A few years back, I was sitting in Yankee Stadium, with my son, watching the Yankees beat the Red Sox in the ALCS*. The chants were deafening when David Ortiz stepped to the plate…”Who’s your Daddy…who’s your Daddy?” So what does this have to do with travel? Just change out the word “daddy” and replace it with “competition”. Who’s your competition?
When you ask almost any travel professional that question, you will get the usual suspects as an answer. But they are wrong!
- Billy Bobs Tour and Travel
- American Express
- Travel Leaders
- Cruise Planners
- Cruise Holidays
- William Shatner
- And of course, that irritating Gnome
But they are not your competition. These companies and individuals are not competing with you. More likely than not, they are competing on their own.
I know I am sounding a bit nebulous like Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid (or maybe Ty Webb in Caddyshack) but I think that we all have forgotten who actually is the competition. Perhaps we have forgotten what it is that we are competing for? Are we really competing for that cruise? The family reunion? The honeymoon? The spring break?
Not even close! We are in competition for the discretionary dollar. Before the client decides to take any trip, he first needs to want it. Then he needs to afford it. It is your job, as a travel professional, to sell your service and to sell the product to meet the wants and wallet of the client. It is not an easy task for sure and that is why professional development is so important. To have the best shot at securing a chance to close a sale, you need to be on your toes:
- Network with colleagues and learn from them.
- Participate in online forums, trainings, and webinars as often as practical.
- Attend trade shows and site inspections.
- Keep your clients informed about what you do and what you are doing at least four times a year.
If you make a point to do all four, you likely will be very successful. If not, you run the risk of losing your client’s discretionary income to your real competition:
- Home Depot
- TGI Fridays
- The Yankees
- JC Penney
- you get the picture!
Think about it…who’s your Daddy?
* Yes, it was the year of the choke!