I’ve often bemoaned the lack of business and marketing training for individuals who go to school for music. My advice to my students wanting to continue with their musical studies in college is to take a business and marketing class!! Heck, I’d advise that to any student in ANY major, because you never know the many wonderful roads that life will surprisingly lead you down.
Once I finally finished my Master’s degree and was thrown into the real world, I was very confused as to what to do next. This was especially true when I started Olde Towne Carolers. I honestly had no idea how to best advertise, seek out clients, make the most of my marketing dollars…. I had to learn as I went along. I had some really good advice in the beginning, but it was just a starting point. Over a couple of years, things started to come together and I was able to see results and the success that came from that. But I spent so much time doing many a random google search to find addresses of potential clients. And moving from a “letter” format mailer to a full color brochure was a huge leap in business. We also found that magazine ads didn’t work for us, and we let that route fall by the wayside. And one of the best tools of all was having a great website to promote the business.
Now as I go along in my other career of travel agent, I’m trying to figure out some of that strategy all over again. Even though I’m still in my first year with this career, I’ve had a great deal of success using facebook to consistently remind people that I’m here to help (for free!) with planning their vacations. I started a Facebook Page called Destination Mouse to focus lots of the Disney stuff all in one place – including pics, links to articles, and tips. I even bought the domain name to Destination Mouse in case I want to do an actual real website (which I think will definitely happen in the future.) Nothing beats KNOWING your product inside and outside when it comes to creating a strong client base, and I’m fortunate in that I KNOW Disney World.
But I’m wanting to go further. Last year’s summer trip to Disney was my first as a travel agent. I made sure to visit extra resorts and get pictures to be able to share with clients and increase my knowledge even more. Even though I’ve been to Disney SO many times, it’s just been as a regular vacationer. But there have been hotel resorts that I haven’t been in yet – and my goal is to visit them all and take pics! Now every trip is not just a fun vacation, but research for my business.
My newest idea is to do short video clips with tips and suggestions while actually in Disney World. Then post these videos to my Destination Mouse page for people to watch to help them in planning their trips. I already give out lots of tips and info to all of my clients once they book with me, but I feel that putting myself out there with this kind of information can only let people see that I’m someone who can truly help them to have a really great Disney trip. Even though we don’t go on our next trip until June, I’ve been busy with all kinds of ideas on how to put together these videos (and realizing that I’ll have to learn to edit video footage!) I don’t just want to be another travel agent out there on the scene. I want to shoot for the highest I can attain – I want to be one of the authorities that people all around will go to to help with their Disney vacations. In the same way that my goal is to have everyone in our entire region think of Olde Towne Carolers when they think of Christmas carolers, I want my name to be synonymous with “Disney Planner”. I want everyone to start saying to friends: “Oh, you want to go to Disney? Well, I know just the person to help you!”
Look out world, Jen is a dreamer AND a doer – a wonderfully dangerous combination! I can’t wait to see where it continues to take me!