In my last installment I mentioned that one little status update on Facebook sent the audio version of my book to number two on iTunes within twenty-four hours. Without a doubt, I know it was the global community of travel agents that made it happen.
Last month following the tragedy in Haiti, I decided to donate 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the printed version of my book on Amazon.com to Doctors Without Borders. As before, Facebook was where I made the announcement and travel agents responded. I am so proud to be making that donation because of the help it can provide, and because I know it came primarily from the travel agent community.
You are a community. You are a global community with a global impact that is much grander than just cruises, tours and tickets. You are creators of dreams and diplomats of understanding.
A cruise to Alaska can completely change the perspective of one who has never seen the ocean or pristine wilderness. A beach holiday in Costa Rica can forever alter one’s thinking about the importance of the rainforest. Touching ancient ruins with your own hands and walking streets older than most North American cities can impart an appreciation for preservation and culture.
You bring people together. You introduce people to new and different ways of life and different cultures. In fact, the subject of my book was a man who had his entire life changed by a seemingly ordinary vacation. You truly are diplomats! Peace can only come through understanding and appreciation of differences. Nothing creates understanding more than human-to-human, face-to-face experiences.
When you’re dealing with countless bargain hunters and discount seekers it’s understandable to become a little jaded or frustrated at times. In my days as a front line agent I was easily distracted by the drudgery and the mechanics of “reservation making.”
I was lucky though. I had an amazing boss who started every day with a smile and one simple request: “let’s go sell some dreams today folks!” …And so we did.
Maybe some of those trips I sold made some dreams come true. Maybe a few of them changed some lives. Maybe some new level of international understanding was born. Maybe there were just a lot of people relaxing on a beach and forgetting about the stress in their own lives for a few precious moments. It really doesn’t matter. It’s all important.
You are a global community helping to create an ever bigger global community. Wrap it in a package called a tour or a cruise; the contents are the same. You show the people the world. Once their perspective is expanded, it never returns to its original size.
Nolan Burris is an author, former travel agent, failed musician and self-professed techno-geek. He’s also a popular international speaker both inside and outside of the travel industry. He is the founder and chief Visioneer of Future Proof Travel Solutions (futureprooftravel.com) based in Vancouver, Canada. Nolan’s believes that if can change the way business works, you’ll change the world. His goal is to spread the message of integrity and ethics in a techno-driven world.