The policy of fun | TravelResearchOnline

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The policy of fun

I love Disneyland! Every single time I have bought my ticket, I’ve been greeted with an enthusiastic smile and well wishes for having a fun day. Somehow, it always felt sincere.

Disney is in the business of selling fun. A cranky, disinterested or distracted ticket agent could sour the entire experience. Such a thing would be very rare in the Magic Kingdom. They “get it.”  Fun is not just a good idea; it’s official policy. They know that the fun begins long before you walk through the gates.

Guess when a cruise, tour or any other vacation begins?  Sometimes, it begins with the first phone call or email to a travel agent. In fact, by that point the average vacation seeker has already surfed dozens of websites, watched countless videos, talked to loads of friends and started dreaming about the fun that lies ahead! Will that phone call be part of the fun, or derail it?

If you sell leisure travel, you are in the same business as Disney, Nintendo and Mattel. You sell fun every single day. So do Expedia, Travelocity, and all the others who have made fun their official policy. They deliver it through engaging videos, pictures and facilitating social interaction between travelers. While I question the value of it, the fun factor is undeniable.

In my opinion, NOTHING can beat the priceless advice and support of a professional travel consultant. But, if it’s not fun, then it’s just an efficient transaction—nothing more. Efficiency is important, but it’s not the stuff of dreams. When it comes to travel, they dream about FUN!

It’s hard to sell fun, if you’re not having fun. Just like the ticket agents at Disney, it isn’t always easy, but it is always important. It’s also the policy. Is it yours?

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.

  6 thoughts on “The policy of fun

  1. Suzanne says:

    The biggest problems in our industry today are the airlines. I have been in travel for years and have escorted groups for more years than I like to admit.

    It used to be fun! You could count on the airlines to uphold their part of the bargain and flying was fun, NOT stressful as it is today.

    I was with a group of clients this weekend. These are people who have travel on my groups for years. NOT one of them asked me what I have for the future because it is NOT FUN.

    They LOVE my trips, once they get to where we are going. HOWEVER, getting there is stressful and unknown because airlines change or cancel their flights without any help to the clients or travel agent.

    As a matter of fact, for whatever reason, the travel agent is the airlines enemy. At least this is how they act toward us.

    FUN, yes I have a lot of FUN ideas and FUN and excitement is why people travel with me. I can tell you the airlines and their attitudes toward the travelers are making our job as the FUN AGENTS harder each day.

    I was told this weekend by ALL, we love to travel but the stress given by the airlines and the hassles at the airports are NOT worth it.

    Let’s ask the airlines to put the FUN back into travel instead of STRESS and the unknown!

  2. Arlene says:

    Suzanne,
    I could not agree with you more, and not only is it not fun at the airport, it seems that if you have issues before travel, they are not inclined to help you then either, they just send you big debit memos. We are free sales people, what company can boast that? Can’t they bend the rules now and then, we are only working in the best interest of our mutual customer.
    I guess we could go on and on. I just felt I had to say I completely agree. If you have been around awhile, by chance, do you remember Continentals “pub in the sky” on the DC10’s. Now I am really showing my age.

  3. Nolan Burris says:

    Thanks Suzanne. You’ve made a great point. Thankfully, a couple of the airlines get it. Virgin Atlantic still understands that they are in the fun business. To me, it’s no surprise they continue to be profitable and highly regarded by their passenger/fans.

    One barrier to making flying fun again is the TSA. We understand they have to do certain things to keep us all safe, but treating everyone as a terrorist might not be the best approach.

    I truly appreciate your comment. It helps highlight how important it is for travel agents to be one of the fun parts of the overall travel experience.

    Travellers have to deal with plenty of unpleasant things in travel that we cannot control. Luckily we are always in total control of how we present ourselves to our clients.

  4. Subrina Wood says:

    Please don’t single out TSA. They have a horrible job to do and most travelers realize that and try to oblige. Let’s put it right back where it belongs, with the airlines. Come on, why charge the people who check their bags when you should charge the people who lug their bags on which holds up the entire flight. And everyone would be so anxious about their bags if the airlines weren’t so slow with them , if you are lucky even to get your bag back at all. Charges for everything, earphones, a liquor barely any regular food available. Seats so close together you couldn’t eat anything if you tried. The attendents try hard, but everyone is frazzled by the time the plane lands. Overbooked flights, short connection times and my pet peeve, selling credit cards on board! TSA is definietly not the main problem.

  5. Hmmm. We are having so much since we stopped selling domestic air. Clients think they can get better airfares so they can play airline agent on their own while we handle the coach tour, cruise, train, bicycle tour, trekking, barging, river cruising, family travel, Safaris – I should have stopped but it is so much fun to handled those arrangements and not worry about TSA, schedule changes, mysteriously disappearing assigned seats, delays etc. etc.
    Just remember what stressed spells in reverse.
    We always tell clients to have fun and to eat dessert first every now and then!!

  6. Nolan Burris says:

    Lots of great points! But just remember – all those things make it even MORE important for the travel agent to be a source of fun and enthusiasm. We can’t control any of those other things. We can control how WE treat OUR clients.

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