Elizabeth Foss * Outstanding Travel Agent of the Month * July 2018

Hello! Today I am elated to announce our
July 2018 Outstanding Travel Agent of the Month
Elizabeth Foss from My Travel Elf. She is a mover and a shaker a fantastic
agent, and I’m excited to share this interview with you today. So welcome
Elizabeth and congratulations! Thanks Heidi, I’m so excited! I really appreciate the honor thank you.
So tell us a little bit more about you and your travel agency
Well I’m based in Naples Florida, but my agents are all over the place. We have
18 agents right now yeah so it’s a growing agency. The bulk of the agents
are Disney focused, but we’re basically a full-service agency and yeah kind of a
family focused agency really. So wherever your family wants to go, we’re the ones
to create a magical vacation for you. Awesome! So what’s your favorite part about being a travel agent? You know what I love to
travel myself and unfortunately time and finances preclude me from being able to
just do travel myself. So if I can’t be doing it myself, then I love planning
vacations for other people, so that’s part of it. I’m one of those agency
owners that still sells because I don’t want to leave what got me into it in the
first place and then the other part of it is teaching other agents how to sell.
I love that, too – how to find their happiness and doing something that
they’re really passionate about so they can stay home with their kids and travel
themselves and make a good income yeah so it’s kind of both sides of it.
Oh fantastic! So I know you’ve been at this a long
time, like 30 years, right? Yeah, in the industry for a little over 30 years.
That’s fantastic! So if you could send a message to yourself when you were just
getting started as a travel agent thirty years ago, what’s something you would
tell Elizabeth back then? I probably would have told myself don’t be afraid
you can do this, but beyond that I would have told myself to think bigger because
I spent the first probably fifteen years thinking really small thinking –
just me and just about today or tomorrow or next week and never thinking about
the longer-range goals. What do you want to do in five years? Where you want to be
in ten years? And so 10 years down the road, then I found myself having a
structure that was completely unable to support where I wanted to be at that
time. So I wish that I had thought about, well what happens if I want to maybe
have people work with me five years from now? I would have chosen a different way
to do my website, a different way to set up the email, a different way for
everything. So think big even if it’s only you, there’s never
anything wrong with setting things up for a bigger picture. Yeah absolutely. I
see that with newer agents a lot. So what is the best piece of advice that you
have for the newer agents out there? Maybe stick with it. This is not an
industry where you can make it overnight because people don’t book their
vacations hopefully for leaving next week. They’re booking their vacations for
leaving in six months or nine months or a year and you’re not getting paid in
most phases until after they come back. So this isn’t a short-term kind of thing.
You can’t quit your full-time job and dive into it so I think you have to
understand it’s a long-term process at least it is for most of us. Yeah, absolutely.
Yeah think long range for sure. Yeah I think that’s a great piece of advice. I see
that was newer agents often, both inside our Travel Expert
Marketing Academy and elsewhere not in the Academy. I see that with newer agents
thinking in more short terms. I love that you’re talking about that big picture.
And I know business has changed a lot, you know, in the travel industry at large
in the last 30 years and then also just with you personally, so like what is your
next big goal in your travel business? Honestly, I want to start tying everything together. I feel like over the last
several years, I’ve had all these little bits and pieces and each of those bits
and pieces is starting to look really good, but I need some consistency. I need
to pull it all together into one tidy little package. And just get that
consistent look and consistent feel to everything and then I can go out and
present it to the world. I really want to take it much bigger in the next few
years, but I can’t do that until I do the house keeping first. It’s like you don’t want to invite people to your house until you clean it first. I just need to tidy up some things, and then I just want to go really big and I don’t really know what the
definition of really big is. I don’t know if that means bringing in a lot
more agents or just increasing my own personal sales. I just know that I don’t
want to just be this little tiny travel agent in Naples, Florida with some agents
around, and we are doing our little thing. I want it to be a bigger corporate
thing. Awesome, yeah and you did a fantastic job of really building a beautiful culture I
know within your travel agency. I heard stories of your agents and how they
really feel connected and like it’s been a family there and everybody’s really
supporting each other. So big kudos to you. Do you have any type of personal
mantra that you use that has helped you, you know, create that culture and just helped you through all the ups and downs of the travel industry
in the last 30 years? Or any time that you’re stuck, and you want to get back on
track to you of any kind of personal mantra that you’ve used? I have a few
personal mantras. It kind of depends on where I’m stuck actually. So one of them
is don’t give up. For every one big success I’ve had, I probably had two or
three that were like kind of sort of, and probably 20 that were completely flops.
And I mean like complete disasters Spending time and money and all these
other resources and getting absolutely nothing from it. So just keep going
because I probably think once a month, “Forget it. I’m done. I don’t want to do
this anymore. There’s got to be an easier way to make a living.” And then I remember
how much I like it when things are going right.” So don’t give up. Just keep going.
It’s a big one. When things aren’t working well from a marketing
perspective – in fact, just told somebody today – remember that no one likes to be
sold to. And when I back off of it sometimes and I look at what I just did,
why didn’t this work, and then I realized oh my gosh, I just totally made a bunch
of people feel like I was trying to sell them something. No wonder they didn’t buy
anything because everybody hates that, you know, so that’s
that’s a biggie, too. And then the third thing is remember that the other travel
agents out there are not your competition. They are, you know, all in the
same game together. We are not fighting each other for the same business. We have
to stick together. We have to be supportive of each other.
So when somebody comes to you and says, “Do you have an idea?”
Don’t hold back. Give them the idea, and if they can make it work, then you can
learn from them making your idea work and you can use it, too. There’s room for
everybody in this business. It’s a huge industry. So yeah, know who your competition is and it is not a travel agent next door. Absolutely yes. And as you know inside the Travel
Expert Marketing Academy, I preach that. So thank you for sharing that and so all
of you that are travel agents out there listening, you’ve now not only heard it
from me, but you’ve heard it from a travel agent who’s hugely successful, who’s been
in the business for 30 plus years that there really is no competition amongst
travel agents. We can mastermind together, grow together, and the more that we work
together, the more we can all rise because a rising tide does lift all boats. So thank you for sharing that. Elizabeth,
what’s been the hardest part of your marketing and how do you overcome it? Honestly, I’m in the Travel Expert Marketing Academy because I don’t always overcome it. You know what, I know what my strengths
are and I know what my weaknesses are, and I am NOT a good marketing person and
just I am NOT. And I struggle with it constantly, so I think I’m really good at
being creative for other people, but not necessarily for myself. So that’s one of
the things I struggle with a lot and then finding the time. Oh my gosh, I have
a list a mile long of things that I think would probably really work well. I
just need to find the time to do them you know, so that has been a challenge, too.
And so what I’m trying to do right now I find that my email gets in the way
because I get hundreds and hundreds of emails every single day, and I hate that
feeling of going to bed and knowing that there are people somewhere in that pile
waiting for me to answer. Drives me crazy. But trying to get it to zero is tough too,
so if I put the email first I don’t get anything else done during
the entire day. So now I’m trying this method of putting a project first like
first thing in the morning before I check the email before I even see how
many came in overnight working on a project first for an hour an hour and a
half and then setting it aside and working on the email. Because that’ll
take the rest of the day, but at least I know that I’ve worked on something. I’ve
taken a step forward. Yeah, that’s move your business forward.
That is awesome. Yeah that is one of the as you know tactic strategies that we
give in the Academy – the Productivity Module because exactly – like travel agents are
really busy being agents, but then also have to run their business, have to do
the marketing, have to move all these balls forward. So yeah fantastic. Kudos to you for implementing that. It works. So in the Academy we celebrate wins big and small because success breeds success. So what has been one of your big wins recently?
In business, in your travel business? Honestly, one of my biggest ones, the
ones I’m happiest about in the last year – I decided about a year ago that I really
wanted to find out more about river cruising. I don’t know – it’s
where I got my start, so I really wanted to do more river cruising. And a couple
months later, somebody came to me and said we’re looking for something to do
probably about five couples. And I just threw it out there, what about a river
cruise. And he was intrigued, so I gave him more information and he went for it.
I was as shocked as anybody, but they went for it, And so they actually haven’t
traveled yet, they’re gonna travel soon, but I put them on a cruise line that I
felt pretty comfortable with from a marketing perspective. And completely
coincidentally, I found out that they had a Sell Five / Sail Free thing going on for
travel agents. So I went back to them and said okay
well I just booked five so does that mean that I win a cruise? And they said yeah
absolutely! When do you want to? Awesome! They worked with me and last month, we went on our free cruise.
Normally, you have to wait until your people go, but they were really, really
nice about it. Said no, we really want you to do this soon. So they put me on a cruise.
I was on Facebook every day just posting – not sales things just, “Oh look at this
amazing place we are today! Look what the river looks like outside our cabin.” So
every day, I was posting multiple things on Facebook. And then just a few days ago,
I got done doing my very first webinar which is kind of cool. And I went back to
all those people that had been commenting and following along on
Facebook and from that so far I’ve got three really strong leads for new
bookings. So I am just so excited about kind of going down this path now it’s
something that I love, and it’s really fun. Awesome, yeah and river cruising has gotten so popular in recent years, so it’s a really cool new goal to be in that niche
and to go after those your River Cruises and really plan the
best ones for people I know is a huge amount of people out there that are
either wanting to try river cruising or have already tried it and are loving
it. And I know as a travel agent you can definitely get them the best deal in
addition to just all the details being handled to make it really easy and and
hands-off for them. So it’s fantastic. So other than river cruising what is your
next big goal in your travel business? I think at this point probably working on
the group business more because I’ve just found that from a time perspective,
you don’t put that much more time into working a group out
than you do for working just one family, So I really want to start pursuing the
group angle more and helping people grow. You know, they think it’s gonna be a
family vacation, but why not take your neighbors, why not take the people who
have kids your kids ages so they have friends to play with. and just helping
people take that single family and grow it into larger groups. I’ve stumbled into
that completely accidentally over the years, but now I think I actually want to
go after that a little more. Oh fantastic. Well for those watching that
are travelers they’re interested in either some type of a family vacation or
a river cruise or a group trip because you’ve now are doing that and they’re
interested in hiring you, where can they find you? They can find me on
Facebook at facebook.com/MyTravelElf or MyTravelElf.com or they can email me
at [email protected] Awesome! Well thank you so much Elizabeth. Again, congratulations on being our Outstanding Agent of the Month. You definitely deserve it. You’re a mover and a
shaker. We’re proud to have you a part of the A-Team here inside the Travel Expert
Marketing Academy, and for those of you that are watching that are a traveler, go
check her out at MyTravelElf.com. And if you’re a travel agent and you’re
interested in more information about the Academy, go to TravelExpertMarketingAcademy.com. All right, thanks everyone! Thanks so much, Heidi! Have you been thinking about how to get
more ideal clients in your travel business? Do you want to know what wildly
successful travel agents are doing? We can show you how to create a highly
profitable and rewarding travel business without overworking yourself. We will short
cut your success by showing you how to get as many new ideal clients as you can
handle. Find out how by going to JoinTravelAcademy.com right now and registering for your free online marketing training
which will show you how to be a wildly successful travel agent in today’s
market. And you’ll get a preview to the premier Travel Expert Marketing Academy
go to JoinTravelAcademy.com right now and register.Yyou don’t want to miss out
on this free valuable training. I’ll see you there!

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