I had a wakeup call this week. Unfortunately it was not from the front desk of the Four Seasons Resort in Bora Bora. No, this was a business wakeup call. While I tend to kick myself for needing them, I do appreciate them for they keep me on my travel toes.
Last week, I was reading an article in a trade journal about how many agencies were unaware that cruise lines paid commissions on group shore excursions. I was aware of that, but to the chagrin of the cruise lines, I find that the third party excursions from ShoreTrips tend to be better managed, more thorough, and less expensive. But I was surprised that this concept was such a hidden secret to the agency community.
The next day, I received another trade journal in the mail and a headline accosted me, “Club Med 2 cruise ship docks in Miami to boost U.S. profile.” Huh? OK, I admit that I do not sell that much Club Med at all; but this news that they have a ship (a twin to the Wind Surf) was news to me. Wake up! And it is not like the ship is based in Europe. It sails the Caribbean in the winter and quite honestly could be a good option for cruisers or all inclusive clients. If it is more inclusive than the typical cruise today, it is likely an outstanding option! After all, Club Med is truly all-inclusive; is their ship?
Today, business moves at such a breakneck speed that it makes it difficult to keep up with the changes. If anyone has been following the recent changes to Facebook, you know what I mean. But as businesspeople, it is critical that we do keep up for the benefit of our clients. And conversely, the suppliers also need to make sure they are keeping their partners up to speed on the changes in their business. Just looking at these two examples in the last week, I wonder how much agency and supplier business was lost for lack of knowledge?
Simply reading trade journals and participating in forums may not be enough. Travel professionals need to be proactive and not wait for the news to come to them (as I did) and reach out and ask for it. My mid-year resolution is to casually reach out to my preferred suppliers monthly, and my non-preferred suppliers quarterly with a simple “what’s new?” What about you? Have you stumbled upon something hidden? How do you keep abreast of the changes? Please leave a comment!