We weren’t sure what to expect when we put out an all call for 30Under30 nominations a few months ago. Even though this is our 13th year of the program, current market conditions had us wondering if our rising stars would stick around through this rather daunting crisis.
The answer was a resounding, “Yes!” and we had an over-abundance of candidates from which to choose. Note: To those who did not make this year’s list, please reapply next year. This is a tough race and coming back to us with another year of experience will surely put you in the running. And, by the way, we’ve recognized nearly 400 rising stars over the past 13 years, many of whom have gone on to become cornerstones of this industry, so we look forward to your joining us in 2021.
As always, managers putting in a good word for their 30Under30 candidates cited the infusion of energy the young advisors brought to their agency, the fresh ideas of engaging with clients and the social networking skills that were seemingly second nature. A majority noted that the onset of COVID-19 barely fazed this group; rather, they saw the past few months as an opportunity to focus on their core business strategies, develop new markets, and to sell the heck out of domestic travel and Mexico resorts. Most implemented service fees and rehearsed their explanation to clients until they were perfectly comfortable with the new process. Of course, you don’t have to be under 30 to execute any of the above practices, but it surely makes us optimistic for the future of the travel industry. 2021, here we come!
I’ve culled some other gems from our new class of 30Under30 here. For their full profiles, see pages 26 through 39.
Tiffanee Fouts of Cruise Planners in New Lenox, IL has been working with her local Chamber of Commerce over the past few months to help other local businesses. The strategy serves two purposes, she says: “I get to help fellow business owners who are a cornerstone of my community and I get to keep in contact with people and make new connections. I let them know I am still in business and available to help them safely experience travel once they are ready to plan their next trip.”
Colleen Anthony of Conlin Travel in Ann Arbor, MI says her agency has been focusing on the suppliers they really want to be booking with. “The stronger the relationships we have and the more business we bring them, the bigger the rewards.” Anthony says the agency has also increased the number of inclusive services in its offerings so that clients can always feel like a VIP.
Caroline Sprunger of Jet Set World Travel in Chicago has been reminding clients lately that she is there to help them with big trips, as well as small hotel bookings. “I feel that sometimes clients feel they are ‘bugging’ us with a small request for a few nights at a domestic hotel for a meeting,” she says. To enforce this mindset, Sprunger forwards her clients promotions or news from suppliers with the simple words, “This made me think of you!” Sprunger says she does this not to be pushy, but to “gauge their interest and make sure they remember me.”
We couldn’t speak about resilience in this issue without acknowledging what the cruise industry has done in 2020 to keep things going. In our annual “Cruise Innovators” feature, Susan J. Young takes a look back, and ahead, to see how these folks are forging a positive future for all of us. See pages 14-24 to get the full scoop.