Can you think of a more important quality than a great attitude? Not just a shallow “positive thinking” veneer but a really great perspective on your work, your clients and on life? There is always the temptation to let our disposition nose-dive a bit when everything is not going exactly as we would have it in an ideal world. Let’s face it – travel consulting can be a stressful occupation. There is tremendous pressure to get things right the first time, and mistakes often have the most unfortunate consequences that seem totally out of proportion to the scale of the mishap. Travel consultants often feel trapped in a purgatory between clients who don’t understand what they do and suppliers that fail to appreciate the role of the travel agent.
This week, let’s look at a few shifts in perspective that might help make things a bit easier. The stakes are pretty high. When we are happy, clients know it. Likewise, if we carry an ill-temperment into our meetings, if the world is too much with us, that shows as well. Our clients are excited about their travel plans. That should be the source of tremendous energy for the travel planner. It’s possible to discover ways of enhancing and increasing their enthusiasm with some of our own. Most of the suggestions are just small psycholgical adjustments, more a shading of point of view than a complete philosophical revolution.
Let’s start with passion.
This 365 Marketing and Sales Tip is provided free to the travel agent community by:
Here’s the good news. Your clients want to travel. They have their list of things they want to do and places they want to see before they die. However, you have some real competition: inertia. Your clients, as badly as they want to travel, can also think of many reasons to stay home. You mission is to inspire, to remind them of the importance of travel, to get them moving again. Travel is inherent in our essence – to live is to move. We have been explorers, adventurers and pilgrims. As a travel counselor, your entire reason for being is to facilitate the fulfillment of your clients’ travel ambitions.
In every marketing effort, you must communicate your passion – your belief in your product. For travel agents, love of travel is seldom the problem. We believe in travel. Communication, however, is a different matter. How often do you reach out to your clients not to sell them anything, but simply to communicate your love of travel?
I love Africa. I first went there in my forties and nothing ever looked the same again. I climbed Kilimanjaro with my teenage son, we went on a safari together. I was charged, and nearly caught, by a bull elephant that I accidently surprised on a path. I roamed the streets of Stonetown in Zanzibar and woke one morning to the simultaneous sounds of the chimes from a Hindu temple, the bells from the Catholic school and the call to prayer from a mosque. I heard a blind teacher in Bagamoyo in profound gratitude and with pride recite the number of desks, blackboards and classrooms in her small village school building. I saw there the remnants of the slave trade and learned that in Swahili “Bagamoyo” meant “Lay your heart down” because from that bleak geographical point on, hope was lost to a person captured for slavery.
For the life of me I cannot remember what my trip to Africa cost, but I would gladly pay it all over again just for the privilege of retaining the memories.
That is what travel is all about.
Now, take it one step further. It’s not enough to be passionate about travel. As a travel professional, you want to be passionate about helping others to travel. You are not in the “travel business”; you are in the helping people travel business. That little bit of psychological shift, a move to a more client-centric perspective, can provide you with all the inspiration you need to be insanely great at what you do.
Learn to communicate your favorite travel stories to your clients. When you do, you will open up your passions to them, and passion ignites passion.