It is safe to say that the last two years have been incredibly difficult for many businesses around the world, especially in the tourism sector. I have seen many of our clients cease to exist but also many change the focus of their business to survive. TMA was no different.
Being a marketing agency that focuses on tourism, I still get surprised looks when I say we are not only still in business but have come out the other end stronger than ever. That is not to say it was without its challenges.
As a business owner, it has been an extremely stressful time. Thinking about how I am going to pay staff, myself, support my family and still provide a level of service that my customers deserve, kept me up for many nights. However, on reflection, I am extremely proud of how, as a team, we managed to steer the business through the pandemic.
My team are the hardest working people I know and they have put in the hours to not only make sure TMA survived, but to make sure we supported our customers in every way we could. Not only that, they spent time helping the industry as a whole by helping me put together free help guides and research to the benefit of everyone.
Even at my lowest points they helped push me though any doubts I had – and I had many – and gave me the kick up the arse that I sometimes needed. It was also my job to support them as much as possible; part of that was me going back ‘on the tools’ and helping out with many day-to-day tasks across the board, while making sure I was still working on my sales duties to make sure I can keep the lights on.
You have to realise that when the pandemic first hit, TMA lost around 20 customers all within the space of a month. That is enough to put most out of business, but I decided to work every hour I could to make sure my team stayed together. I never furloughed, as doing so would mean the customers that stayed with us (I will be forever grateful to them) would not get the great level of service we are famous for. But, even still, deep down I knew we could do better with an expanded team… I just could not afford to grow during such uncertain times.
Like I said, an extremely stressful time for all concerned… but we got through it.
Now It’s Time for Some Changes at TMA
During the last two years, we steadily built TMA back up and have now surpassed the position we were in back in March 2020. We have grown our customer base, now serving over 50 operators (and counting), and the team has doubled from six to twelve. We are still in survival mode, but we are most certainly moving in the right direction.
I am super proud of what we have achieved during one of the worst, most challenging periods in my long working career. I am incredibly proud of my team for believing in TMA and for investing their time to not only make sure TMA survived, but to also personally invest so much effort into helping our clients. This has been a trying time for many operators and my team always acknowledges the challenges professionally and personally – they truly care about our TMA family.
And now, it is time to take TMA to the next level.
As of the 1st March, Amanda Walkins was promoted from Account Manager to my new Managing Director. Amanda will now take over the role that I have been doing for many years by becoming the main point of contact for anything business-related. Amanda has authority to make key decisions for TMA and our customers. If you are a customer of ours, your Account Manager is still your first point of contact, but if anything arises that they can’t advise on, Amanda is on hand to help.
You may also see a few changes in account management. I have hired an additional Account Manager, Yara Eldouky, to help with our ever-growing customer base. This could mean your current Account Manager may change but please rest assured that any change is to make sure we can deliver an even better service to our customers. Please bear with us as we manage these changes.
I have also hired a new content writer, Christina Watts, and a new Paid Media Manager, Amy McGibbon, as well as Nicola (Nikki) Hunter Page who supports our customers’ websites. Some of you may have met Nikki before in her role of supporting Touriosity operators. All of these appointments have been brought in so we can serve each and every customer better, but also relieve the workload of the existing team.
And the good news is, I hope to continue to add to the team throughout the year.
So, what about my role?
To make sure TMA gets to where it needs to be, I have to focus on what I do best… driving sales and providing lots of educational content. I will no longer be available for general business-related tasks or meetings, but Amanda has this covered on my behalf. I will also not be involved in day-to-day tasks for our customers. My team is more than experienced to cover that side of things. It is the reason why any business owner hires staff!
This does not mean that I disappear however… far from it.
This now allows me to focus on, of course, growing TMA, but also how we can best serve our customers. I will be advising the team through strategy suggestions for all our customers, providing consultations as and when required, developing new products and services, and still producing all the free, educational content I have been doing for years.
It will also give me the time I need to write my second book, Lookers Into Bookers: The Marketing Blueprint. In essence, I will now have more time to offer even more value to our customers and to the tourism sector as a whole.
I hope you can see why we need to make these necessary changes. They allow us to serve all our customers in more ways than we could have done over the last two years. They help TMA grow, which, in turn, will help our customers grow. If you have any questions or doubts, please do contact Amanda ([email protected]).
Thanks to everyone who has helped support TMA over the last few years and as for Amanda… I apologise in advance as your inbox is about to get a lot busier!