Maybe it’s time for you to leave | TravelResearchOnline


Maybe it’s time for you to leave

I’m not really surprised that you might be a little discouraged following all the issues that have impacted you over the past few years.  In fact, I can almost empathize with those of you that are fed up and are seriously considering getting out of the industry. No one would really blame you, no one likes to work even harder than you used to, only to see your income go down.

But, as I mentioned in a previous article, some of you have chosen to not get discouraged.  You are staying busy making sure your clients are taking great vacations and finding new clients with all the great deals that suppliers are offering.  You see the glass as half full and I’m sure that as things turn around, you will be making more money than ever before. But, for those of you that have pretty much given up and don’t like what’s going on…PLEASE leave now and stop complaining. Your negative attitude is affecting your colleagues as well as your client’s attitude about using a travel agent. Harsh words? Perhaps. But read on!

I just hate to hear agents complain about the industry which has fed them for years–an industry which has struggled along with you, an industry which has worked with you by not increasing your sales quotas to earn a override, an industry which continues to offer great training and marketing assistance, and especially the cruise lines which continue to invest billions of dollars to build beautiful ships with all kinds of new innovations for your clients!

The cruise industry knows that by building wonderful new ships and utilizing attractive pricing to fill them, that the number of new cruisers will continue to grow. And, when prices begin the get back to the rates that we all yearn for, there will be a larger pool of clients looking forward to a cruise vacation.  And, if you play your cards right, these clients will be telling their friends about their great travel agent that keeps them excited about finding great new vacations, even when things aren’t going so well.

Did you catch that important word? Did you miss it? The critical word was EXCITED! Are you excited about the opportunity to offer these great deals for your clients? Are you excited about all the new ships that have been coming out? Are you excited about the 24 new ships coming out over the next 24 months? Or are you one of those agents that spend most of your time complaining to anyone that will listen, that business is terrible and how you are not making any money?

I don’t think that complaining and being negative has ever helped a salesman in any industry sell. In fact it can affect you in more ways than we realize and none of them are good. I believe you can wake up with a positive attitude or you can wake up with “stinking thinking,”– the choice is yours.

Please don’t bite the hand that feeds you!

Now that my rant is over, let me give you the back-story. Back in November, I had the privilege of being invited to experience Royal Caribbean’s, Oasis of the Seas. While there were a lot of folks focusing on its enormous size, I was excited about the brand new innovations that it brought to our industry. I was amused to hear so many agents comment that it was “just too big” for their clients. Do they know? Hey, sure you would have to qualify them for this ship; but being bigger, means much more for clients to do onboard as well.

But, what really bothered me more than anything was when I overheard an agent telling her table mates that she would never sell the Oasis of the Seas to any of her clients. Her lists of ‘complaints’ were non-issues for me.  I saw so many things that old and new cruisers will love. I wondered why she even came aboard–her mind was already made up. I think she might just be one of the agents I mentioned in the first paragraph—the ones who just seem to see the negative things in our industry and would rather bite the hand that is feeding us. Is it time for her to leave?

Larry Norman, CTC, MCC is an icon in the industry. He has been a consultant to over 5,000 Home Based Travel Agents and trained an estimated 22,000 travel agents over his career. He was Travel Trade’s 1996 Travel Educator of the Year. Larry owned a four state network of 17 agencies, with annual sales of $28 million.  Larry is known as “The Outside Sales Agent Expert” for his presentations on outside sales at Travel Trade Cruise-A-Thons, ASTA, ARTA and NACOA travel agent conferences among others. You can share your views with Larry at

  9 thoughts on “Maybe it’s time for you to leave

  1. Hi Larry,

    I loved your article. One of the reasons I left a store front agency after 15 years was because of the amount of negative energy pooled together. I find it easier to wake up every day and be thankful for the good things and either try and change the bad or find a way to deal with it.

  2. Will Small says:

    Thank you! So many people pussyfoot around and your tell it like it is attitude is refreshing

  3. Suraj Zutshi, CTC,CTIE says:

    I agree with most of what you say. It is not mere negativism, not that simplistic.
    I have been in the business since 1973, owned my own since 1981. Had two offices, 9 employees and never made less than $80,000 a year. Until the last two years. Now it is a struggle for the two of us.
    Royal Caribbean is a bright light in the business. I did get to see the Liberty of the Seas and loved what options a large ship could bring. I am always networking, always selling with a smile and enthusiasm but with all due respect, being a consultant is a lot easier than being in the travel selling trenches. We used to boast about our 90% repeat and referral business,c annot do that any more and I have not changed, the buying habits and thinking have. Good travel agents are leaving because of that and not because they are getting sour on a great, fun business.

  4. Lori and Will,
    Thanks for your kind comments…as yes, I can get on my soap box sometimes…as I just can’t stand to be around negative people that wake up almost everyday with “stinking thinking”

  5. Suraj,
    Thank you for your comments and I can understand how you feel. The last two years have been very rough on many of my clients.

    They too are making much less and have had to change their marketing approach. I ma teaching them how to use the many Social Media Marketing platforms to find new clients…and those programs are free.

    But, don’t forget, I was in the trenches for 18 years, when I was overseeing as many as 17 retail agencies…it has never been easy to make money in the travel industry.

    But, even now as a consultant, I try to get people to focus on the positive things in our business, as it makes life much more fun.

    Hang in there, as a lot of folks are having a good start on 2010…

  6. JESS Kalinowsky says:

    This goes for any job! Love it or leave it! If you hate your job, then leave! That is not rocket science. I love my job as a Professional Travel Consultant. I love helping people have a wonderful vacation, a wonderful destination wedding, a wonderful honeymoon. I have traveled to 133 destinations around the world and would not trade that experience for anything, and I want my clients to do the same.

  7. Denise says:

    One question for those of us who are better off leaving this profession. What kind of job can a worn-out travel agent get? Helping customers is wonderful, but dealing with airlines and all the accounting that goes with corporate travel is just too much for me anymore. Without any leisure travel experience, I am stuck here till I find a new line of work. Any suggestions?

  8. Rick Zimmerman says:

    Denise should find a good host agency which gives her the proper training in leisure and forge off on her own…right Larry? You could really make some money if you can sell some group travel and a backround in travel will help with your “re-training”. Just another great article from Larry. Thanks and keep up the good work.

  9. larry norman ctc, mcc says:

    Rick made a great point in the above post. I agree that if someone is considering “getting out of the business,’ that they might want to build a few “annual group cruises’ that they could escort and promote each year. This keeps you involved in the industry, gives you some nice vacations to look forward to each year, enjoy some trips with your close friends and if you earn over $5,000 in commissions…qualify for your IATAN card renewals.

    And, Rick is also right…you could join a good Host agency that provides group sales training and other benefits, like a website, that would allow you to move to a home based and/or part time agent. I would recommend that you look at Rick’s KHM Travel Group’s program, as it has something for everyone.

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