.
  6. Are you affiliated with a consortia, and what marketing tools and resources do you offer? Will you have access to direct mail and e-mail marketing materials to gain new customers and keep your agency top-of-mind with existing clients? Does the host provide a free consumer website, as well as social media marketing solutions?
  7. How many agents do you have, and how large is your support staff? You don’t want a host that is so large, or so small, that they don’t have a good support system. You want to be part of the host family and not just a number; it’s important that you’ll receive personalized attention and a support team that will answer your questions.
  8. What types of educational and business development opportunities do you offer? This is an area where Nexion® is well known and won numerous industry awards. Is live classroom training important to you, or do you prefer virtual educational opportunities and a 24/7 learning management system? What types of coaching and mentorship programs does the host offer, as well as conferences and programs?
  9. What additional opportunities for networking do you offer? Because the majority of travel professionals today are home-based, having a network of like-minded agents in your region or who have similar business models or niches as you is paramount. Does the host rely on local supplier functions for networking, or do they provide events or conferences that bring members together to share best practices?
  10. Tell me about your technology; or better yet, show me the agent portal I would be using as a member and all the tools it provides to help me in my business. Will you have access to the GDS you book through, with 24/7 automated ticketing, fulfillment and quality control? What if you don’t use a GDS – how will you be able to book your clients’ travel? What does the host offer so you can manage your account?

By asking some critical questions up front, you’ll make an informed decision on choosing the right host agency for you … and soon you’ll be on your way to being a truly exceptional travel professional!

 

If you think about it, we are all salespeople. As a parent, you sell your child on the importance of eating a healthy meal or on the value of having a good education. As a coach, you sell your athletes on the significance of practice and fine tuning their skills. As a travel consultant, you plan and sell the perfect trip for your customers.

In order for any of us to be successful, we have to perfect our sales skills by investing in ourselves – through education and product knowledge, as well as through marketing. Take the time to learn more about the business you’re in. Know the products and/or services that you are selling. Practice the art of successfully marketing yourself. But most importantly, know your customers by asking questions and listening!

One of my favorite quotes is, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Think about it! Are you the type of person who asks a question, but you’re already thinking about the next thing you want to ask or say instead of truly listening to what your customer is telling you? Slow down and really take note of everything your client is telling you – listen with the intent to understand this person’s wants and needs.

I recently took part in training from Jeff Bloomfield, author of “Story-Based Selling” and former executive coach to senior executives of Fortune 500 companies. As Jeff states in his “Sales Fundamentals” online video, one of the pitfalls to successful sales is “to sell something that your customer does not want or need.” To have true success, we must understand our customers and their buying motivators, and then share our knowledge and experiences to gain credibility and trust.

Jeff shares the three stages of the sales process. It was a great review for me, and consequently, I wanted to share these processes with you as well:

Pre-sales:  This is where you do your planning and preparation. If you have business plan, review it and see if you need to update it. If you don’t have a business plan, this is the perfect time to start one by enhancing your training and education. For example, Nexion® offers several programs to assist with business development and education, including its Agents Connecting Together (ACT) mentorship program.

Customer Engagement:  Create the connection with your customers. Engage in marketing programs. Put together qualifying questions to find out more about them and what they value the most. Work on building trust and credibility. If you’re part of a travel agency host or consortia, take advantage of the marketing tools offered to stay connected with your customers. Nexion® members have access to marketing solutions that let you stay connected through social media, targeted emails and direct mail, so the right message is delivered to the right customer. Remember, it’s all about listening and selling something your customer wants or needs.

Post-sales:  This step is often forgotten by many travel professionals, and it’s too important to forget as it helps in building those life-long relationships with your customers. Show your service and support. Follow up with your customers with a phone call to see how their trip went. Use your marketing tools to send out greeting cards, and keep in touch with your customers with ongoing direct mail and email marketing. Again, your host or consortia should have an arsenal of resources that will make this step simple and easy to remember.

By reviewing these steps and fine tuning your skills through education, marketing, asking the right questions and LISTENING, you will position yourself for success.

 

There is one question I am frequently asked by travel professionals:  “When a client comes to me with a price found online, and I am only able to match the price or if my price is higher, why would they want to book with me?” This is a great question and one that all travel professionals must be able to readily and confidently answer.

When you are asked this question – and it’s a matter of when and not if – this is when you have the opportunity to sell yourself, show your value and secure the booking. As travel professionals, you are not only selling travel, but you are also selling yourselves. So know your product!

To begin, ask yourself, “Why do clients come to me?” Do they come to you for your advice, for information, for your knowledge of the travel industry and destinations, and because they want an expert to do the work? That expert is YOU, and you should know and be able to articulate your value.

Everyone has a different value proposition. Here are five ways to get you thinking about what yours are:

I am valuable because …

Relationships, Provide Best Value
I will get to know you and will create a trip customized for your own unique vacation. I will select the best products and provide my professional guidance along the way.

Save Time, Convenience
I am a one-stop shop for every aspect of your travel needs. I will assist you with all components of the trip in one place and give you pricing that is clear and concise, saving you countless hours of online research.

Industry Knowledge, Clout
My relationships with supplier partners allow for best value, amenities and direct assistance. I know who to trust and which products to offer. I will also offer you travel insurance to protect your investment.

Destination Knowledge, Consultant
By booking with me, I will give you direct access to me as your personal travel consultant. I will give you tips about your destinations that only a travel expert who’s experienced these places could give. I will qualify you based on your needs and wants to ensure you have the vacation of your dreams, and I’ll follow up upon your return.

Advocate, Expertise
I will monitor your bookings for any schedule changes and be there to assist if an issue should arise. I will ensure you have the proper documentation you need, advise you of any special travel information based on my knowledge of the destination and be there to answer any questions you may have.

Be ready, be confident, and most of all, know your value! In closing, I invite you to consider Nexion® as your host agency. Whether you’re new to the business, an experienced agent, an agency with multiple agents or focus on corporate business, Nexion has the tools and resources to help you develop your business and show your value as a travel professional.

As travel professionals, we book our customers on many things – that fantastic cruise, that once-in-a-lifetime safari, that hotel for the long road trip to grandma’s house for Thanksgiving. These are just a few of those magical life moments. Sometimes though, we don’t do the air, and that’s bad.

We should be owning the trip from beginning to end, which means from when our customers book until they arrive back home. Airfare is essential to many trips we book.

For the agent, it provides more control over the booking. It helps you know where your customer is to track them in the event of delays or worse. It also provides you, in some cases, with commission on the sale or a professional service fee.

For the customer, it shows you are taking ownership of the trip. It helps them know, in a jam, you will be there to help. By booking, you can manage seats and schedule changes, and it keeps you front of mind with your customer.

Agents can book air in a myriad of different ways. Here at Nexion,® we offer the four Global Distribution Systems (GDS) for those agents who know how to use one. Our experienced team of employees is here to help with exchanges, refunds and contract interpretation. For those agents who don’t use a GDS, we offer a graphical solution we call SNAP! SNAP is the Simple Nexion Air Program, which allows agents who don’t know a GDS to work with customers like they have one. SNAP! offers a great support team to help you with those complicated bookings.

One mistake agents make is booking air on consumer websites, such as the airline direct site. One of the things we hear often is, “If there’s no commission, why bother?” That is the wrong way to think. As professionals, it’s about taking care of the customer and owning the customer. When you book on external sites, you are just giving your customer away to that site to market to at will. If you think that airline site or other consumer site will think twice about selling and marketing to your customer for that cruise or safari, you are wrong.

I know that air can be scary. There are a lot of rules, and no one likes to make mistakes. One of the fears of booking air is the debit memo. It sounds scarier than it is. Most debit memos are issued because of careless mistakes that could have been avoided. Everyone makes mistakes, and that’s okay.

We work in a fantastic industry and should be doing all to support all facets of it. Without one part, the rest does not work. Until we can start teleporting as 1960s television has promised us, we still have to go through security and fly away to our dream vacation. So, let’s take full advantage of the whole experience.

 

You’re at a local chamber organization breakfast, and someone walks up and asks what you do for a living. How do you respond?

You’re in the check-out line at the grocery store and notice the person behind you looking at the magazine covers. How do you engage in a quick conversation about the 10 best beaches to visit?

You’ve been asked to give a speech about travel tips during a local AARP chapter meeting. Are you prepared to WOW the audience?

Experts say you have 30 to 60 seconds to make a lasting first impression, and one of the critical components to promoting your business and gaining new clients is by having an engaging elevator pitch.

So, what exactly is an elevator pitch? Quite simply, it is an explanation, in less than a minute, of your business model and how your business is unique. It serves as a verbal business card with a brief introduction to you and your business. It is a VERY important networking tool that allows you to break down barriers with the intent of engaging your audience in future conversations.

Use it as a conversation starter at networking events, to make a connection during unplanned face-to-face encounters or as an opening when presenting to other professionals. Everyone should have an elevator pitch – it will help grow your business with prospective clients.

4 Steps to Create an Effective Elevator Pitch
Your goal and end result should be to give a clear, concise message, so anyone will understand exactly who you are, what you do and why you are unique and different.

Step #1:  Determine what your elevator pitch should address. Make a list, and sell the value of YOU! Use bullet point statements to show your expertise, personality and principles. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the concept behind your business?
  • What is your specialty or niche?
  • How are you different from the competition?

Step #2:  Write down specifics, steering away from industry jargon.

  • [Name of your company] provides [name your products or services] for [describe the specific segment of the market you will serve] who [describe the problem this solves for them].
  • Include one sentence that tells why this business is needed and by whom.
  • Make a statement about the size and/or growth trend of the industry.
  • Write a sentence or two, no more, to address your qualifications to run the business. (What makes you different and why should they listen to you?)

Step #3:  Review and practice your elevator pitch with others. Ask them to be objective. Do they understand what your message is? Continue to tweak your pitch until it becomes second nature. Record yourself on your phone to listen to yourself, and also record yourself on video with your phone to review your pitch. A picture is worth a thousand words!

Step #4:  Ask for business. If you’re in a one-on-one or small group situation, ask whether they or someone they know would be interested in learning more or receiving a follow-up communication. Then, ask for their business card, and give them yours. “Would you like my expertise and skillset to plan your next vacation experience? I am here to save you time and money, and make your dreams come true!”

Remember, your ultimate goal is to know your pitch so well that you’re able to customize it on the fly to fit the audience and not sound as if you’re reciting. By doing so effectively, you’re sure to gain new clients and see your sales soar!