Erica James is a travel consultant, travel addict, and entrepreneur. She is the owner of Erica James Travel based in Nashville, Tennessee. Erica focuses on providing well planned vacations with authentic and unique experiences while providing excellent friendly service to her clients.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I have a need to plan things and be organized. I create a plan for everything and I organize everything in my life. Because I have those two passions, within me, being a travel agent seemed a good fit for my personality. After jumping into this career path, more and more, I started thinking and feeling, “I believe I finally found what I am passionate about”. It was my ‘ah ha’ moment.
Tell us about your business.
Erica James Travel is a full-service travel agency specializing in Caribbean and Mexico destinations due to my extensive travels, education and studies of these areas. I am known for my unique, well-organized, and detailed itineraries, exemplary customer service, and an array of exclusive perks.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
Stay tuned for the most amazing promotions and deals on Black Friday!
Where is your business based?
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
Research. Research. Research. I spent a lot of time researching the travel industry and other travel agents. I quickly learned that I was not interested in travel marketing pyramids or travel clubs, I was only interested in planning vacations for people. I started to study how I could plan the best vacations by being extremely knowledgeable about the travel industry and the many destinations that this beautiful world has to offer.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
As much as I push my social media presence, the most effective way of getting new customers has been referrals. My clients refer me to others and that is were the majority of my new business comes from. I am so thankful for the compliment of being referred!
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
My biggest challenge is getting people to realize that travel agents are still needed and can provide assistance, as well as be your advocate if anything goes wrong on your vacation. The internet doesn’t care if something goes wrong on your vacation, I do.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I try to provide expert advice to all my clients. I listen to how they envision their vacation to be. I ask questions to find out what they really want in a vacation. People often say they just want a clean room and a flight, however, that is not what they really want. They want so much more! It is my job to get to what they really want and make recommendations and plan a vacation to meet their true expectations.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
During difficult times, I always remind myself how much I love what I do and that I am not going to allow a temporary moment cause me not to keep moving forward.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I have been told that my friendliness and vibe makes people more comfortable when working with me. I try to provide excellent customer service. It is important to me.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
“Give more WOW to your clients”. That advice just resonated with me and I wrote it on my white board and in my office to remind me – when I am planning a client’s vacation… What can I do to make them say “Wow!”
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Find what you enjoy doing and do it well. Leave the other things to someone else.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
My favorite business tool is actually social media because it gives me a chance to show my travel experiences and encourage people to travel.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
My doctor suggested a book for me and it is going well – “The Willpower Instinct” by Kelly McGonigal.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I am currently learning about creating video for social media and Instagram. I would love help on being polished with this craft.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
My goals for the next few months is expanding my group travel business. I am planning to enlist help from others to help being group leaders.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Hashtags #ejthetraveldiva #ejtravel
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