Episode 8

Published on:

16th Apr 2020

Courtnie Nichols of Travel-Bash

NOTE : This episode was recorded March 9, 2020, just as the COVID-19 crisis began to escalate.

As the wife of a successful college basketball coach, Courtnie moved 5 times in 9 years. She turned her passion for travel into a successful and portable busienss.

In this episode, Courtnie shares some of the keys to how she built her business - many of which are contrary to what we have come to expect.

  • Why she CHANGED her niche to from Destination Weddings and Groups to Authentic Luxury.
  • How by focusing on a new specialty, she is earning more money and having more fun.
  • Why she charges fees.
  • Why you have to treat the business as a business.
  • Her plans to scale her busienss and what you can learn from it.
  • Where she failed and what she learned.

If you would like to be interviewed on the Wealthy Travel Agent Podcast. please send your request to dan@wealthytravelagent.com and tell me why you consider your business a success and how fellow travel pros will benefit from your message.

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About the Podcast

The Wealthy Travel Agent Podcast
Getting Your S.H.I.P Together! How to Earn More, Travel More, and Build a Successful Travel Business.
Eagles don't flock together, they soar.

So much emphasis on marketing and social media, it is easy to forget that the retail travel agency channel is, in fact, the commissioned sales force of the industry. Its sole function is to SELL travel.

It is not even a chicken or egg debate. Everything you and your company does (marketing, operations, public relations, training, etc.), should be to support the sales strategy of the business.

This is where we as an industry fail.

Unfortunately, in our lexicon “Sales” and “Marketing” have taken on the same meaning. Agencies and advisers (especially independent contractors) expect their marketing programs to sell for them.
However, the role of marketing is not to sell, but to produce prospects. If you aren’t practicing the fundamental mechanics of selling and sales management – no amount of marketing will help.

I share based on personal experience and expertise learned as a travel professional, agency owner, and luxury cruise line sales executive.

About your host

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Dan Chappelle

Dan is the leading authority on sales performance and management specializing in the travel and tourism industry. His best-selling book “Get Your S.H.I.P. Together – The Wealthy Travel Agent Guide to Sales” is available on Amazon and Audible.

My Story-

My parents are artists. I grew up poor. My community was a hippie commune. And my wish back then was to be a little more status quo.

But when you grow up outside of convention, it’s hard to acclimate to the conventional.

My professional titles and accolades are proof that sales skills are life skills.*

And they’re important ones. Especially to those of us who’ve been told we’re out of our league. Or discouraged from aiming as high as we want to go.

Personal freedom is a hardwired value. Tenacity, an intrinsic trait. Self-sufficiency, a way of life.

That’s why one of my first jobs was selling books door-to-door. Why I left college to teach scuba diving and do my own thing. Why I took a job on a cruise ship to travel and experience what the world had to offer. Why I studied all corners of the travel industry and opened my own luxury-focused travel company.

Local supplier reps took bets on when that business would fold, but we outlasted them. Then I sold the agency. Then I entered the corporate world...then I quickly rose to the executive ranks. First with Carlson (Travel Leaders), Expedia Cruise Ship Centers, and Windstar Cruises.

None of that would’ve happened if I’d listened to other people’s negative opinions about what was possible for me.

Or if I didn’t have relationship, sales, and prospecting skills.

Those were my survivor’s guide. Learn them and you learn to navigate your world.

Even if a door does get slammed in your face.

I share these skills because they’re fundamental. They’re powerful. And they’re doable.

And because the travel business isn’t an order taking business anymore.

Which is wonderful for those of us who’ve never liked taking orders to begin with...

In addition to creating a successful travel business from scratch, Dan has held the following executive-level roles:

Vice President of World-Wide Sales at Windstar Cruises
Vice President of U.S. Operations at Expedia CruiseShipCenters
Director of Franchise Relations at Cruise Holidays (Travel Leaders)
Dan and his wife are empty nesters and live in Bellevue Washington with their three dogs and two cats. A lover of the outdoors, he is an avid SCUBA diver, has climbed the Mt. Rainier, as well as hiked sections of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).