Are these the times that try peoples’ souls? Are these the best of times or the worst of times? Are we living and working in one of the most difficult and challenging environments in our lifetime?
You and I both know the answers to those questions so the ‘real’ question is “What do we do now?” How do we deal with the current market and how do we ride out the storm?
I’ve been involved in the travel industry for over forty years and have experienced countless ‘storms’ before and yes – this one is a real humdinger. But I never cease to marvel at the resilience and fortitude shown by all of the true professionals in this great business! We always manage to get through it – we re-engineer, we retool, we adapt and we survive. For sure, many have fallen by the wayside over the past 10-15 years, but those who have survived have come out stronger, smarter and better equipped to face the challenges of the future.
It’s easy, during times like these, to take your eye off the ball and forget why we are all here in the first place. Or if I can use one of my favorite movie quotes from “The Godfather – Part 2”; when Hyman Roth (played by Lee Strasberg) shouts out to Michael Corleone, “This is the business we’ve chosen!”
For me, having always worked on the vacation and leisure side of the industry; my reward has always been the satisfaction in hearing back from a client who had the time of their life on a journey which I had planned. I reveled in arranging a honeymoon, a family reunion or a trip to some exotic destination which resulted in a life changing experience for the customer. That’s what it is all about – isn’t it?
As I look back on my lifelong career in the travel business, there are two things I’ve enjoyed the most…the travel and the people.
My wife and I have traveled all over the world and have experienced things that most of our neighbors never will. We have always thought globally and are so grateful for the incredible memories that will stay with us forever.
But let’s talk about the people. I challenge you to find an industry filled with more quality, interesting, smart, funny and just downright nice people than you will find right here in our business. All of us have made close, personal friends from all over the world. And most of these started out as a business relationship. Clearly, travel itself is one of the most mind broadening experiences there is. But, it is the friends we’ve made which have immensely expanded our minds and sharpened our senses. After all, this is the business we’ve chosen!
So, I guess you are asking now “what is his point?” Simply this – we ARE going to make it through this. We have faced all sorts of adversity before and survived and this is no different.
Lastly, in an effort to get your eye back on the ball – when you have about
4 extra minutes, please check out the video below, turn up the speakers and watch my pal, Dancing Matt do his thing and remember “this is the business we have chosen.”
Mike Caplin is a 43 year veteran of the travel industry. A large part of his career, over 30 years, was spent with the American Automobile Association.
Mike was Vice President, Western Division and Vendor Relations of eTravCo, Inc. – a national consortium representing over 1,100 member travel agencies across the United States. In February 2007 Mike joined the IT Group Network as Vice President. IT Group is a Travel Agency national consortium based in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL., and has over 900 affiliated members.
Mike also has several years teaching experience at the Junior College level in various Travel Careers programs. He was on the Advisory Board of the San Francisco Academy of Travel and Tourism and is currently on the Advisory Board of the Hospitality Management program at San Francisco State University.
He is a past President of both the Foreign Travel Club of San Francisco and SKAL Club of San Francisco. Mike also has been a volunteer arbitrator for the past 25 years at the Better Business Bureau of Oakland.
Mike can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org