Remaining engaged and continuously growing within your professional field can be a challenge. While there are moments of excitement and discovery here and there, a majority of people find themselves doing what they know day-in and day-out. It’s natural and even comforting to stick to what’s familiar, is currently working and keep pushing those agendas forward. It’s like the classic adage goes, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it”.
But in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing business world, doing what works now isn’t nearly enough. One must constantly be working to keep ahead of trends and remain at the bleeding-edge of industry curves. This principle applies to the travel industry perhaps more than others, where technology is rapidly redefining the way we travel, navigate and make purchasing decisions. Keeping abreast of, and incorporating the latest digital tools into your business is essential, but being engaged outside of your day-to-day is a powerful way to start accomplishing some of the above.
Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and a host of other social media platforms surround us. Some are good, others are passing trends and being engaged on multiple platforms is a crucial part of getting your message out to the world. But it’s hardly enough to ensure you’re leading rather than following. Successful travel industry leaders need to find other channels to expand their horizons, engage peers and ultimately connect with customers. Doing so not only grows your current scope of knowledge and expertise, it can help develop new professional connections and ideally cultivate yourself as a respected authority in your field.
There are many ways to begin elevating your voice and brand, but few are as cost effective and impactful as shaping yourself into a sought-after authority in travel. This can be accomplished by writing blogs, speaking at industry events, joining professional organizations and even hosting a podcast. All are low-cost, powerful ways to influence multiple sides of your business and customer base. Starting my own podcast in 2014, Talk Travel Asia, with friend and guidebook author Trevor Ranges, is such an endeavour.
Over one of our many discussions, we realized we were often talking story about travel and concluded it was time to create a forum to make better use of these interactions. A key interest was sharing the remarkable characters we’d met throughout the region over the past 25-collective-years. Talk Travel Asia podcast was born. Armed with a couple Yeti microphones to boost sound quality, we mapped out a few initial episodes and hit ‘Record’. It was fun. We quickly found our groove and discovered an ideal way to stay connected to the travel industry, while reconnecting with contacts throughout Asia and develop new ones. The benefits of doing so have been numerous.
While first and foremost a hobby, Talk Travel Asia has effectively served to further bolster our reputations as experts in travel. We’re regularly invited to industry events, called upon to offer opinion and weigh-in on trending issues. It’s been an ideal way to grow existing relationships, but more importantly, enabled us to reach out to people we want to know. This ‘hobby’ is now one of our most powerful networking, promotional, and business tools, with one feeding and benefitting the other. If you fancy growing your brand and network, consider an online platform/forum that engages peers, colleagues and customers in a non-traditional format. The results can be fun and fruitful.