The Edge Of Excellence: Old jeans and bad habits | TravelResearchOnline


The Edge Of Excellence: Old jeans and bad habits

My good friend Mike Marchev and I produce a weekly webcast called “The Mike and Nolan Show.”   Pop onto and you’ll see us laughing it up and discussing various travel topics of interest.  Recently the subject of bad habits came up and it really struck a nerve with me.

There are a lot of things that we used to do that still serve us very well.  There are other things we continue to do even when we know we should change.  Why is that?

Sometimes we keep on the old well-trodden path just because so many others are still on it too.  Sometimes we repeat old patterns because we haven’t learned any better ones.  Sometimes we continue to do it even after we’ve learned a better way.  Habits are, well,  habit forming!

I see countless people doing amazing things while others say it can’t be done.  Charging professional fees – my pet subject – is just one example of this phenomenon.  In the same market, sometimes in the same neighborhood, I’ll find one agency raking in high fees and wowing their customers with service while another nearby thinks it’s impossible.

I can understand the difficulty.  In order to successfully charge for your own service, you have to really work at having something worth paying for.  That’s not easy for some.  Change is seldom easy until you see it as a matter of survival.

A bad habit I see over and over again during our “secret shopper” calls is lowest-price-assumption.  We instruct our callers to avoid asking for the lowest price.  In fact, we tell them to “go as high as the agent will take you.”  That means flying first class, taking the largest suite on a cruise ship and more.  To date, no agent has offered.

Without asking for the lowest price we hear:

  • “You’ll get the best rates if you buy a package.”
  • “Let me see what kind of deal I can find you.“
  • “You can save the most by booking now.”

There is nothing inherently wrong with any of these!  However, if you start off on the price path, don’t be surprised when your clients follow along with you.  Why not choose a new habit that can serve you and your client better?

  • “I’m sure I can find you a great deal, but it’s no bargain if you hate the trip.”
  • “I might be able to match that price, but it would a shame if it’s the wrong trip for you.”
  • “Buying a vacation without advice is little more than a roll of the dice.”

Old habits are like a worn out pair of jeans.  They can feel comfy and familiar even though we know should have thrown them out long ago.

Do you have any old habits that need to go? Leave a comment!

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 ( 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.

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