Finish the Year Strong: Column

It’s officially the holiday season. For many, me included, this is the most wonderful time of the year—but it’s also a period when we see the upcoming days off and are tempted to ease into holiday mode and coast through the remainder of the year. It’s akin to that Friday afternoon feeling when you’re just ready for it to be the weekend. And, as you glance at your year-to-date performance, you might already be celebrating what appears to be your best year since 2019—which is certainly worth commending—but here’s the twist: You still have two full months to turn 2023 into your new high-water mark.

At Questex, the publishers of Luxury Travel Advisor, our CEO Paul Miller recently conducted a quarterly Town Hall conference where he highlighted team performances, recent wins and upcoming events and projects to focus on. A phrase he often emphasizes in nearly all of his Town Halls is, “99 percent of the goal is not the goal.” In other words, if you set out to achieve $5 million in sales this year and you’re at $4.99 million, while that may still be a job pretty well done, you didn’t quite hit the mark you were aiming for.

Matt Turner on Explora I
Matt Turner is just back from a sailing on the brand-new Explora I. (Photo by Matt Turner)

“Make sure that you’re reviewing your plans every single day, and if you’re not winning with one account, move to the next account. If one product isn’t working, look at the next product,” Paul told us this time around. “Make sure your teams are optimized for success. Make sure you’re there, helping your teams overachieve. Commit to improve, commit to boost your performance, commit to trying things in the fourth quarter that maybe you haven’t before.”

This counsel holds true for us as we strive to conclude the year on a high note, and it’s equally applicable to you. Yes, it’s vital to prepare for a strong start in 2024, but let’s not lose sight of the opportunities before us in the final stretch of 2023. Reach out to potential clients who’ve expressed interest in a winter getaway but haven’t committed yet. If Europe is too busy or their preferred hotel is fully booked, consider proposing a last-minute escape in the U.S. or Canada. Perhaps you spot a client on social media bemoaning the cold. Extend a reminder that the Caribbean is waiting for them!

Based on the research I’ve seen, 2023 has shaped up to be the most impressive year for the travel industry since the pandemic began. To recover in such a short period of time is a testament to the resilience of everyone in the industry. But with a little extra push as the year concludes, we can potentially make 2023 not just the best year since the pandemic but the best year in travel, period.

It’s not his saying but one that my dad is very fond of is “The difference between ‘try’ and ‘triumph’ is a little ‘umph.’” So, it’s time to rollup your sleeves, get creative and put in that extra effort while others wind down for the year. You can still make it your best year ever.

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