Why are we so afraid of each other? | TravelResearchOnline

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Why are we so afraid of each other?

After our monthly travel agent association meeting —I went out for cocktails with another agent.  As we were sitting at the bar chatting with the bartender we started talking travel. The  bartender said oh so and so down at the end of the bar is a travel agent. Not one to miss an opportunity to promote our group I asked why she had not been coming to our meetings. She stuttered around for a bit and said her agency focus had changed.  The next words out of her mouth took me aback.“You are my competition.”  Ouch! The agent I was with laughed and said, “Well, Mary and I are competitors too but that doesn’t stop us from associating with each other.”

I am always amazed at agents who feel threatened by fellow agents for whatever reason. Yes, we are all competitors.  But, if take care of my clients, give them great service and go the extra mile should I be worried? If I am pleasant to deal with, respond promptly to requests and communicate my value each and every day should I be afraid of the agent across town? Or, avoid joining an Association that promotes agents to the general public?  Likewise, if I am doing my job should I be afraid of the OTA’s?  If you are doing your job, communicating your value why is everyone so intimidated by competition?

Throughout my years of going to trade shows, attending meetings, seminars and fams, I find that the best part of these events is socializing with other agents. Not only do I pick up some great tips, ideas and resort information but I have made lifelong friends along the way.

I have said this before and I will say it again-there is plenty of business to go around for all of us. We shouldn’t be afraid to be friends or have cocktails with other agents. We shouldn’t be intimidated by the competition if we do our job, service our clients and show our value each and every day.

  16 thoughts on “Why are we so afraid of each other?

  1. maryb says:

    I agree. Particularly with the last two paragraphs. Well written and expresses my feeling also.

  2. Joanne Hunt says:

    I totally agree with you Mary. Thirty years in the industry has introduced me to some the best people possible. And since no one agent or agency can be expert in every destination it is nice to have peers who can gladly give insights and advice when needed and call on us when the situation is reversed. The real competition is the uneducated client who takes our time and research then books directly with the supplier for whatever reason, sometimes I think it’s just a power play. Yes, the internet facilitates this but years ago same thing happened they just used the phone instead.

  3. Mary – I agree with you 100%!! I don’t view TAs really as competition and wrote about it here: https://www.travelresearchonline.com/blog/index.php/2011/02/you-are-not-my-competition/

  4. Karen Dawson says:

    I learned long ago….our competition is the Lexus dealership, the upscale jewelry store, the kitchen makeover….anywhere that clients spend money other than travel. We can learn so much from our peers; best to stay in touch with them and share experiences.

  5. John Stone says:

    You’re right. Have any of you paid attention to this anti-Bora Bora vacation Infiniti commercial? Copy and paste this link to see your real competitor.

    e http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnigFLri1jU

  6. John Stone says:

    Or how about this “definitely not a cruise” anti-cruise TV commercial from Infiniti – (see link below)? Dear travel agents: luxury car dealers know who their competiors are: It is YOU, the travel agents! Please watch this oneL

  7. Molly Sumption says:

    And, if your biggest competitior is not other travel agents but the product(s) you sell?

  8. Marie Eatman says:

    Mary,
    Great article, I couldn’t agree more with you! I spent 15 years in the hotel group sales and formed some great relationships with other sales people; we shared ideas with each other, we referred when we were not the right fit or destination. We never felt threatened by each other I get that feeling all that time, don’t associate they are “competition” . Our competition is the mentality of “there are still travel agents out there”?

  9. Dan Smith says:

    My suggestion is joint a local chapter of NACTA. In this community you will find smart business people which support and encourage each other……….there is more than enough business to go around…………

  10. Elaine Carey says:

    This sounds like something I wrote! In my few 14yrs, I’ve found that I like engaging with fellow agencies. I learn more because it’s impossible to know & experience everything, so I ask, if I’ve not been somewhere. There is plenty of business out there for everyone.

  11. BarbM says:

    I think you have to know who you can trust. I know of a couple of agents who take notes when I speak and show up at other agents consumer events. Even put their card in for the prizes, and when they win KEEP it and not have the good grace to let a consumer win!
    I have competitors that are friends and I trust them. But some I am very concerned about so I prefer to be cautious.

  12. My best friends and acquaintences are Travel Consultants. I learn from all of them, and in fact, we have an ASTA Therapy night periodically to share trials and tribulations with each other. The vendors have their place in our lives. We need to embrace them so they will help enhance our business and clients. We all need to help each other or the teetor-totter will become unbalanced.

  13. Julia Morton says:

    WOW!
    Knowing that this occurs in other industries! I’m a nurse and nurses are notorious for “eating their young” and for not sharing ‘tricks of the trade’ with new hires or transfers. It is something I have always fought against, tried to change each place I’ve worked and worked with or challenged administration to change.
    I feel it is a form of bullying and intimidation. In my experience of working over 30 years in multiple organizations, I have unfortunately found this to be a subject most admin & human resource people deny occurs so that they do not have to ‘deal’ with it.
    Frequently the people that work the hardest to be unhelpful are the first ones to make a huge deal about any mistakes or errors and ALWAYS notify admin and HR about how poorly the new people are doing!
    Instead of sharing knowledge and helping people grow & succeed, there are just too many people who seem to be more focused on watching or ensuring people fail. I’ve frequently found many of the people who engage in this type of behavior feel insecure in their own level of skills, education & fear they have no job security. Others seem to have personality traits that make it difficult to work in a positive, cooperative team based setting. While some are just cranky, mean people who like to stir up trouble and ‘act ugly’.
    If we all just ‘tried to get along’, things would be SO much better for everyone… in all industries!

  14. john roleson says:

    Is there a list somewhere of the most reputable companies in the travel field as I really want to only work with genuine, nice, trustworthy people?

  15. We have talked about this very thing so much at several of our networking meetings here in Nashville, be it Travel Agents of Tennessee, NACTA, or OSSN—we are always amazed at the number of agents from other cities or states who say they could never network and socialize like we do here. Some of the other travel agents in town are some of my closest friends. And we learn so much from each other!

  16. John Frenaye says:

    John–are you a member of the TRO Community? If not, sign up (it’s free)! It’s a great forum to ask about specific suppliers and hear other agents’ takes on them. There are several threads about agent freindly suppliers, etc.

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