Everyone has up days and down days. There are days when you want to throw in the towel and others that make it all worthwhile. If you need proof of that just read some of the entries in our Travel Agent Diary series. Earlier this week, someone asked me what excited me about this industry, and it was a terrific refresher course for me and it was a piece of cake to come up with these six reasons why I am still so jazzed about the travel industry.
- We are a happy business. Really, we are not car mechanics telling people that to keep their car running it will be $1000. We are not cancer doctors who are usually the bearer of bad news. We are a happy business and for the most part, our customers are happy. They want to talk with us. They want to spend their money with us. They want us to give them an experience they will cherish for a lifetime.
- We are a helpful industry. While I have not been involved in that many industries, I can say that as a whole, we are very helpful. I cannot begin to tell you the number of times I have relied on my colleagues (either at the next desk or across the country) for advice and recommendations. And for the most part, it was good advice given freely and with a smile. What we lack in salary, I believe we pay forward in karma!
- Resources and tools are plentiful. One does not need to look hard to find any resources you need to effectively do you job. Right off the top of my head I can think of forums like the TRO Community, the Travel Agent Success Series, and facebook. And I have not even tapped into the supplier and association provided tools that run the gamut from basic to incredibly complex.
- Incentives and perks are great. Well, I need to admit they are not as plentiful as they had been in the past, but what other industry allows you the opportunity to see the world at a discount (or free if you produce enough)? And I find that the suppliers who truly support the agent channel go out of their way to incentivize the agencies and agents who produce.
- The continuing education opportunities are fantastic. I have always believed that one cannot be a citizen of the world without having explored it. As an industry, we have that opportunity before us every single day. Certainly all of us are unable to explore all corners of the world in person, but we have an opportunity to explore parts of the world that are simply not available to others. And for those hard to get to spots, we can always rely on our colleagues to travel vicariously through first hand destination reports.
- The vendors rock. OK, there are some that don’t; but for the most part, the major travel vendors understand that for this travel thing to work, they need agents and agencies helping them. Sure they take direct bookings, but we can all understand why. Sure they have cut commissions, but in this economy, we can all understand why. Overall, the vendors realize how valuable we are to putting food on their table. On how many earnings calls have you heard Mickey Arison rebuked the “experts” who tell him to eliminate commissions. Mickey is a sharp cookie and knows that following the airline’s lead would be a folly!
I could go on. Compared to some in the industry, I am still a newbie and I am so thankful for all of the opportunities it has presented to me and my family. I know you love it—or hopefully you would have bailed out. What really gets you excited about the business? Please leave a comment!