In the Trenches: A Get-Together Post-Mortem
It’s been a couple of weeks since we had our annual Cranky Concierge staff meeting, which means I can now look back to judge its effectiveness.
Because everyone works remotely in the company, I like to bring some of our core people together once a year for a few days to bond and to think strategically about our operations.
It went pretty well this year. I tried to get us a meeting room at a local hotel, but no one had a small room available for a decent price. So, we did what a lot of small businesses do: We improvised. We took over a corner of the lobby at the hotel where our visiting employees were staying. This proved to be a great (and free) space for the four of us since there were couches and tables that were perfect for collaboration. Oh, and the Wi-Fi was fast and free of charge.
As predicted, we couldn’t spend whole workdays discussing long-term strategy, because we had a lot of clients to assist. But in the end, we spent half the day working together, which I think was enough time.
We devoted our first session to talking about business problems and figuring out how to fix them. Some of these were small, such as updating the contact information we have for some vendors, so that the right people within our organization get contacted when there are problems. Simple and stupid, I know. But we also talked about more substantive things, such as a concern that our change fees are too low when it comes to award travel. We worked through ways to address that.
We spent our second session focusing on ways to grow the business. I don’t want to get too specific in this blog post, but we identified some opportunities to grow our client base in industries that generate a lot of travel and aren’t as price-sensitive as our current markets. We also talked about new services we might offer, including an option for helping clients figure out how to earn more frequent flier miles (not just spend them).
By the end of the staff meeting, I had a long list of things to follow up on, and that’s what I had hoped for. The ideas and solutions that surfaced should help guide us over the next few months.
Brett Snyder is President and Chief Airline Dork of Cranky Concierge air travel assistance. Snyder previously worked for several airlines, including America West and United, before leaving to create a travel search site for PriceGrabber.com. Snyder did his undergrad at George Washington and earned his MBA from Stanford.