‘Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda’... Forming new habits so you don’t have to say this (with Meg Salter)
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Many travel professionals (mainly within Australia) that I know have been trained or have seen Meg Salter speaking at a travel industry event over the past 20 years or so. She has true passion for the industry and a HUGE heart wanting to help people achieve their dreams and goals.
When COVID hit and almost all of us were in a state of shock, grief and depression, Meg stood up and shone brightly for everyone. She knew what we needed at that time - SUPPORT and ACCOUNTABILITY. Hence she joined forces with a few other industry legends and founded the “Travel Industry Women” Facebook Support group. This Facebook group grew exponentially in the initial weeks as agents reached out and supported one another - something I had never seen before in such magnitude to work through the countless refunds, credits and details. It was and is a place for support emotionally, personally and professionally.
As she showed up in the Facebook group daily along with thousands of others, in my eyes she created a space of ‘we’re all in this together’ in raw and transparent conversations, which hit home with so many.
With this episode, I wanted to talk about those days with Meg and how she saw it from her point of view, but also bring to life some of the things that I have learnt from her over the year.
We discuss forming new habits and attitudes, continual learning and taking your skills to the next level and how important these are as we face the surge of booking inquiries again.
We also talked about "Brainboxes", opening and closing loops on your brain and prioritising things to avoid overwhelm.
We are no longer the travel advisors we were 20 months ago. We are smarter, braver and much more skilled. We know our worth and we have pointed out the people that we love to work with. We have done so much in the past few months to make sure that we'll never go back to that crazy hamster wheel.
We have the greatest opportunity right now to relaunch and rebirth ourselves as travel professionals. Make use of all the learnings and skills we've had in the past. Really make a plan for business success and not just a plan on how to make money.
It's time to look at the broader perspective, long-term goals.
We believe this is THE TIME to get organised if you haven’t already, or you feel as though you could be stuck on the hamster wheel - you are trying to juggle work commitments as well as family, a second job even or are just not sure what to focus on.
For more details and to join the In-Person sessions in Sydney, Australia in Decemeber or January: https://travelagentachievers.com/planningday
Make sure you stay up to date with the podcast by subscribing and downloading our free resources and checklists to help you with your travel business. https://travelagentachievers.com/
Links Mentioned in the Episode
Quotes in this Episode
“All of my ‘habitudes’ are really around appreciating and making the most of having a choice” - Meg Salter
“Let's really plan for success, but let's plan not just how to make as much money as we possibly can”. - Meg Salter
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Announcer: Welcome to Travel Agent Achievers. The place to learn how to grow your travel business and have fun with it. Join Roslyn and her guests as they walk you through proven steps to a fulfilling and profitable business.
Ros: Hello, hello hello there Travel Agent Achievers. It's Ros here, your host of the very cool podcast, Travel Agent Achievers exactly what you're listening to today. I hope you're having a great week. And I have been thinking of y'all as I plan out the next few months of Travel Agent Achievers.
Now today on the podcast, I have a special guest, Meg Salter. Now many of you may have seen her speak at a travel industry event, particularly here in Australia over the past 20 years or so. And she isn't old. And I have to say when I read this issue, I have been training or speaking at industry events over the past 20 years. And like really, anyhow, you might also remember her if you've been taught on how to convert your sales potential, turn your shop into a business or how to have productive habitudes it's one of the things that I'm going to ask her today made prides herself on her ability to provide well rounded, honest and common sense advice.
After 10 years with Flight Centre in Australia in the UK, she set up already in training and consulting back in 2004 at the age of 29. And she's employed some pretty big industry legends over the years. Now she's partnered with clients from all sectors of the industry, retail, corporate, aviation, tourism, hotels, insurance, wholesale tech, and many big name clients in other industries as well. Like Frank Millay, the Institute of Chartered Accountants and new travel, and Kaplan, one of the places that I used to work.
Now today she wears many hats. And after being inundated with requests to help with resumes, cover letters, and land jobs, as the travel industry imploded last year, she worked with Kate Bartlett to create Recruitable Hubb, and an automated resume and cover letter writer, what is base because they one year in and they have enormous plans for it.
Now when she isn't on a conference stage or in a training room, or hosting virtual workshops, writing resumes or providing executive coaching. Meg is a proud mom of two delicious and spirited young children who keep her happy, grounded, and always in need of a beverage.
Today you're in for a treat having Nick here, be prepared, there may be some explicit language.
So turn it off, if you've got young kids around, or just be aware, I'm letting you know right now, I'm looking forward to sharing this conversation with you. And you know, enjoy.
Alright, everybody, we have the amazing Meg Salter with us. And I have done her official bio and how long she's been around and her job and all the rest of it. But I do want to start with initially a massive thank you to you Meg because you're not just a facilitator and a speaker and an industry representative and getting out there. But you are also one of the founders of the travel industry Women Facebook group, which currently has over 7000 members based in May, mostly in Australia is what I get the feeling.
But it's a very supportive and informative group, which is there to assist one another here in the industry with a whole range of information. And I've seen that right from when it was started. Now it was a really crazy time. And to see the action in the group and how you are in there as one of the admins and facilitators for that group. It's been beautiful to show that together and travel movement. It's something that has really spread throughout the industry, that slogan, but also how we are all able to come together and your Facebook group has been there to support everybody. Things shifted so quickly, and I hope that you'll tell us how the group actually grew in those first few weeks.
But one thing that I certainly saw was initially the shock, the anger, the sadness, people started drinking, they were in depression turning Yeah, I know you and I both getting we'll talk about that, but there was a lot of emotion and frustrated and grief, big, everybody experienced the different stages of grief throughout those first three to six months, and then it was okay, now what am I going to do, but throughout this whole process, and throughout this time, I just want to say thank you a massive thank you for being so visible, being supportive for showing up, even when I'm sure that it was challenging for you. And I remember very clearly, a number of sessions with you sitting out in your backyard, hiding in the dark.
And drinking straight from a bottle of wine. I just want to say a massive thank you for showing up and really being there for the industry, because it's not something a whole lot of people had the courage to do. So can you tell us a little bit about how that all started? And why did you do that?
Meg: Gosh, listen, I've been, I've always been a little bit loose. And I think those in the industry who know me, well know that just in the lead up to this recording, actually, Ros gave me the now if you do accidentally drop a swear word, we'll deal with that. Okay, so I think everyone sort of knows that, you know, I, I say what I just say whatever comes, I have no filter. And I just found that on the Travel Industry Women's page, there was a lot of grief, there was a lot of distress, actually, really early on. And we you know, I mean, the whole grip was actually started by the next eight weeks from resources.
And Max is obviously a, you know, piece of furniture in the industry as well, she's been around, and everyone sort of knows her. But she was like, you know, doing a lot of work in, you know, with women in construction and women in different areas. And she was like, you know, we need, like I said, you know, women in tourism, but we actually had a travel industry women's group, let's just see what happens.
Let's start one up. And so she with Mel Chapman and Angela Middleton, she actually started Travel Industry Women, and then they invited me on just to have sort of some of the tougher conversations managing the admin with a group that just grew incredibly quickly. I think after she started it, you know, it was just an experiment. Let's see if it's wanted in the industry, I think she had about, you know, 300 people join in the first 15 minutes or something. And then it was like, Oh, my God, we've got 1000. And then when COVID Hear that, you know, numbers just exploded, because everyone really did need that support. And we found that women were coming and just needed to be able to be honest, to be open to know that they wouldn't be judged to talk about issues that do, I guess, probably emotionally affected more females than males. And it just became an incredibly safe place. There was a lot of admin going on, just to make sure that it has been kept a safe place.
Ros: But I'm just so proud of the support that's been offered some of the things of some of the conversations that were started in there, or pleasantly surprised
Meg: I think so, you know, right. In the early days, I remember I think there was someone in a Hello World office who was, you know, I've only been here for about six months. I don't know what I'm doing. I've now got this client COVID. Here, I've got to unravel stuff, I need help. And someone from flights and a head office contacted them to help them.
You know, we've got mobile agents and home users and everyone from all of these different areas, corporates, product, marketing, you know, wholesale insurance all coming together, just saying, holy crap, we actually really need to pull together now.
And I think I was surprised by how quickly everyone dropped all barriers and walls, and everyone just pitched in to help. And I think that that's probably, you know, the beauty of that group. And it's sad, lovely to see that continue as well. Now things are picking up.
Ros: I absolutely agree. And I think that that's also where we've come with Travel Agent Achievers, as well as to have that support, the collaborative approach. And you know, we are all in this together. And if I can provide, you know, a resource for somebody that helps them just be able to take action without having to think about it, that gives me joy and makes my heart sing. But it's also where I know, for me my whole life has just been, you know, the opportunity to come from a place of service.
And I see that with so many industry professionals. That's one of the reasons why we do what we do because we love being able to help other people. So to have that group and the collaboration that came through and it still does I still see that in the group as well that people are just offering up advice, information, contacts, resources, and to just support one another. It's beautiful and is there something that you're going to do with the Facebook group like if you got plans for it?
Meg: We don't know, to be honest, we spent a lot of time during COVID Just making sure that everyone was okay. So if we saw sort of an angry comment, or you know, someone who sort of did a little bit of a call a call out, or there was a, you know, something coming through that we were a little bit concerned about, someone from Admin would jump on the phone, and we'd actually hook people up to make sure that everyone was okay. So we had, you know, members doing, you know, visits with people that they might have known because we were actually really concerned for their mental health and their well being. You know, we were bringing people together to make sure that, you know, there were, there were support groups. And that's probably worth getting swiggy that came as well, because, you know, behind the scenes, I spent a lot of time on calls. And because, you know, I'm really in tanks, like, everything that I had, you know, in a pipeline for 12 months in terms of conferences and workshops, just just imploded as well.
Ros: So it was really, it was more of a face to face. So face to face, face to face. Yeah.
Meg: Face to face. Yeah. I mean, I love jumping on flights, and I did the majority of my work in airports. So I would fly to work, so that I could, you know, be in the room with people, but, you know, that will change. And I think they're getting so good at stuff. I was like, God, you know, this has come up over and over again, I'm just gonna do a blast to the group.
And just deal with this issue, you know, and it might be transferable skills, or Well, how am I going to get another job? Or I can't deal with the anxiety? Or I'm worried about, you know, the men in my life as well, you know, like, what did he get he switches getting triggered with it about taking care of the blokes as well, because you know, there there are much greater suicide risk in terms of statistics that females aren't.
So there was a lot of concern around that as well. And it was all just dealt with in this really lovely space. I would never put the stuff that I had on that group on my own Facebook page.
Ros: My parents know you a lot better now? Yeah. Yeah,
Meg: I think because it's such a safe space, and everyone felt that they just felt like the right thing to do. And it was fun. Absolutely.
Ros: You know, being able to share and be quite open as well with what you're experiencing. And that's what we see here on the podcast, too, is just what I'm experiencing, or what you're going through, you are not alone. And there are other people feeling or experiencing the same thing. And the feelings of being alone can be quite heavy. So if we can say, hey, we're all here. We got this, you can get through this. Yeah. So thank you for doing that. I really appreciate,
Meg: Oh my God. And I think you know, there are a lot of other people doing stuff as well. There's some great groups. You know, ours is the Travel Industry Women, but there's a whole host of other fantastic groups for different segments. And both genders obviously. And obviously the stuff that you've been doing as well Ros is just fantastic. Like really take my hat off to you, putting your job aside as well and your clients and making sure they're okay, but also taking the time to bring others up through the ranks as well, because that's definitely what the industry needs as we rebuild. Is that passing down wisdom? And it's never actually been more important. So hats off. Thank you.
Ros: So moving in, we are moving into this completely new era now. And there are so many buzzwords that we've used over the last 18 months, but you know, I've chosen not, yeah, we pivoted baby. But now I'm pretty certain about the new era, and then that is happening. I'm like, Man, this is gonna do what we're going to be thinking about, but the industry has really been shaken up. And, you know, you and I and a number of other people have also stepped up to say, what can we do to help each other right now?
What can we do to support one another? And I agree with you with making those phone calls the hundreds and hundreds of zoom calls that I'm sure you've been on. And I've been on just to say what is the next step? What can you do right now? What is the next you know, and a lot of people you know have decided that they can't do this or they don't want to do this anymore. And the industry has given them you know, there's been shakeout themselves to say that's it. I'm out, I am now leaving. No, there's I mean, it's it's it's it's it's it almost half of the travel professionals do you know that are now no longer in the industry? I know that there was quite a big chunk that actually left.
Meg: I don't know what the stats are, I would be really interested to know.
Ros: What I do know is that when it first hit there I think it was 35,000 here in Australia.
Meg: Like it Massive statistics like really, really big numbers of people leaving the industry. But they were obviously made redundant or furloughed. And so that wasn't really their choice. And I, I don't know the numbers around that. But I think that was a really, really horrible and really interesting period.
And then of course, there were the people who didn't put their head down. They're like, I'm just gonna stick this out. And then I think probably when this next round of lockdowns happened, they, they just, they just can't do it.
They don't have the energy to do it. And they don't have the, I guess, the emotional resilience to really get through. And so there was another sort of way, but I think people leaving out to be honest, I'm seeing another one now. And there's a lot of people contacting me now and saying things are picking up. I don't have the energy. And I, I wasn't expecting that.
But I think it does probably make sense. There's probably quite a bit of common sense behind that, oh, God, I just can't do it for another couple of years now. And in particular, you know, there's going to be so many people who need to be retrained in the industry. And we all know how exhausting that is. And so, you know, there's, yeah, I think that it's the IP and the depth that's been lost is incredibly sad. However, people have got to do what's best for them at the end of the day.
Ros: Absolutely. Everyone has to make those decisions for themselves and work out what is the next step? Because I've certainly seen with a number of professionals that have been furloughed or stood down or have lost their jobs, there have been a number that have gone, you know what, I still want to do this, and I still love what I do, and they've moved into different areas.
So from a mobile point of view, or work from home, they've decided, I still want to be in the industry. I love what I do. And I love what I've always done, so I want to stick it out. But they're also moving into a completely different area as well. Okay, I've had the shopfront and people come to me now. How do I actually run a business behind this and get people through the door?
So there's a whole lot of new skills that as you say, people are going to need a lot of new habits. And one of the things that I love about you and you have spoken about for so many years is habits and attitudes.
So I love habits. Yeah. Oh, my goodness. So yes, things get tough. Like, what do you see are some of the habits or attitudes or habits that we need to tap into right now? Have you got any ideas around that?
Meg: Yeah, listen, I think. I mean, I'm always a glass half full type of girl. So I'm always looking for the positive lining. And I think there's been a real push, the people who will do very well in the industry are the ones who at the beginning thought, right, if I can't do what I really want to do, which is travel agent, I'm going to go out and I'm going to upskill.
So they've done courses, they've worked on professional development, they might have gotten fit, you know, but they've, they've done all of this stuff that's actually going to make them sort of better coming into the industry.
And a couple of people in particular, in fact, I had a lot of calls with people saying, I don't know what to do, I just want to stick it out. I can't imagine doing anything else. How long do you think it'll be and I'm like, you need the money to get another job, because it's not going to come from the industry until all of this blows over. And they felt very guilty about that, almost like they were sort of breaking up with the industry or something. And there's it's real. I mean, there is an amazing sense of loyalty, which is very special to the industry.
But my advice was always if you need money, you don't have to feel guilty about this, but see it as an opportunity to upskill because when you come back, you'll be better. And there's people who have gone out and they've got fantastic jobs, and they still plan on coming back but with heaps more skills, you know. But I think in terms of those habits, we definitely have to have a habit around taking care of ourselves.
And one of the conversations I have really relished in marinated in that's happening on the travel industry, when women's page at the moment is the conversations that are, you know, posts by say, a very well known and well respected cruise consultant. He says, I've got a particular client, and they've come to me. They've always been really rude to me. I hate dealing with them. How can I politely tell them I'm not going to take their business now. So there's this lovely element of Oh, hang on, I'm rebuilding. I've got a choice for REG you know, what is my niche? Who are my clients who do I want to deal with? You know, someone made a comment the other day about, you know, I'm only booking people who are double boxed.
And then of course another woman came in and said, It's everyone's choice. You can't discriminate. And this woman came back and her answer was, I'm not discriminating against hands, I completely understand I'm pro choice with vaccinations. I just can't unravel another frickin holiday. I can't do it. And I think that there's this lovely element that's coming through in terms of habits around, let's take a step back, let's actually plan this rebirth.
Let's see this as an opportunity to relaunch rather than, Oh, we're back to normal. You know, we go back to that crazy ass hamster wheel that we hated before COVID here. So all of my habits are really around appreciating and making the most of having a choice. Now. Who do you want to deal with? How do you want your clients to describe you? Who do you want your client base to be? How are you going to communicate with them? Start again? Yeah, do it properly. Yeah, yeah. So that’s my obsession with habits at the moment.
Ros: So we've done a podcast episode, and I'll link to it in the show notes as well around finding your ideal client and who do you want to serve? And who do you want to take care of, we've got a great resource with that as well, where you can actually map it out, you just download the resource, and you can map out and ask yourself the questions, we've got a whole lot of questions there that you can say, you know, yes, I do want that sort of person. No, I don't, you know, and just break it down.
Because you are going to be so much clearer with your marketing efforts. And, you know, taking those bookings on board, but also knowing when to say no. And at the end of the day, I don't think that we need to be scared of not getting booked.
No, there are so many clients out there. And one thing that I try and stress upon is that there is enough business to go around. We have had a God save collaborative approach over the last 18 months. I don't want to go back to hearing about the competition, and oh my gosh, they've got more bookings than I've got, it's, you know, there is enough business to go around. We all work with different people.
And we all have the opportunity right now to decide who we want to work with. I've even gone about clients that I fired mega over the last 18 months, you know, some very high profile people that spoke to me in a way that I was disrespected, and felt really minimalized. And they made some crazy accusations about my business and how I was going to go under and like you know what I've done, you have no idea how I've put my cash flow management into place, you have no idea the marketing that I do around my business, you just have no understanding or ideas. So you can't go around flouting those sorts of things. And yeah, I've made those choices because I know who I want to work with moving forward like I know a lot of our listeners do as well. So thank you for saying that.
Meg: Oh, god, it's honestly, it's so important. I'm writing a grant at the moment for my other business, which we can talk about later. But the very first question that they ask you, in every grant application, I write or and you know, we don't. I do a lot of work in particular with startups and people who have, you know, a great idea.
And, you know, large enterprises, small enterprises, and the first thing you say is pick a customer, like, define your avatar, name, your avatar, till you've done that you've got no business, and it's not easy to do, and you always feel like you're going to be missing out on opportunities, or, yeah, but you know, I just, I just think that you have to, you've got to be really, really firm about that.
And you will not get this opportunity again, that's the other thing, you will never have another opportunity like this, to completely redefine what you do and who you do it for. And it is, there it is. It is a gift. And I know the last few years have been horrible.
That was nearly a split, however. But you know, with with, you will never ever get this time again, such such an amazing opportunity. And everyone is so willing to share. So if you want any information now, even your competitors are going to go well, this is what I did. Or this is why I think you should value yourself. Oh, this is where I say we're gonna be in, you know, God is like learning opportunities for everyone, for people that have been for a long time, but also those that are just coming into it.
Ros: Because the other thing that I've seen, and you will have heard this as well, is that there are people who are deciding to step into the travel industry now that I have moved and changed my career because I want to do what I love. So there are people that are also starting travel businesses now. But they also understand what needs to be done from the ground up or they're taking the opportunity to learn and starting with this beautiful gift to say I need to understand who I want to work with before I jump into everything else.
Meg: Yeah, so there was a woman actually who joined the Travel Industry Women group, just a great chick. I thought that was a joke actually. So I reached out to her straight up because she runs a business called. It was something like COVID travel or something like really I was like, but anyway, that was where she lived. That was her area in the UK or whatever it might have been. Might have been Corona or something. But anyway, it was something really dodgy.
But in the UK, it was just a side gig. So you know, there's a lot of these multi level marketing businesses starting up in America, there might be some American viewers watching in America, North America, America and Canada. And in the UK, and Europe as well, you know, this kind of this lovely little side gig, a lot of people can start selling this holidays as well, really well incentivize, obviously, it's very quick, you know, they get a client base, and then obviously, they start to build teams underneath them works in skincare works.
And Tupperware works with bras probably going to work with travel as well. But I think that there's a lot of people who are, even if they don't want to drop everything and make this their full time career, they really love selling travel.
And I think one of the things that's been really lovely to see with some of those groups is that it's easy to sell travel, you know, because you're selling dreams, not dishwashers, which is what yellow Wilson, my first every lady used to say. And it's just that really lovely, I guess an opportunity for agents to realise that they can do something that they want to do, or people who want to get into travel, they can do something that's exciting, and not a drag for a living and earn money from it.
And, you know, there is the opportunity now to be able to do that as a professional without having to start from the bottom on the hamster wheel and all the rest of it. So I think that there's going to be heaps and heaps of opportunity, lots of people wanting to join the industry. And I'm not actually concerned about the talent coming into the industry, because I think that the last few years, if anything has really taken at the perception of agents to be you are retail a person and you're going to sit in the shop and or you know, in a farm somewhere and just pick up the phone and book things to you are a professional and you will help me when I'm in need. And this reels that sort of shift is going to be really interesting as well.
And I think it will attract a new brand of entrepreneur, which I'm actually quite excited about.
Ros: Yeah, I'm excited about that as well. Everybody is able to share their expertise and knowledge and professionalism. And that you as the experts as well, I think I think beautiful opportunities here, but everybody that are in the industry.
So that's super, super cool. And really exciting, really, that we get the opportunity to reinvent and do things differently, as we move forward as well, the thing that I've learned from you, in addition to habits. And that was, I don't know the technical terms, and I'm sure that you've done all the brain training around this, but it's taking care of yourself.
But also when we've seen so much overwhelm and agents that have said, I can't handle any more. One thing that I learned from you was the brainboxes. Can you tell us about the open and the close?
Meg: And yeah, you're okay to be on it. What my Well, it's not my flow. I wish I invented this I didn't it was actually it came from Bluma Zeigarnik who was a Bulgarian psychologist or something along those lines, but she was actually she was studying in Austria in Germany and and she was doing a lot of work on procrastination and how to overcome procrastination. And this was way back in the early 1900s. And you know what she realised through a whole amazing series of events and sort of an opportunity with a waiter of all things. She realised that people have these things called sort of open loops and closed loops.
Ros: Yep, open Yep, open and close.
Meg: And so there's a lot of things in our brains that that once they sort of get in there become a bit of a you know, a brain worm and they kind of sit there until they close they just kind of sit there open so it's a little bit like you know, when your mobile rings when you hear someone's mobile ring and you only hear half a song and then that song is stuck in your head until you kind of finish it or you can get it over with you know, song on my phone and every time I answer it it says because we're gonna be led gents.
Ros: Oh, anything else other than that part of the song and I often end it. Even though I'm a terrible singer. That is in my head.
Meg: I suddenly heard. And that happens all the time. And it's happening more and more often because of course, it's now a marketing technique. So bloomers thing was, if you have an open, if you want to overcome procrastination by sitting on something, what you need to do is start it because as soon as it's an open loop, it'll sit in your head and annoy you until you finish it, right?
That's exactly what her master's thesis was on. And, of course, we find that all the time.
So we've got that now with the news, or Facebook, or even just texting and WhatsApp groups, and they're open loops, they don't finish, you know, in the olden days, we'd send a text and that'd be it. And then you'd get a text back, it would be in a different area. And that would be it. And we weren't addicted to that.
But now we're addicted. And the news as well, like, no one gets a newspaper and reads it and thinks that's the news for the day, you know, like every half an hour, we're like, oh, what's happened?
Oh, what's happened? Because it's an open loop, and we get addicted to it.
So in terms of the Zeigarnik effect, and how to sort of stop that feeling of overwhelm.
Two things you need to do, and one is be really careful with prioritising. So you need to make sure that what you're letting into your brain as an open loop is something that you do want to complete. And it's not just clutter.
So things like there's a lot of people now who don't watch the news, they have taken a whole heap of apps off their phones, they unpaid you know, every Friday morning, I went through a stage of unsubscribing from everything I've accidentally subscribed to just because it's clutter in my I don't need that clutter around me.
And it's not just you know, paper clutter, these days, it's brain clutter.
So making sure that you're only sort of letting what you do want to complete, or what you do need to finish, and just managing things like your inbox as well.
I mean, you know, one of the biggest issues we have, in particular in the industry, someone might say, hey, I want this done, or I need you know, to do to follow up with this.
And it's, you know, it's gonna be a big job, if we sit there and go, Ah, no, when I find the CIM hours to do this, you know, as opposed to, what can I do right now, that will help progress me to there. So what is the next step?
And if there are big things, then obviously, we need to schedule the means so that we can tell our brain we're doing that on Friday at three o'clock.
We don't have to keep remembering to remember, it's sorted, it's there. But just making sure that we're really careful, we're really aware of what's open and what's closed. I'm sure I haven't done that. But I'm sure there's a couple of amazing sub meditations you could probably Google just to do, which would just be to really analyse what's in your head, and what's important and what's not. And we got to get really good at just deleting the stuff we're never going to get to.
Roslyn Ranse 32:54
And the other thing, yeah, go for it, go for it.
Meg: Oh we're never going to be finished anymore. You'll never have an empty inbox. If your goal is like inbox zero, then give it five minutes, you know, like, so you're always going to be teetering on the edge of finishing these days.
So I think it's really important to make sure that we're doing what we know we need to do, and we want to do what's important. And we're just not spending the time on stuff that isn't important to us. Because you can't get it all done. You can't be everything to everyone. Now more than ever, we have to prioritise. So make it count.
Ros: I think one thing that I've certainly realised myself over the years is having a project management system or something that I can add a task into that says exactly what you said before, come back to on Friday like this is when I need to worry about that, oh, this is when to have action taken upon it.
But one thing that I have also learned over the years in travel is I've had clients who might have called me on a Friday night and said, Ross, I know that I'm travelling tomorrow, what time's my flight. And I would have that memory to know exactly what they were doing when they were doing it. And you know, photographic memory, whatever you want to call it.
But what I learned from you was that that was one of the open loops that I was keeping open until they actually travelled.
So that could have been for several months or weeks, whatever it was, but I knew instinctively and I had to train myself as well as my clients to close that loop, put it in a project management system and tell the client to set those boundaries and say, I sent it to you in an email yesterday. So I was able to close it for myself.
And I was often feeling that there are so many things going on in my head. I'm not being productive enough to do the things that need to be done. quickly or well, because I was so full up myself
Meg: 100% We've got to get so much better at wiping out hard drives, like I used to be able to remember so much stuff that just wasn't actually important. And, you know, same as you, I feel like I was almost in control of everyone.
But, you know, in building a new client base, we do have to make sure that we are educating our clients in how to be accountable for their own holidays, and how to be accountable for their own travel, you can't be there when the earthquake hits, you know, you can certainly offer help, you won't be there, when you know, the volcano goes off in Iceland to get in, they're stuck there for three months.
It's just that you can't do that. And you can try and remember the little details and make it as seamless as possible. But bending over and being someone you're not their administrator. I think that if you act like that, that's how you'll be treated. So I think it's Susan Scott from fierce conversations, who says, you don't get what you deserve, you get what you tolerate.
And I, you know, I'm just like this, just some things I'm not going to tolerate anymore, because it doesn't help me and it doesn't help them. But that is not industry specific.
So I also do a lot of work with accountants and accounting firms. I'm working with some partners, doing some INSOURCE general management now. And one of the partners said, caught, you know, the thing that drives me crazy, is I'll send everyone an email with all of this stuff, and then they'll be buying a house and they'll come to me and they go, Hey, can you send this to my bank manager? I'm like that to you, you know. And I think that we do need to get, we need to educate our clients in that this is what you need to do with this information. This is when you can use it. I'll be available, but I'm not going to drop everything. Yeah.
Meg: Boundaries, just don't tolerate a whole heap of stuff. You'd have to be mean about it. But yeah, you know, probably got kids, my kids need me to do that for them. Yes, that's how a client can fend for themselves. For God's sake.
Ros: Yeah, that's right. Our kids need us to know our clients. Yes, absolutely. So there's no massive shift that's happening in Australia and in the industry. What are your thoughts, as we move forward on building, rebuilding business, I mean, I like to think we need to be planning and the strategies, we need to be the big picture. But also customer service is really important and important. So what are your thoughts around the rebuild of the industry?
Meg: Listen with, we needed this opportunity to rebirth ourselves as professionals, we just needed that. And it's been a really hard slog to get here. But for the five years, you know, leading up to COVID, I was having a lot of very similar conversations around, you know, you have to be planning, you have to be proactive, not reactive, we've got to get into the business space, we can't keep doing what we've already already done, or always done, because, you know, the market expects something different now.
OTAs change the way we sell yet the majority of people in the industry, we're still selling, you know, teaching the same old cell steps, which don't work, and we can see that in the conversion rates. So it's just that, you know, that there was a real lack of common sense, I think, coming into coding in some aspects, not in all, it's an amazing industry. But, you know, we have the at the birth of the NDC.
So, you know, airlines are starting to look at how to improve their yield. Thomas Cook went under, you know, he was the world's first ever travel agent, you know, and then that global organisation, you know, it's been around for hundreds of years, 100 years, you know, went under, there were lots of wholesalers, who were really struggling as well. And so I think we need to not just go, oh, the good old days, we need to say, no, let's analyse what was working and what wasn't.
And let's take the good. And then let's really plan for success, but let's plan not just how to make as much money as we possibly can. And not just all those same old KPIs with you know, got to improve your margin, improve your inquiry rate, it's a numbers game, and blah, blah, you know, we actually have to be much more strategic and proactive about how we build a business that is going to support the type of lifestyle that we want.
So there'll be a lot of agents who like to work, seven to seven, on getting as many clients as possible making a fortune, and that's what I want to do. Great. And there'll be other ones, you know, other agents who say, actually, I want to deal with this particular segment.
I want to communicate with them this way because I feel comfortable doing it this way. I want you to know, this is where my comfort zone is, this is where my sweet spot is. This is where I want to be an expert. And this is where I want to grow and develop as well. I want to be the global expert in this, you know, we've never really had that opportunity so brightly shining in our faces before. In terms of the professional fees, my answer to do you think we should be charging professional fees is if you think you're worth it.
And if you think you've got IP and you think you're going to deliver customer service, then charge whatever you want to because people will pay for it. But if you don't think you're worth that, then don't charge it.
But do some work on yourself so that you can get to the stage where you feel really comfortable charging.
You know what you weren't. And I think the difference between, you know, a Tiffany's ring and a Michael Hill jewellers ring, either both just as good ones, just a shitload more expensive. Also small ones, just, you know, a shitload more expensive already set it out. And so we kind of value that more.
And I don't think that the cheapest wins anymore. And I don't think we're coming into hopefully a lovely era where people are going to shop local, because I want to support my local, they're not the cheapest, but they're my local, and I don't want that business to go under. And I'm going to spend a bit more on toilet paper, because it's not wrapped in plastic. Because I care about the environment.
And so I think that we're almost coming to this perfect storm where agents can say, this is the value I provide. You saw this over the last couple of years. Go your own way, if you want to. Yeah, this is what it costs to do business with me.
And I think they're the agents who are going to probably set a new standard for the industry, and then everyone else will probably jump on board. But whoever's flying that flag, like, go nuts, I honestly don't think he can charge you. I don't think you can charge too much at the moment. And we're seeing that just with what people are willing to pay just to get on a flight.
Ros: Absolutely, yeah, they. They just want to fly. So how has your role changed over the last 18 months? And what's in your world right now?
Meg: Gosh, listen, I'm doing some really questionable homeschooling at the moment, you could probably hear kids in the background, and we're renovating as well. We're doing everything all at once. I'm trying to lose weight, like there's so much going on.
But really, and obviously sort of imploded last year along with heaps of other industries and speakers and facilitators and trainers and coaches all around the world with MMA, you know, the same as the travel industry.
So I was dealing with it really in two camps. And I mean, I ended up doing some consulting, which I actually found. So yeah, not in the travel industry. And it just didn't like my fire. But like my fires, everyone's come asking for help.
And there were lots of people asking me for help with resumes. And so I started writing them and I started getting people jobs. I was like, Oh, I'm not bad at this, and I kill pride out of it. And I got to sort of make a meaningful difference.
But my web designer in Sweden, who's always helped me with Auridian, I was on the phone to him to really understand what are we going to do? We're going to pull everything online, what's the direction for your company?
And I said, she's right, I'm just writing resume after resume. I need to automate myself. And he said, We can do that. So I've hooked up with a girl who she's people in culture. And she has worked in the travel industry, Kate Bartlett.
She's been a friend of mine for years as well, great cheek. And we've developed a platform called recruitable hub. So I'm a woman in tech, which is hilarious because I actually have to ask my eight year old how to turn on our new Smart TV.
Ros: Mine just gets remote from my seven year old house.
Meg: But we've developed this platform, and it's got I'm a perfectionist, so I want everything to be perfect. And this isn't perfect yet, but we're getting there. But you know, we've developed this platform where anyone can go in and they can, you know, pay $97. Or there's free templates as well, but they can access really great professional templates that get through an applicant tracking system.
So they're ATS friendly. They look really professional, they lay out all of the information that anyone will need. And they get people interviews and quite often they get their comments as well. I can't . I loved your resume.
And then on the back of that we've developed a cover letter writer where you can go in and choose a matching template and it's all pre-written content. So addictive, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, fill in the gaps. And then you've got a professional cover letter. And it's been really, really exciting, actually.
And, yeah, I mean, hopefully, you know, the next time we catch up, I'll be on my yacht because someone wants to buy it like seeked or the dean or someone like that. But, but at the moment, it's, it's, it's really been fascinating.
And then, you know, a really N has taken off this round of lockdowns, all my clients have come back and said, and we can't wait, we'll just do it virtually. So rather than flying and speaking at one conference in a day, you know, I did three conferences the other day, in one day with my kids homeschooling, so you know, I'd be down here, I'd go upstairs and scream at them for a little bit and come back down, put up again, and, you know, do another conference type of thing. So really, and has really sort of taken off as well. So I'm in a fantastic place. Career wise. I just need a little bit more time.
Ros: Really, another another.
Meg: I haven't done that for a little while. I looked like a potato at the end of last year. So I had to go to fat care and work out how to lose weight in January, because I was just like, you know, sort of looking at myself with all PE eyes looking at myself. But yeah, I just have to get some weight off. I was drinking way too much. And I think when you Luckily, I was, I guess, brave enough and had enough self awareness to say when people might be laughing with you. But you, you live, it's gonna pack it in in a second. So yeah, but I'd probably need to do a little.
Ros: Well, I mean, that was something that you took everybody on the journey with, in the Facebook group. And I know a lot of people that I work with resonated with it. That to say it myself included, I've never been a big drinker. But I found that during COVID, I was like, oh, three o'clock in the afternoon. I just can't let anyone get me a drink. And I was then turning to one and I didn't . I've never done that before. I go to a swim up pool bar and have a pina colada that doesn't have an umbrella.
Yeah, somebody gave me an umbrella to change as well. And I've certainly seen that. And I call him my COVID kilos that I'm now trying to get rid of, but also just to take care of my own self. And that you said initially during this chat is we have this opportunity to do things differently, we have this opportunity to take care of ourselves that our boundaries know exactly what we want and who we want to work with and how we structure our businesses, whatever that might look like. More so than ever. We have seen so much grief and you know horrible things in our lives. And so many people are impacted that we do need to take care of ourselves and our kids.
Meg: Ah, yeah, I just think this has been a great era of prioritisation. And you know, I got a bachelor of science as well majoring in resource and environmental management. I've done a stint at bio energy Australia, I'm really into, you know, climate change and preserving the environment.
And obviously, I love travelling so I wanted to be there, you know, I want to be able to take my kids and I want them to be able to enjoy this incredible planet as well. But we haven't been taking care of the planet.
We haven't been taking care of our families, we haven't been taking care of ourselves. And I really feel like you know, it's almost like someone looked down and just when go to your rooms and have a really good think about how you're spending your life and what you're doing with the planet and I want you to reevaluate, I'm going to give you enough time to reevaluate every single decision, you know.
And I really think that, you know, that's what we need to do. And there are so many people who you know, they've come into this niggling, right I need to get fit, I just need to spend time with my kids or I didn't realise I didn't know how to do that.
So, you know, there's this really incredible you know, or even even the decisions around what type of toilet paper we buy, you know, or, you know, where are we going to go and how are we going to treat the planet better and people in it as well.
You know, I just think that there's such an incredible opportunity that we can. We really need to sort of jump on the back of it and piggyback off it and just make sure that we are making the choices that we need to make now before it is too late.
Ros: I think I'm gonna have to end on that note, but it's I totally agree, I love that we are on the same page, I love that you've been living through change and helping so many other people as well. So thank you once again for that. Now if people want to learn more about you, obviously, there's a Facebook group for people to join that are in the industry.
Meg: And you listen, I do hang out on travel industry women quite a bit. So you can definitely find me there, although I did get hacked on Facebook. And so all the getting sweaty with it.
They're all gone, I had to set up a whole new profile. So I don't exist before July this year, which is a little bit disappointing. But I definitely hang out there. But you can always check out recruitablehub.com as well, if you need a resume or cover letter, and my email address, there is [email protected]
If anyone wants to do any work, I've actually got a few people who have joined together and grabbed me in Auridian to do just some small group coaching.
So over a six week period, they've actually pulled themselves together and come to me and said, We want to learn these things like how to do virtual presentations, how to lead a change, how to set up a business, all of that sort of stuff as well.
So but you know, I'm doing a lot of sort of the conference II type of virtual stuff over in a real hand as well. Amazing, but probably not as well as you do it. Actually, I think you probably do it a lot better than me, you've got resources and stuff, I just wing it.
Ros: We're all in this together and doing whatever we can for an industry that we both absolutely love.
So thank you very much. We will link to everything that you do in our show notes for the podcast. Thank you for showing up for being there and for being part of my world and my life as well. I know you have met on numerous occasions, but I look forward to seeing you in person. I don't know whether we'll be hugging at that stage, but you know, I will be on it. Yeah, I'm a hugger as well.
Meg: Oh, yeah, I'm gonna be humping people's legs off. Anyway,
Ros: All right. Thank you, Meg. I look forward to seeing you in real life very, very soon.
Meg: Thanks for having me, Ros. It's been a pleasure.
Ros: Well, they have my chat with Meg Salter. Yes, we didn't drop a couple of bombs there. I hope you enjoyed the chat as much as I did. And if you do want to find Meg, go to recruitablehub.com, where she is working with a number of people both in the industry and out of it around their resumes, helping them get the job that they absolutely want.
But for you here in the travel industry, know that we have got your back. We are both here. We love what we do. And we all look forward to seeing each other in person whenever we possibly can.
Now on that note, if you are looking to get your business in order, if you want to plan out and strategize for what you can be doing in 2022, we are offering you the opportunity to come and hang with us in person.
So that's the Travel Agent Achievers community in person in Sydney in December and also another date now in January.
So if you go to travelagentachievers.com/planningday you'll get all of the information. You can join us there in Sydney, Australia. For those of you that are international, please reach out to us. We are looking at some dates for the US.
But also we are also available to run a virtual event if that's what you want. And I look forward to chatting with you very soon. Have a great rest of your week. Take care Stay safe, and I'll speak to you soon.
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