Last updated December 1, 2023
Do you ever feel like change is the only constant in the world of travel?
As a travel advisor, you're not just selling trips. You're crafting experiences, navigating a complex world (literally and figuratively), and adapting to the endless changes of the travel industry.
You're busy with travel planning, learning the booking platforms and selling points of every cruise line, tour operator and airline you work with, and creating the perfect trip or dream vacation for every client and traveler you work with.
You're also running a business, wearing the hats of CEO, CFO, a sales department, a marketing department, and a social media manager. Let's face it, it's a lot!
But there's a secret weapon that sets the successful travel agency business owner apart.
Most successful business owners are constant learners. They don't just learn from their own success and missteps, but they absorb the wisdom of others.
Wouldn't it be great if you could join a mastermind and sit around a table with leaders in business, picking their brains and absorbing the lessons they've learned over years?
For most of us, that isn't really an option. But there is still a way to benefit from their wisdom and apply what they've learned to your own business.
That's the power of a well-written book. I've alway loved to read, and find that reading business books does more than just increase what I know.
I find that reading also helps me come up with new ideas of my own. Ways to implement what the author is talking about, things I can do to change the way a part of my business is working, or even completely unrelated ideas that I can jot down and decide to act on (or not!) later.
Not sure where to start? Here are five books for you to pick up and read in 2024 to get you started.
But first, one quick note. Not everything in every business book applies to your business. Instead of either blindly implementing every piece of advice, or, on the other hand, deciding that something they suggest won't work for you, do something else.
Ask yourself one question.
“How could this work for me?” That's how the ideas start to flow, and where you'll get the most value out of each of these books.
Profit First by Mike Michalowicz
Are you making money in your travel agency but still struggling to pay yourself a regular salary? Do you feel like you shouldn't be paying yourself, or you should invest everything back into your business?
If that sounds like you, “Profit First” needs to be on your list of books to read. While it sounds like it could be a dry read (who really wants to read a book about financial management, right?) it's actually quite entertaining.
Not only that, if you implement his strategy you may find yourself eager to revamp your financial processes so you can start reaping the rewards of your business.
Let me put it this way. I'm someone who excels at putting off any type of errand. After I finished this book I called my bank, made an appointment, and was in that afternoon reworking my bank account structure.
This is Marketing by Seth Godin
Seth Godin's “This is Marketing” is one of the best marketing books for travel agents. If you've ever felt that marketing can be a bit, well, “ick”, this one's for you.
Traditionally, marketing and advertising (related, but different areas) have focused on how getting more consumers can help solve a company's problems. Seth Godin's response is to turn that idea on its head.
Instead of looking to customers to solve problems for a company, companies need to look at how they can solve problems for their customers. That's how a company makes the world a better place.
At its base, it's about learning to really see your clients as people, each with a unique blend of hopes, dreams, and aspirations that you can help them achieve.
After all, who doesn't want to work with a travel agent whose entire goal is to make their customer's dreams come true?
How to Grow Your Small Business by Donald Miller
If you're looking for a step-by-step plan to implement to grow your travel business, check this one out. From leadership and marketing to cash flow and productivity, you'll look at every aspect of your business and how you can streamline and make it better.
This isn't one of those books that you just read, get a couple insights from, and put on a shelf. If you really want your travel agency to grow and are willing to put in the time and work, Don Miller will help you get where you want to go.
All it Takes is a Goal by Jon Acuff
I've loved Jon Acuff for years, and heard him speak so many times that when I read his books I hear them in his voice.
But I"ll be honest, I've never been a big believer in goals. I'm one of those people who can set a goal, work on it for two days, and then never do anything about it again.
Not because I decided not to. I simply have so many ideas and things that I want to do that I completely forget I've set a goal at all.
I've actually thought I set a new goal or had a new idea, just to go back through a Google doc from three years ago when I was brainstorming and realize I had the exact same new goal or brand new idea before…
If you struggle with goals, or even go as far as thinking goals aren't for you, check this one out. It's fun, informative, and challenging at the same time.
Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo
Is there a problem you're struggling to solve or a dream you have that you just don't know how to reach? Let's face it, setbacks and struggles are normal, but definitely not easy to deal with.
I'm not a fan of the “just change your mindset and it'll happen” manifesting-type ideas, and this book definitely isn't one of those. It's not about thinking yourself out of a predicament or simply believing things will get better.
What it is about is changing the way you think about a problem. It's about not getting stuck in the seemingly unsolvable parts of live, but instead getting creative and looking for solutions. After all, you see more of what you're looking for, so if you're looking for solutions, you're more likely to find them.
The bottom line: The best books for travel agents
Are any of these books for travel agents specifically about the travel industry? Nope!
To run a successful business, whether you have a physical location or fully online travel agency, you need a strong foundation. Put together, these books will start building that foundation.