As a coach of some amazing destination wedding professionals, I get asked a lot of questions about my journey as a travel agent.
There are so many questions when you launch out to start a travel or wedding business! It can be overwhelming as you really dig in and face some unknowns.
I wanted to share a few pieces of my journey that you may be able to relate to and encourage you to make the decisions that are necessary to keep moving forward.
6 Decisions I Had to Make as I Built My Destination Wedding Business
Resort Brands and Travel Suppliers to Partner With
I quickly learned that partnering with the right companies is critical to your success, peace of mind, and reputation. Without quality and reliable resorts and travel suppliers who have your back, you, as the travel professional could do everything right, but in the end, have horrible reviews and a mess on your hands.
I advise starting with 3 reputable brands to learn well. As you travel more, you can add brands. For the best travel suppliers and resort brands to partner with, ask your peers who they work with for wedding groups.
A frequently asked question I get is, “Should I book the group directly with the resort or with a travel supplier?” The answer to that is – BOOK WITH A TRAVEL SUPPLIER!
Should I Have Services That Included Being Onsite?
In some ways, this intrigued me. But as I started managing more and more wedding groups, I discovered that my services were best utilized at my desk, in case any of the guests needed me during travel.
If my destination wedding couples ask me about this, I will let them know my thoughts, but if it is something they really want, I will consider it but will have a separate contract with specific services I would provide and a hefty price for my time.
Charging Professional Planning Fees
Once I implemented charging professional planning fees, everything changed for the better in a variety of ways. As my experience grew and I was able to offer more services and value to my clients, I was able to charge up to $2,500 to assist a couple with their destination wedding planning.
Bringing on IC’s
When things started getting busy and I was feeling swamped, I realized that I couldn’t scale without a team. And even though I didn’t feel like I had the time to properly train someone, I made it work. The great thing about it was I chose a trustworthy individual with who I shared everything about being a destination wedding travel specialist, and that allowed me to have freedom.
My advice: bring on someone sooner rather than later. This will set you up to scale faster and with fewer headaches.
Hiring an Assistant
It’s hard to trust people with the business that you’ve built and with your clients that you’ve worked so hard to attain. On top of that, when you’re overwhelmed and feel like you’re drowning, hiring an assistant feels like more work rather than something that could help you, but that is the furthest thing from the truth.
Once I created standard operating procedures and created video training, it was much easier than I thought to have an assistant. I had to relinquish control and focus my energies on only the things that I could do and hand over the things that someone else could do on my behalf.
The Processes I Needed in Place
As I developed my business, there were a lot of moments of frustration as we grew. It’s weird because it is what I wanted, but with it came a whole new set of problems that we’re looking for solutions to. Once I put processes for getting leads, consulting with prospects, communicating with wedding guests, and managing groups, my work life became more manageable.
Journey as a Destination Wedding Specialist
My journey as a destination wedding specialist has evolved over the years and yours will too, one decision at a time.