You don’t build a successful career in the travel industry without being adaptable and forward-thinking. But even so, recent national and global events must have tested your resilience to the core – what with inflation, wars, pandemics, and fuel prices going through the roof. Not to mention the tastes of the fickle consumer, which seem to change with the wind – at times, doing your job must feel like playing chess on a moving ship in a hailstorm.
One minute you feel you’ve got an agile and robust business strategy – ready to ride the choppiest of seas – and the next, your sails are flapping again.
But the one unwavering truth is that if you can maintain a robust cash flow and avoid going into the red, your company will be more resilient than most. This is especially important if your accounts are scrutinised by the various travel industry regulators. Easier said than done, you might say – but there are a few tried-and-trusted tips we can share with you to help you buttress your business against the stormy waters of 2024.
Without management accounts, you’re flying blind
Management accounts are the smart manager’s navigation tools – the instrument panel that gives you the crucial facts at your fingertips so you can plan the route ahead, see dangers before you run into them and steer a smooth, sensible course towards your goals
And you can’t do it without a reliable, realistic cash flow forecast. You need a clear vision of where you stand right now and where it’s going to be – month by month for the next year and beyond. Exactly how much money is coming in? When is it coming?
And how sure are you that what you expect to come in will come in at the right time, and before you need to pay your own travel suppliers?
Until you have answers to those questions, you can’t begin to plan your expenditure, or you’ll be putting your business at risk. So plan your outgoings in tandem with your income and you won’t go far wrong.
Trim the fat from your budget
Use your management accounts to help you see a). what spending’s necessary, b). what can wait and c). what you can safely say the business doesn’t need. They can give you a clear insight into what certain materials and services are worth to you – giving you the transparency you need to negotiate with suppliers, invest in new technology and make new efficiencies. Building your profitability brick by brick.”
Make it your business to find out how customers prefer to pay you
The easier you make it, the more likely they are to pay on time. And there’s no excuse nowadays, because new and better advances in payment systems are coming onto the market all the time. So analyse different payment terms, look at the technologies available, but above all, talk to your customers, be they consumers or other travel businesses, about their preferred way of paying you.
Invest equally in growth and agility
In a fast-changing business landscape, those that are slow to adapt quickly fall by the wayside. An agile business model means your business is running on the balls of its feet – always ready to react positively and keep growing. So look at what you can do to be more responsive to market changes and deliver innovative solutions. Collaborate with customers and stakeholders – because the more you align with their needs and expectations, the more efficiently you can achieve high levels of satisfaction and loyalty. Create collaborative, cross-functional teams and it’ll lead to better communication, knowledge sharing, and a more holistic approach to problem-solving. Adopt an iterative and incremental approach to product development – take it step-by-step, test and repeat so you can allocate resources more efficiently, focus on the highest-priority tasks and adjust your strategy as necessary. This approach will also help you avoid unnecessary expenses and keep your spending in line with your objectives. Adopt regular feedback loops and continuous evaluation to help you root out problems before they get too big.
All the above tactics will help your business to navigate uncertain waters, respond more effectively to shifting sands, and build a solid foundation for sustainable success and sustainability.