This Alignable success story was originally posted by Pat Hand from Dancing Moon Travel Port Charlotte, FL
For more years than I intend to admit here, I worked as a paralegal and legal secretary in firms located in St Louis, Minnesota, and Atlanta. My career ran the gamut from small firms specializing in family law and personal injury in Northern Minnesota to 15 + years in the intellectual property department with a huge multi-national firm home-based in Atlanta.
I literally stumbled into the travel business in 2008. I was standing on a street corner waiting for my commuter bus and happened to admire a stranger's handbag. Three weeks later I was the proud owner of my own shiny new online travel business ... despite the fact that I had previously demonstrated absolutely no entrepreneurial leanings, never owned or operated a business -- and had very limited personal travel experience as well.
It pains me to admit that my new friend with the beautiful handbag was up to her ears in a rather reprehensible multi-level marketing scheme and I fell for the spiel -- hook, line, and sinker. The recession that came along that fall was actually a blessing, as it provided the time to gain desperately needed training, earn my MCC, and eventually an advanced certification as a group travel specialist. Needless to say, I quickly replaced that nefarious MLM with a legitimate host agency ... and the rest, as they say, is history.
When I relocated to Southwest Florida from the Atlanta metro area in 2017, I needed a way to quickly connect with local businesses in the community. I joined the local Chamber, but quite honestly it generally takes a while to build relationships and leverage connections in these large organizations. I was looking for something that provided instant results --- and then I discovered Alignable.
Since it is designed to connect local businesses, Alignable turned out to be a perfect tool for quickly building brand recognition in my new community. Alignable makes it easy to identify potential collaborative partners, as well as connecting with business owners that in time can lead to bookings.
Build a compelling profile and be active in the community -- promotions are fine (and when you add a promotion to your profile it will be added to the town calendar!), but also look for opportunities to provide some thoughtful input on the questions Advice forum as well. The Advice forum also provides you an easy way to create relationships with businesses all over the country. You can even talk to other travel agents to pick their brains about a business question or problem you are facing, or just to get some cool marketing ideas that have worked for other pros in the industry!
Seize opportunities to build your online reputation and to become a recognized expert in your area of specialty. You might not think to provide free advice or sharing your own experience will get you anywhere, but I promise, it will help you make sincere connections, will get your name out more, and will overall just make you a more notable member.
- To head to the Advice forum go here: https://www.alignable.com/answ...
- To see other travel conversations, go here: https://www.alignable.com/insi...
Building on Connections
Online connection is best treated as a "launchpad" to develop more personal relationships. As you identify contacts with potential for collaboration, reach out and try to meet for a cup of coffee. Take time to learn more about their business and if there is truly potential for future joint projects.
For example, a simple cup of coffee with a local investment advisor led to an opportunity for a presentation to their clientele. Likewise, face-to-face meetings with contacts you identify as potential customers open the door for you to learn about their challenges ... convey your expertise -- and ultimately the value of your services.
Hint! If there are particular industries you want to connect with, you can sort by "My Network" and then filter by categories. Here's a quick link to that area: https://www.alignable.com/biz/.
Recommend local businesses where you do business. If you love their products or services, take a moment to write a couple of sentences about why you love them. Chances are they will at some point return the favor. Think of your favorite restaurant, coffee shop, dry cleaner, web designer, etc.
Develop a habit of checking in on Alignable daily. Consistently welcome new businesses. Look for opportunities to contribute to a discussion. Invite someone for a coffee each week. Remember that you get out of something pretty much what you put into it.