The year has barely started and I’m almost totally booked for the year. From my perspective as a speaker – business is good. What’s even better is that my inbox is overflowing with email from travel agents bragging about increasing fee revenue, sales growth, decreasing dependence on commission and profit margins not seen in years.
So what’s the problem? I’ve never seen quite so many people simply giving up. I’ve learned to spot them before they even tell me they plan to throw in the towel. I can hear it in their voice; and their attitude is a dead give-away.
Case in point: I was recently speaking to a group of agents about professional fees. It was like I was addressing the US Congress. On one side of the room were those already making fees work. They were seeking new tips and ideas. On the other side sat the fans of “fees won’t work” or as I like to say-FWW.
They almost didn’t need me in the room at all! For every “fees won’t work in my market” there was someone already doing it in exactly the same type of market. The FWWs tried really hard to prove their points, but at every turn there was someone that made it work in a nearly identical situation. After a while, I wondered why the FWW clan even showed up. Then, I got my answers.
One FWW said, “I have no intention of charging fees. I plan to sell my agency and I just wanted some ideas to pass on to whoever buys it.” Another said they were just curious about fees, but planned to retire soon. Another FWW said this was more of a “fun hobby” than a career. The last one really got me, “My business has never made much of a profit and I’m used to it. Why rock the boat?”
I am always concerned when someone says they plan to leave the business. Change is hard for some people. Unfortunately, the longer they cling to ways that no longer work, the harder they make it for those trying to move forward. I’m now a bit more inclined to say, “perhaps you’re right, it could be time to let it go.”
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 (futureprooftravel.com) 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.