I have a new watch that is supposed to be my goad to getting into shape. As I engage in any given activity, the watch monitors my heart rate and then stores it on my home computer. During the week the watch emails me (I kid you not) if I am lagging behind in either duration or intensity of workouts. I’m not sure we are ever going to be great friends, but I am in high hopes that my watch will keep me where I need to be so that in a few months I am in better health. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit I need the motivation of a sports watch to keep after me, but in the end, well, whatever works.
It’s too bad that as travel agents we don’t have a program that will email us when we lag intensity, when we need some inspiration. So much about success as a travel agent simply has to do with the willingness to keep on keeping on, of plugging away, seeing opportunity where others see only problems. It’s not always easy showing up and maintaining your enthusiasm in the face of so many challenges. But someone is going to do it. Someone will find a way to make lemonade out of the situation as it now exists. Those with the courage and the stamina to show up one more day and to creatively engage their clients will still be here long after times are no longer quite so tough.
Sometimes it is as easy as deciding to match a trend with decisive action, of creating tactics to match current circumstance.
Here’s a great example. I hear from agents that clients are booking closer in this year than ever before. Makes sense. Prices have comparatively never been lower and everyone wants the best possible value. This is especially true because everyone has their own set of concerns about the economy, job security, H1N1, etc. Last minute travel is a difficult trend to get a grasp on for many agents conditioned to careful planning. In fact, I’ve heard agents bemoaning the last minute clients. However, if that’s what we have to live with, is it also a trend that offers up a possibility for a new set of tactics? What if you notified your clients that you are aware of the trend, and that you have a way to assist them? What if you ask each of your clients to give you the destination they would most like to visit on a last minute basis if you can find them an incredible, can’t refuse value? After all, reduced consumer demand has improved seat selections, pricing and crowds. Many of your clients will give you the challenge. Then, you use the responses clients provide as the goad you need to research out a special last minute trip for your client in which they have already indicated an interest.
Exploiting a trend, being willing to meet a challenge head-on and work with circumstances as you find them is a matter of determination, a willingness to stay in the ring. Sometimes it really is a matter of last man standing. Next year, it will be a different challenge. The best travel agents will be flexible enough to use that new circumstance to meet their client’s needs. And so it goes.
I couldn’t agree more that things have not been easy in the travel business for some time now. So what? These are the times you have been given. As my good friend Mike Caplin says “This is the business we have chosen.”
There are a lot of ways to meet a challenge. Sometimes it’s just all about showing up, being both willing and creative, and keeping on keeping on.