New Year's Resolutions

"Our resolution for 1998 is to be more in touch with individual customers through more effective database marketing. We just implemented a system and are making some improvements to it. The days of doing everything for everybody disappeared when airlines cut commissions. We need to focus on the customers who make us money ... to know what each client has done and what's out there for him/her in the future."
-- Fred Bursch, owner of Bursch Travel, an American Express Travel representative headquartered in Alexandria, Minn.

"We weren't as busy [in 1997], but we seemed to take better control of our business. We did that with service fees. We avoided some of the time-consuming business of cheap tickets that didn't pay us. Service fees separate the men from the boys. In 1998 I hope that we increase our condo [rental] sales because it's the most profitable part of the business."
-- Donna A. White, owner of Donna White Travel Service in Orleans, Mass.

"I'm determined to get better at charging service charges. Everyone else here is better at it than I. It's easier for an employee to say 'It's an office rule' than it is for me, the owner. I will try selling more airlines that pay 10% and I'll try selling space on airlines altogether."
-- Steve Shields, owner of Shields World Travel in Pleasanton, Calif.

"[We want to] find a way to keep up on industry-related reading [and] provide more training for our agents on the computerized reservations system to get more use out of it."
-- Barbara and Jim Jennison, Jennison World Travel in Wausau, Wis.

"I want to make sure that every time I come in contact with a person I make a difference in [his/her] life. I will be successful if I help other people be successful. Everything else will take care of itself."
-- Liz Sutton, owner of Alabama World Travel/Cruise Concepts in Montgomery, Ala.

This article was adapted from Travel Weekly's "Agent Life" section.

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