Working as a travel agent is an exciting, challenging career. By incorporating some strategies used by the best agents in the industry, it's possible to gain a name as a top performer and grow your business through wise use of niche markets, customer service, education, selling techniques, partnerships and use of social media. Today's travel agents can take advantage of the way technology has made the field largely mobile; you can work from home or on the road keeping up with new destinations and the latest travel trends, letting you stay connected to both existing clients and potential new customers.
We are beyond proud of each of you during this challenging time.
If we could, we would fly around to every city, knock on your door, give you a big bear hug and plant a big, sloppy, Coronavirus-free smooch on you, with no fear; only love.
Alas, we can’t do this, so here is what we want you to know.
This is a moment in time.
This is a moment in time that has you on your heels. And those heels of yours have been whittled down to a sliver that looks more like a well-used toothpick.
This is a moment in time that feels so vastly different than any other time in your business, and it doesn’t matter how long you have been in the travel industry. You haven’t, and we haven’t experienced this combination of events, announcements, fear, unknowns, inconsistencies, and changes taking place by the hour.
What you are feeling is REAL. Own it.
This is a moment in time you’ll either remember with a feeling of dread or of thankfulness that you dug deep to muster up the strength necessary to fight through the fear and uncertainty. You have it in you; grab ahold of it like it’s the winning lottery ticket because this is what you need to WIN!
This is a moment in time where YOU, yes, YOU, are an integral part of a historical event, an event that will be studied in Ivy League business schools for decades into the future. Today’s current events will be written about in history books and Netflix, Amazon Prime, and A&E will compete to produce the best and most sensationalized documentary. YOU are smack in the middle of this incredible story, and YOU will help determine its ending.
Ok, stand up while you read this next part. Seriously, stand up. Read it out loud. Imagine you’re saying this to whoever in your life isn’t “getting it,”; to who doesn’t understand what this moment in time feels like for you. Really! Stand Up! Ready?
This is a moment in time, and you will look back and say:
“YEAH, THAT’S RIGHT! I MADE IT THROUGH THIS HORRIFIC MOMENT AND ALL THAT HAS COME WITH IT!”
That’s right, my friend. While you were standing in an hour-long line at Costco attempting to buy large quantities of toilet paper, bottled water (huh?), hand sanitizer, and whatever else your conspiracy-theorist neighbor suggested, I was on my phone 18-20 hours per day. (By the way, how’d that vacation you bought through Costco work out for you?)
I stole time from my family to calm the fears of my clients. I have spent countless hours focusing on them by:
- Facebook Messaging
- Staying on Hold With Overworked Call Center Reps
When systems crashed, or I got busy signal after busy signal, I didn’t stop. I kept calling. I stayed on hold for hours, sometimes with multiple phones on my desk trying my best to keep up with the news that came down hard and swift on our incredible industry.
I am a business owner, and I take pride in taking care of my clients.
- I patiently answered their questions about how to handle the trips they’d booked.
- I figured out ways to get full refunds on their vacations.
- I explained again and again, why travel insurance does not cover “fear.”
- I spent countless hours curating NEW plans for those who weren’t afraid to travel, only for them to be canceled last minute due to the across the board, STOPPAGE of travel.
- I actively listened to the bride, who called in hysterics, saying she has to cancel her destination wedding because her friends are scared to travel, not because of possibly getting sick, but because they could end up getting “stuck.”
- I suspended family vacations for hard-working individuals who worked all year long to enjoy one special week with their families, only to be told they wouldn’t be able to come back to work directly if they went on vacation.
- I canceled a celebratory cruise a couple had planned in honor of Mrs. Joe kicking cancer’s ass. Imagine, the same illness that was mere months away from stealing her life now stops her from living it!
Yep, I was glued to my email hour after hour, waiting for the next “update” from the myriad of travel suppliers I proudly partner with to offer my clients unbelievable vacations.
These travel partners had to pivot quickly to balance the needs of their company’s financial and physical health, with our mutual client’s health, while trying to protect our well-established relationship. They did all this while their stocks plummeted. Many just ceased operations altogether for 30-60 days.
I lost a year’s worth of work in a matter of three weeks. There is no paycheck for me – no cushion.
Oh, and BTW, I am not a travel agent, dammit! I am a travel agency owner. I am a travel advisor in the most incredibly impactful industry in the world, an industry that does more for world peace, acceptance, and understanding than any government, world organization, or your $50 “I feel good” annual charitable contribution does. I curate incredibly personalized experiences that leave an imprint for a lifetime. I transform a destination from a mere point on the map, beyond an Instagram story, to a pinpoint in someone’s life.
What’s your superpower? (Say it with attitude!)
“YEAH, THAT’S RIGHT, I SURVIVED THIS HORRIFIC MOMENT IN TIME! I MADE IT THROUGH!
I F’N MADE IT THROUGH!”
Ok, ROCKSTAR – we are going to get this whole thing figured out TOGETHER. As I write this, President Trump has just declared a national state of emergency. There will most likely be more shocking announcements to come. Be prepared, but it’s going to be ok.
This is just a moment in time.
Things to Think About
This unbelievable stress comes from giving your whole heart to something, even when it is spitting in your face. Your dedication to your clients withstands all of this, even when it seems like they are leaving you in the dust without a care. While some clients are just scared and reacting, many others have stuck, and how you handle this moment in time will determine when others come back to you.
Americans LOVE to travel – and they will be back! But do you know who those clients AREN’T going to call?
SUCK IT OTA’s and call centers!
SUCK IT – I won!!!
Your neighbors, co-workers, agency teammates, supplier partners, fellow advisors, and more, are admiring your tenacity, courage, and ability to put one foot in front of other during this moment in time.
That’s all it is. This is a moment in time. And you are rocking it.
We are in this together – keep moving #FiercelyForward Rockstar!