Travel agents know that wave season hits like a wave hitting the shore. For newer agents it can be shocking to go from the quiet of December to the non-stop inquiries of January and February. The great news is that you get to book a lot of great trips during wave season that will lead to great commissions later in the year. But the bad news is that it can make January and February (and sometimes even March!) an exhausting period of time.

It is logical that a lot of clients reach out to you early in the year to book their trips. In many companies you have to get your vacation on the books early to get your choice of dates for your time off. And many people just like having something to look forward to in order to get through the first few months of the year.

But according to recent research from Project Time Off, nearly half (48%) of employees request their vacation time less than 6 weeks out! Why? Project Time Off identified 3 barriers to planning vacation that I think we can all relate to!

And if people are attempting to plan a vacation just 6 weeks out, that means that there are a quite a few of them that won’t be able to get the trip they want at the price they can afford, and end up having a staycation – or worse, not using their vacation at all! Did you know that in 2016 employees left 662 million vacation days unused? And 206 million of those couldn’t be rolled over, paid out or converted to sick leave. That means they are wasted!

So, what does this have to do with you as a travel agent? Reach out to your clients and encourage them to use those vacation days! Check out the Project Time Off website for some great infographics and research you can use in your marketing. Remind them how much they love vacation and how good it is for them!

Now is a great time to undertake this campaign because it is still early enough for people to book travel for the year and get it on their calendar at work. And hopefully they will trust you with their vacation plans! And if your promotions are typically vendor-focused, this is a great way to break that habit. Only promoting vendors and their sales or special offers doesn’t do anything to differentiate you from the competition – and it might even encourage them to book direct!

Regularly communicating with your clients without trying to sell them something is a critical component of your marketing strategy. For many agents it takes the form of an ezine that they send out on a regular basis (consistency builds confidence). And it can be tough sometimes to think of topics, so I hope this gives you something new to talk about. And if you aren’t communicating with your clients regularly, this can be your way to start!