Staff Meetings Galvanize Wis. Agency

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Carlson Wagonlit Travel's agency in La Crosse, Wis., owned by Goli's Avenues of Travel, holds staff meetings twice a month, on Wednesdays beginning at 7:30 a.m., in a conference room at the head office.

Coffee, donuts and rolls are served. Meetings go for an hour to an hour-and-a-half, with a structured format, and all 30 staff members must attend. "You want everybody to hear things at the same time," Kathy Olson said.

Olson, the agency's vice president and co-owner, said meetings open with a short motivational reading from Worldspan's monthly magazine, books and classes, usually on the subjects of salesmanship, stress relief, customer service and positive thinking.

Any compliments or thank-you notes from clients are read aloud. Then come updates on the agency's group bookings, housekeeping issues, current promotions and changes to operating procedures, such as new steps for guarding against credit-card fraud.

At some staff meetings agents report on recent fam trips, good points and bad, or do a report on a lesser-known preferred supplier.

The agenda also includes time for a guest speaker, like a supplier sales representive or 401(k) retirement plan expert.

The minutes from each meeting are typed, posted in each of the three offices and "kept on file for years," Olson said.

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

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