I suspect that most of you are glad 2010 is almost over, as there is no question that it was another year full of challenges for both travel suppliers and travel agents alike. However, as we prepare for Thanksgiving, it is a good time for all of us to reflect on some of the things for which we are thankful. And if we are honest with ourselves, we know things could have been worse. Hopefully, most of you have had mostly good health this year and have had time to enjoy your family and friends.
To better make my point, most of you should be thankful you didn’t have any passengers that were stranded on the Carnival Splendor last week. I’m sure there are a few of you that had some first time cruise passengers on the Splendor and now you are facing a little challenge convincing these folks that they should try a cruise again.
Over the eight years that I hosted a weekly radio program on cruising, I would say “Ship Happens” as a way to explain away why a caller had missed a favorite port or in some cases sailed the Eastern Caribbean, instead of the Western Caribbean, to avoid a pending hurricane. As we all know, cruise lines bend over backwards to try to make things up to passengers. But, every so often, as in this case things just happen that are out of the control of the cruise lines.
What makes the Splendor case a little more unusual is that Carnival is now saying that it will take longer than usual to make the needed repairs; thus they have canceled the next eight cruises, from November 21st to January 9th. Do the math—that has about 25,000 passengers who have had their vacation plans interrupted. Even worse, around 7,000 passengers were looking forward to their Christmas or New Year’s cruises.
I know. I had 29 folks on the Splendor Christmas cruise and I can assure you that finding reasonably priced replacement space this close in, is impossible. So after looking at other cruises and resort stays, I told them to just be thankful their cruise didn’t have this type of disaster. While it didn’t make things better, they did agree they are thankful it didn’t happen to them. As I said, things could always be worse and it is our job as travel professionals to try and find the positive side of these negative events.
My Thanksgiving Wish For You!
I hope that all of you will enjoy your Thanksgiving; and if nothing else, you will be thankful for all the clients that entrusted you with their travel plans this year. I know that if you work hard at keeping these clients happy, they can become “lifetime clients” and become the foundation for an even more prosperous 2011. In fact, it isn’t too late to send them a Thanksgiving card or email just thanking them for their past business with you. No sales pitch, just a heart filled THANK YOU. Stand out from the crowd and send them a Thanksgiving card. They will appreciate it.
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 LarryNormanCTC@gmail.com