Firms should not let an infatuation with Brexit bruise their business, says Miles Morgan.

Travel is a funny old game and 2019 so far has been very much the same. I don’t think anyone went into the month expecting a bonanza and it appears to have played out that way.

Market stats show some weeks down 10% year on year – not great in our peak trading month. My question is, have people and companies’ own attitudes played a part in this?

I hate the B word. I am bored with the B word. But the B word will not stop my company’s success, as has proved the case again this year.

Think positive

My company operates in a B-word free zone, in a bubble where it does not exist. We don’t talk about it to clients or to each other, or use it to explain why we do or don’t hit sales targets. At our pre-Christmas briefing, I mentioned it face-to-face to my team and explained why we don’t talk about it. The only MMT airtime it has had is 10 minutes. I said: “It’s there, it might impact, we can do nothing about it and we will succeed through sheer bloody-minded determination.”

We won’t take a backward step on marketing. In fact, we will spend more, because others are losing their nerve. Crucially, we know that when people are fed up, holidays are the release they need to cheer them up, so booking a holiday is just the tonic.

Every year we have a B word in some guise: Gulf wars, ash clouds, 9/11 and the like. But for some reason this B word has affected companies and their attitudes more than I have ever seen. There is an infatuation in some businesses that seems to be paralysing them and actually talking them down to accepting that poor performance was always going to happen and is OK. But why?

Find an edge

I have a simple approach in these times: if the market is down by 10%, then success for us is if we can simply nick someone else’s share of business. This year, I chose to spend more on marketing as others took their foot off the gas. This gives us an edge. It brings more clients into my shops, motivates my staff and helps them earn more – and the whole machine moves forward positively.

The key is to push the markets that are winning and diversify into a new niche that’s winning. Just find a way.

I don’t think I am underplaying the potential impact of Brexit on travel. And don’t think my company is smashing all targets. It’s been tough. But we had the best week in our history in January, the best single day in our history and we are running along nicely for the year. I am convinced attitude plays a huge part in this success.

The B word will go at some point (I hope), business levels will bounce and MMT will be in a strong position. Those that let it paralyse their business will be playing catch-up for a while.

tw3