Tourism and traveling is a multibillion dollar industry that millions of Americans participate in daily. If you’ve ever traveled, you know why it appeals to so many people – new experiences are exciting and satisfy the human need to explore. Over the course of my life I’ve had the privilege of traveling to various places around the world, mainly the United States, Europe and Canada. Though I still have a lot of traveling to do, this article explores how traveling has had an impact on my career in marketing and helped me in my journey.

  1. Plan Ahead

Planning-ahead-for-travelWhether you’re a seasoned traveler or are organizing your very first trip, planning thoroughly is crucial. There are many moving parts to having even a week away from home. In our daily lives we are so accustomed to a routine that oftentimes we don’t even think twice about things we do or use throughout the day. When traveling, you have to take into account every single thing you’ll need and prepare for the unknown.

From something as small as remembering to pack Advil for that random headache you have at the airport to something as crucial as researching a suitable location and booking a hotel and a flight, there are many factors to account for before and after traveling. Don’t forget things like forms of transportation from the airport to where you’ll be staying as well as the price of your transportation. These are some of the biggest factors to plan for, but even budgeting for all planned and even unplanned costs as well as planning the dates in order to take time off of work are incredibly important to a smooth sailing trip.

Opportunity Marketing shares why a marketing plan is one of the top business tools for any company:

  • It provides focus.

  • It enables you to plan and manage resources effectively.

  • It provides transparency.

  • It ensures consistency.

  • It provides clarity.

Just like in traveling, there are many moving parts in marketing. Your marketing plan is “the blueprint of how the marketing strategy is to be implemented.” For anything in life, a solid foundation is going to support your success. Even as a confident traveler, oversight is inevitable sometimes. As a marketer, mistakes happen. There are things out of your control that couldn’t have been planned for, but setting your intentions and planning for alternative outcomes will help you immensely. No matter how experienced you are, it’s important to stay practical and as prepared as possible.

In a Three Girls blog post, CEO of Three Girls Media, Erika Taylor Montgomery, shares that “poor marketing plans are a reason many companies fail to achieve their business goals.” In the same article she discusses methods you can use to “create a strategic and strong marketing plan that will lead your business to financial and qualitative success,” including how to create a SMART marketing plan and develop a SWOT analysis. In short, “SWOT is an acronym that stands for: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. By analyzing these four aspects of your business, you can take advantage of your strengths and opportunities, as well as acknowledge your weaknesses to counter threats. Performing a SWOT analysis will help you strategize for potential risks and overall improve your marketing strategy.”

  1. Do Your Research

Research is how you plan effectively. The most obvious part is deciding where you want to go. Maybe you have an idea already – you saw some beautiful photos of your Facebook friends’ Hawai’i or Italy vacation – or maybe you want to explore somewhere a little more off the beaten path. You can start planning your trip by determining how much you can afford. How much time can you take off of work and how early in advance will you have to request it? Flight prices vary by month, day and airline, make sure you take that into account too. Is your desired destination good for tourists – i.e. is it walkable? Are there bikes to rent? Are you close to restaurants and other desired amenities? What cultural differences will you have to be mindful of? Set a daily budget to plan for food, drinks, activities, transportation and souvenirs – and always plan for a little bit extra because life is unpredictable.

 

If you have never traveled before or are going to visit a place you’ve never been, research is how you paint a picture of your future experience to help you plan effectively. In marketing, research goes hand-in-hand with planning. Envatotuts+ writes about the importance of market research, saying that it helps you spot business opportunities, lowers risks, helps you create relevant marketing materials, set better goals and more. The same is true for traveling. Researching the area you’ll be traveling to will allow you to build an itinerary and plan for different activities, all of which will enrich your experience and mitigate stress that comes with the unknown.

 

  1. Communication Goes A Long Way

Traveling can be intimidating at first. Airports are strange, confusing and sometimes overwhelming places and being out of your element isn’t easy. Over time it will start to feel more natural to travel. When you are intimidated or Colleaques-communicate-over-coffeetravel anxiety is sinking in, you may panic and keep to yourself in the airport, in public or elsewhere. Over time, I’ve learned that people do want to help you or talk to you. Communicating with others, asking questions and learning about strangers has the ability to transform your entire trip in a positive way. Meeting people all over the world and crossing paths with others on their own journeys is such a beautiful and serendipitous aspect of travel that new adventurers might miss out on due to nervousness.

In marketing, communication is also incredibly important to your success. Aside from the obvious uses such as communicating your brand to your audience, a really important aspect of communication, one that can be overlooked on an individual level, is communicating with your colleagues. Whether it’s brainstorming ideas together or getting a fresh perspective on your own projects, communication has the power to enlighten you and change your experience in a positive way.

BetterUp supports this claim, saying in a recent article that “effective communication at work can be transformative for individuals, teams, and businesses. Communication in the workplace is important because it boosts employee morale, engagement, productivity, and satisfaction. Communication is also key for better team collaboration and cooperation. Ultimately, effective workplace communication helps drive better results for individuals, teams, and organizations.” Grammarly Business furthers this point with eight examples of the benefits of communication:

  1. It promotes trust. If a positive standard of communication is set, this encourages collaboration, teamwork and trust. A trusting work environment is one where colleagues communicate openly.

  2. It promotes team member loyalty. If leaders can thoughtfully communicate appreciation to their team members they will likely feel valued. “This feeling typically results in higher job satisfaction and increased loyalty.”

  3. It enhances team member engagement. “While many companies employ unique strategies to increase team member engagement, they often overlook open, day-to-day communication fundamentals. A business can have as many tricks up their sleeves as they see fit. Still, those strategies will likely fail without first ensuring that leadership preserves an available line of communication with team members.”

  4. It improves teamwork. Strong bonds are formed by good communication. Leadership has the power to strengthen communication among teams.

  5. It improves productivity. Engaged team members with a solid understanding of their roles and responsibilities are typically more productive than unengaged team members.

  6. It fuels innovation. Effective communication promotes collaboration. When team members can freely share ideas with colleagues and leadership, innovation blossoms.

  7. It resolves issues. Teams can typically resolve (or avoid altogether) internal issues with good communication that promotes active and thoughtful listening and respectful and professional responses.

  8. It creates better client relationships. “Effective and positive communication can be infectious, and when a company promotes good communication amongst its teams, that good habit often translates to successful interactions with customers. Customers appreciate open and transparent communication between the two parties, which only helps build consumer trust.”

Even if you don’t necessarily need help with directions while traveling or with creating a strong teamwork bond that would be useful in the workplace, striking up a conversation with a stranger can expand your world and have a positive impact on you. The Points Guy published an article titled “How Talking To Strangers Can Improve Your Travel Experience,” observing that you will gather better research, form more concrete memories, make new friends and stress less. And who doesn’t want to know more, have better memories and gain new friends while stressing less?

  1. Experience Brings A New Perspective

This one may seem obvious, but more experience under your belt means more growth and knowledge as an individual, a professional and a traveler. As a traveler, there’s no need to let a stressful experience deter you from traveling in the future. It is expected that you’ll run into obstacles in your travel journey. Staying calm and collected and working through those issues are important skills while traveling and in life in general. Mastering that over time will make future trips a breeze.

Team-of-marketers-problem-solve-togetherSimilarly, in a career in marketing you’ll face obstacles — some new and some common. How you handle them is what matters. Experience makes you wiser and more flexible when it comes to problem solving. Inc.com shares four benefits of professional experience, which includes developing your critical thinking skills, aiding in goal-setting, improving your skills and forging stronger connections. The more experience you have, the better you’ll readily and fearlessly face your challenges. The article goes on to share the importance of critical thinking skills, which is useful in the workplace and while traveling:

“No matter what work you do, being able to analyze things critically and come up with helpful solutions is essential for you to become successful. Every profession needs you to work under challenging situations at some point. Although it appears like a tough thing to do, such experiences have their own benefits as well.

It encourages you to utilize your critical thinking abilities and come up with new ideas, make suggestions, solve problems, etc. Doing this helps develop foresight and prepares you to better analyze the roots of any problems and come up with smart strategies for future development.

In doing so, you also become aware of your own biases and can then generate alternative ways to handle different situations. This helps improve your critical thinking abilities …”

So, if you face a stressful situation while traveling, don’t let it ruin your trip. Adapt and learn from the experience and it will improve your future endeavors. In marketing, don’t let setbacks define you. This lesson will be quite valuable in the long run; there is no need to overthink or stress. You will learn and grow from the experience.

These four simple tips will help you become a stronger and more confident traveler and marketing professional. Remember them as you embark on your journey to learning about yourself in different environments.

Need Help With Your Marketing Strategy?

Need an evaluation of your current marketing tactics or assistance coming up with a marketing plan that’s tailored to your business? Contact us today for a complimentary consultation with our CEO, Erika Taylor Montgomery.