By the title, you would think that this week’s column is full of doom and gloom. If you thought so, you would be wrong! Since I got my first “real job” to now, I have been involved in retail management (5 years), construction management (8 years), and travel (13 years). I know it doesn’t explain the first few years out of college, but they are still a bit hazy. Certainly, each industry has its own challenges and issues to overcome. Travel is certainly no different; and in fact, from my experience, the travel industry leads the pack with challenges and problems.
While the day to day problems have been around forever, I have to say the past two years have presented some of the most seemingly insurmountable ones ever. How many businesses have faced a global recession of the magnitude we witnessed? How many businesses have the State Department working against them by issuing warnings to their customers? How many businesses have the media doing whatever they can to instill fear into their customers? How many businesses are fighting the misperception that they are the most expensive channel for a purchase? How many businesses still feel the effects of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? How many businesses are routinely negatively impacted by rainstorms. snowstorms, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis? How many businesses have a government agency whose sole purpose (it seems) is to inconvenience their customers? How many businesses have suppliers who are constantly looking for a way to cut the pay of their agents? Certainly there are hundreds of businesses who have faced one or more of those challenges. But I can only think of one who has faced them all in the last few years! Congratulations on your keen sense of foresight to choose travel as your profession!
When I put it all in a list, I really do want to run for the hills. Wow, how the hell did I survive that? How is it that my little agency is recovering and having a good year? It is all about perseverance. And while many industries have it—none of them have it to the degree we do in the travel industry. Can anyone remember when the first obituary was written? But you know what, we are still here. While we are all competitors to a degree, we also share a common knowledge which makes us stronger and able to withstand whatever is thrown our way. Sure we have lost some people along the way—it is the natural course of business. In nature and in business, the strong will survive.
You are reading this, so congratulations! Look at that list and take a moment to reflect in your accomplishments. You may not have made a profit last year. Your business may still be really down. But you are still standing. And more important, you believe in yourself and the industry. So who’s ready for the future? I am! How ‘bout you?
And speaking of overcoming adversity, just remember it is never as bad as it may look….turn up the volume and enjoy!