Every week, I participate in a trivia league. Last I was out with my team, continuing our dominance of the competition, when I had an “aha” moment and was distracted by a commercial on one of the televisions. Since it was a sports bar, I knew it would be back on before last call and sure enough it was. I scrawled out some notes and spent the next week trying to decipher them and then hunting down the commercial. So, what does a commercial shown in a sports bar have to do with travel?
Admittedly, I was not sure myself. It was a car commercial for the new Infiniti model; but one line in particular caught my attention and practically screamed to be repeated to the travel industry.
He is a master driver. His job is to measure what computers cannot.
How apropos is that? OK, we are not master drivers, but we are indeed master planners and master travelers. Each day, we strive to provide the right experience to our clients. Every day, we try to provide a unique experience to our clients. Every day, we utilize the information and the knowledge we have harvested over the years for our clients. We are the master driver.
With a car, a computer can figure out the dimensions, the drag coefficient and all of the other technical details. Computers, for the most part, actually build these cars today. But as the commercial indicates (and as we know) the computers can only go so far. The computers will design a car or a trip. The computers will perhaps build a car or a trip. And there are many people who will be satisfied with that. And as a travel professional, you should respect that.
There is still a market for used Yugos just as there is a market for new Hyundais. Allow the market to cater to the people who want to drive these cars and let the Infinitis take care of what they know and do the best. Trust me, Infiniti is not losing sleep over Hyundai sales.
In travel, there is a strong market for the Yugo customer—it is called Priceline. Let Priceline (and the others) handle that. Remember, you are the master planner, you fulfill what computers cannot.
And in case I did not explain it well enough–remember the original inspiration was in a bar–watch this.