A key aspect in the growth and development of an industry is the quality of the management that it employs and generates from within. The Travel Industry has attracted many worthwhile individuals who through a mix of entrepreneurial flair allied to prudence and sensibly applied corporate governance have created and presided over very successful and well run travel entities. Rightly their achievements have been lauded and tangibly recognised. When such individuals proffer advice on the management or operation of a travel business then young managers and entrepreneurs should listen and glean from the wealth of experience they can give.
However am I alone in questioning some of the so called travel experts that are placed before the industry in trade publications and at conferences that really do not deserve such a rank? I find myself reading or listening to the pontificating of some individuals on how you good readers should be running and managing your companies and find it impossible, when looking at the “expert’s” record of achievement, to locate any business that, while they have presided over it as a senior manager or owner, ever having made profit. Close examination of their personal standing and wealth sees that it is based totally on “gardening leave” payments and their ability in the areas of self promotion.
Please choose carefully the advice that you soak up and apply in the management of your company. If I were to wax lyrical on how to sell and market your product and the best way to run your business operationally then dismiss such advice – it is not my area of expertise. Equally do not consider that the advice of a larger than life industry individual is necessarily the best when their skills really are merely self promotion. A track record and successful experience in the particular subject area being discussed are the important things to look out for.
One area where travel management falls down compared to other industries is in the area of prioritisation. In the last year or so, not without immense enjoyment, I have for the first time, and deliberately so, done the rounds at the Industry’s conferences and functions. Nobody does it better, quite rightly, than the Travel Industry! While networking functions are important and integral to any industry I am astonished at the amount of managers and their key staff who attend virtually every such conference and function and yet have ailing businesses struggling in a very difficult market place. I have first hand experience of individuals not attending crisis meetings about their own business, or trying to defer them, due to the supposed importance of attending that month’s latest “jolly”. If your business is struggling then prioritise and rationalise your time wisely.
Your industry is facing ever changing and challenging issues. Making management decisions and where you turn to for help in making those decisions is vitally important. Who you listen to and how you and your staff prioritise are absolutely crucial to your business and possibly its success or failure.