The past few weeks have certainly been hectic ones; and I am not here to complain. In fact, business has continued to grow despite my pessimism when I first started to write these diary entries. This is a business where every day, the different twists and turns provide an amazing challenge. I am not one for roller coasters in real life, but this business is, in a sense, a roller coaster ride and those that are willing to challenge themselves will succeed.
As a travel professional, I am one who facilitates the needs of my clients providing them with professional advice and viable options for their next adventure whether it is a self drive in Ireland or Scotland, a river cruise on the Danube or perhaps a wine and culinary tour in Tuscany. Each of these is a different trip, but they all have a common thread. They are all experiences which I have personally experienced and have arranged for clients many times over. I am able to take the time to qualify the client, a basic premise in this industry, either sitting down with them in person, over the phone or via email and get a sense of what they desire. I am able to create that special adventure that is individualized to them since the end result is a combination of their ideas and my accessibility to the resources. It is a balancing act and, sometimes, very much a roller coaster ride. This is typically how I handle my business and I believe most travel professionals do as well. Again, we can’t be everything to everyone and need to remember that, even in this economic turndown.
A few weeks ago, a colleague came to me and asked if I would help her in facilitating an adventure for one of her clients. Considering it was well within my comfort zone and niche, I was more than willing to help. I regularly offer my advice and opinion to colleagues. Mostly, I provide my thoughts and ideas and they go back to their clients and continue. It is an exchange of ideas. The reverse is also true when I am out of my league on a destination. I have no problem asking for help in an area in which I am not comfortable.
On occasion, a colleague’s client is simply referred to me and I have to start from scratch with that client from beginning to end. Of course, when I can, I also return the favor. But this time I was the “middle man”, not having direct contact with the client. All of the information provided to me was from my colleague and emails she had received from her client. I relied on her for this information and was provided timely updates, but what was missing was that direct communication with the client throughout the process. My colleague and I would talk and email, but I never had a chance to talk or communicate with the client directly which may have allowed me to better serve the client and my colleague. My colleague has been there for me in arranging many travel adventures, most recently to Africa for a client as she is the expert in this area. At the time of this article, the process continues as we put the final touches on this adventure for the client. I must say though that the process has been a roller coaster ride as there have been many switchbacks and hairpin turns along the way.
In the end, we all want satisfied clients that return to us again and again–clients who are comfortable in sending their friends, family and colleagues to us for their travel adventures. There is a professional trust built up between the agent and client and also between agents and agents. This month, I really learned to rely on that agent to agent trust and will continue to soar on this roller coaster ride!
Jamison Bachrach is better known as the Wandering Puffin for the way he likes to travel. Jamison has been in the travel industry for almost 14 years and has been home based for a little more than 2 years and specializes in independent European travel planning, specifically, central and eastern Europe, as well as Scandinavia.
Jamison has traveled to over 35 countries, including most of Europe. Wandering Puffin LLC. Is located in Plymouth, MN. Jamison can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 763-244-0669. www.wanderingpuffin.com.