Business Sources and how they have changed

I decided to do a business analysis to see how trends are changing, what I should invest in to support my business and what effect social media has on my business.

Some of the results were very predictable but some were very surprising

It was no surprise at all to learn that nearly two thirds of my business comes from business networking and referrals with almost an equal split between the two, at just over 30pc on each. This has increased from last year from under 25pc on each so this shows that the investment in business networking is worthwhile.

Referrals are one of the two biggest contributors to my business so I must ask every client to recommend me. This costs nothing and is a really effective way to grow my business

It also wasn’t too surprising that an increasing amount of business is now through Facebook and Linked In. What is more surprising is that all the business I have had from Facebook has been through my personal page and not through my business page. This shows that even your personal page should be reasonably professional if you need to use it as a business tool.

Another surprising result is that bookings resulting from visits to my webpage decreased from 13pc to just 3pc last year, whereas business from social networking doubled. Whilst I would have expected business to double as a result of social networking as well as business networking I am surprised that business from my webpage has fallen so much.

This could mean that clients are more likely to just book online and to some extent this is true, although not entirely. I do believe that clients do prefer to deal with a real person. The figures would seem to suggest that people are still happy to book through a travel agent but they do want the trust and reassurance that only a build up of trust can provide, either through networking or from a personal recommendation. Customers need to understand the service and experience that I can provide over and above pushing a few buttons, that I can provide value for money and the necessary assistance and back up if the unexpected happens.

I used to do a few wedding fairs a year but at around £200 a show this wasn’t producing to be a wise investment since the amount honeymoon bookings remains about the same since I have stopped doing them. Although this is face to face business there is no time to develop a trust relationship and the other problem was that many couples are planning so far ahead, it is too early to book and by the time they are ready to book they have completely forgotten me and I have forgotten the couples. I find it far more effective to be recommended by a past client and then I can arrange to meet the couple

I get a few bookings from charity and school fete prizes, where I supply a £50 voucher as a raffle prize, but I find most of them are never used. Of the few that are used, the repeat business ratio is encouraging. I did try to widen this last year to all the local schools but this has not proved fruitful

Analysing my business year on year has also shown never to put all my eggs in one basket. I have lost a few clients through old age, illness and sadly deaths, simply lost touch, change of jobs. In the past I have tried advertising and wedding fairs, both proving pretty ineffective and not worth the investment on my part. Another realisation is that a huge percentage of my business came through my sons school and sports club. Since I am no longer in regular contact with these people this has tailed off gradually over the years so it is important to look for new opportunities all the time, trying different tactics to grow my business. Business can only grow through new opportunities as well as retaining old clients and always asking for referrals.

If you would like to know more about how I can help you with your leisure or business travel please email me cathie.odea@travelcounsellors.com or phone me on 020 3432 4740

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