Why are you listening to us? | Travel Research Online


Why are you listening to us?

Ever since birth, we have been told to do things. Come here. Do this. Get that. Sit down. Shut up. I am sure you remember them all from your childhood. You would think it would stop when we became adults; but it doesn’t. Just look at your own travel business and you will see what I mean.

A decade ago everyone told you that you needed to specialize in cruises. You needed to specialize in the all-inclusive market. Then you had to have a niche destination or type of travel. You needed to get a website, etc. And, it continues today. Did you read Nolan’s article? He says you need to be ignorant (hey he said it). TRO tells you that you need to embrace blogging, tweeting and Facebooking. Agents today are being bombarded with all sorts of marching orders. Is enough, enough?

Maybe. None of the advice you have been given is bad. Most (if not all) of it is downright good. But the question that really needs to be asked is “is it right for my agency?” And surprisingly, you are likely not the best person to answer that question. Being ignorant, producing a blog, tweeting your specials, Facebooking your updates, and changing up your content on your website are only good if your clients, the people that pay your bills, want to receive information from you in that manner. Why not ask them?

Recently I sent a letter to my clients asking exactly that. The answers I received back did not surprise me too much. For my clients, they feel Facebooking should be reserved for friends (so I am not focusing on Facebook for my business, but keeping it up to date with feeds, etc.), they like my occasional tweets (those that knew what Twitter was), but the majority prefer to hear from me by my monthly newsletter and the website. For personal contact, they highly prefer email. Hey if it works for them, it darned sure better work for me. So, rather than merely accepting all of this good advice at face value with limited success, why not ask the people that matter?

Here’s the email I sent out with a link to an online survey:

I’ve spent much of this year reading, learning and discussing the new economy and new media, the value of Twitter, Facebook, blogs and the rest. I am trying to see if we are appealing to the Generation X and Yers or to the Baby Boomers? Does it matter? Do they want their information now, later or instantaneously?

The travel industry has been evolving and the only thing we know for certain, is that the old way of doing business is not the new way of doing business. I have been asking myself these questions all year. Of course, it is entirely possible that I am asking the wrong questions. It is much more insightful to be asking you, what you want from Single Parent Travel.

Do you want more bloggy information? Do you want more trips? Longer trips? Shorter Trips? Larger groups? Smaller groups? How do you want to get your information from us? Mail? Phone? Email? Web? E-Newsletter? Blogs, Twitter, or Facebook—or all of the above? Do you want more individual trip promotions? More interesting articles? More specials? Less salesy type communication?

My questions are indeed limitless, yet may totally miss the points you wish to make. I want Single Parent Travel to be your resource. And while I can guess at the right questions all day long, I will most assuredly miss the mark. Please write me at john@singleparenttravel.net with your ideas, thoughts, observations, compliments, or complaints. They are all worthwhile and we sincerely want to hear from you.

All the best—

Chief Single Dad

  4 thoughts on “Why are you listening to us?

  1. HD4500 says:

    Interesting blog, but it’s missing an important part of the equation: Generation Jones (born 1954-1965, between the Boomers and Generation X). GenJonesers are the dominant generation of travelers, indexing higher in most categories of travel than any other generation.

    Google Generation Jones, and you’ll see it’s gotten a ton of media attention, and many top commentators from many top publications and networks (Washington Post, Time magazine, NBC, Newsweek, ABC, etc.) now specifically use this term. In fact, the Associated Press’ annual Trend Report chose the Rise of Generation Jones as the #1 trend of 2009.

    It is important to distinguish between the post-WWII demographic boom in births vs. the cultural generations born during that era. Generations are a function of the common formative experiences of its members, not the fertility rates of its parents. Many experts now believe it breaks down this way:

    DEMOGRAPHIC boom in babies: 1946-1964
    Baby Boom GENERATION: 1942-1953
    Generation Jones: 1954-1965
    Generation X: 1966-1978

    Here is an op-ed about GenJones as the new generation of leadership in USA TODAY:

    Here’s a page with a good overview of recent media interest in GenJones:

    1. John Frenaye says:

      Interesting, till now I have not heard the term Gen Jones and always head that the early 60s babies were considered late boomers. Thanks

  2. Chuck Flagg says:


    What did you ask in your survey?

  3. John Frenaye says:

    A bunch of communication questions:

    Which of these do you use…Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn

    Where do you surf: News sites, travel sites, blogs,

    How do you like to be kept up to date: Twitter, Facebook, email, MySpace, RSS Feed, I check on my own

    What part of our newsletter do you like best: trip updates, blog entries, destination or consumer tips

    Do you want to see more of any of the above, less?

    Have you recommended us to anyone?
    Will you?

    Made it down and dirty really easy to complete.

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