LK Cruises & Tours, LLC — A Host gets upset

Posted on by in Travel Agent Diaries

Like most entrepreneurs, I have long term goals and a long term plan. I have taken the advice of many forecasters and focused on the big picture so as not to become discouraged in these economic times. But it seems I have focused on the horizon so intently that I neglected to keep an eye fixed on the short term economic picture. That is until I came face to face (or rather voice to voice) with my host’s short term expectations. I just haven’t been producing as much as they’d like. I was not meeting their expectations or my own. You know the old adage about not being able to see the forest for the trees? Well last week, I became victim to the reverse. I could see the forest just fine. It was the trees I didn’t see coming.

Group travel is my specialty. Group cruises are the vast majority of my bookings; and I work with a lot of non-profit organizations and alumni associations. These types of groups plan their trips years in advance. With payments coming in constantly, the commissions are not. My group bookings are doing fine and my prospects for more are better than I projected; but this type of booking can be a labor intensive time vampire, leaving little time for marketing to individuals traveling in the near future. I am confident these groups will result in long-term recurring bookings and will be worth the wait; but in the meantime my host wants to see some return on their investment. They want it now and quite frankly, so do I.

This was not an easy thing for me and during the week I went through all the classic stages of grief. First, there was denial. This couldn’t be happening to me. My host isn’t calling me on the carpet are they? There must be a mistake after all surely they must understand how difficult the economy is right now. That’s all the media talks about. The travel industry like every other facet of the business world is in trouble. Then I was angry because I thought they might be questioning my work ethic or worse yet, my commitment to the industry considering my “roots”. I wondered if the other ICs were being questioned this way.

Next, I did some reasoning. After all there are other hosts out there. Surely there must be one that would not be as demanding, right? If I started now maybe I could find one that perhaps didn’t have such impossibly high standards.

I was depressed for a couple of days. After that, I threw a pity party for myself. Luckily for me, I got tired and called it an early night.

Finally I accepted the situation. I got off my pity pot and got back to work. I recognized I needed more prospects in these times of uncertainty. Sure I need to specialize and I really need to focus on that specialty;  but I haven’t been marketing to the individuals who have traveled in my groups as effectively as I should. They’re my clients too! And if I take good care of them individually I will come closer to meeting the expectations of my host and creating a wider income base for my business. And, I might even get another group out of it in the future.

My host and I will be renewing our contract. There will be a slight change in the monthly fee I pay for the services my host provides me. They haven’t lost faith in me but they do have a business to run and a bottom line to deal with, just like I do. I learned a lot from my experience last week. I came back to the realization that my host isn’t unreasonable. They’ve been supportive and encouraging on all fronts. And as much as that phone call hurt I guess I needed to be reminded that the forest is made up of trees…lots of them. And I had better start paying attention to them.

Nia Frieson is the owner of LK Cruises and Tours, LLC based in Washington, DC. For more information, you can contact Nia at lk@lkcruisetours.com.

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  4 thoughts on “LK Cruises & Tours, LLC — A Host gets upset

  1. 1Samantha says:

    If you’re paying your host a monthly fee and bringing them groups, you should be signing a contract elsewhere. Lost of hosts would be thrilled to be getting the business.

    I don’t know of anyone who’s ‘business is booming’ at the moment; doesn’t matter if you selling food, making parts or booking travel.

    I prefer more humane treatment from my host agency than raising my monthly fee during a time of economic crisis.

  2. 1Laura says:

    Nia I loved your article. It sounds like you are facing things head on, and not afraid to take a different approach to things if needed.

  3. 1Kasey says:

    Nia, Great article!

    You were not alone, however as the daughter of a CPA who also happens to have a different CPA processing her taxes since 1999 – I would never have been able to face those two men when they saw THAT monthy fee PLUS the commission % to the host!!!!

  4. 1Nia says:

    Well perhaps I should add that being extrememly new to the luxury market I am more than pleased with what my host has provided for me including leads I might not otherwise have access to and a portfolio of products that they offer and access to the products of their consortium. The potential revenue far outweighs the very modest amount they are now asking me for. So I’m really not unhappy with the outcome just wanted to share my experience.

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