Disney does it right! While agents may grumble about some of their policies, their commission levels, and the iron fist with which they protect their brand; I think we all need to agree that as a brand and a company, they do it right. I have always heard how every cast member’s move was so well orchestrated with the guest experience in the forefront. Today, I came across a list of 16 “rules” for Disney cast members. While some I had heard before, others were new to me; but made perfect sense.
I don’t want to discuss them all, but I do want to point out a few that offer some insight to which we all could benefit.
A cast member is never allowed to say “I don’t know.” If a guest asks a question that they don’t know the answer to, they have to pick up a telephone and call an operator.
This makes perfect sense to me and should be a policy we all try to emulate. Clients have come to us for a reason; by not providing answers, we reinforce that choosing us was a bad decision. No one expects you to know everything, but they do expect you to know where to go to know everything.
Women’s fingernails cannot exceed a quarter of an inch past the fingertip, and nail polish is not allowed. Meanwhile, men’s nails cannot go past their fingertip.
You need to dress professionally. Granted, we are not operating an amusement park, but we do need to put forth a professional appearance when we are on the clock. When I had a retail location, dress became an issue and defining an appropriate wardrobe was problematic. Take a look at what your agency represents and define (in writing if you have employees) the dress code. Do you specialize in Caribbean vacations? Shorts, flower print shirts and flip flops may be appropriate. If you are corporate, busiess casual (or business formal) is probably the way to go.
If you ask a cast member for directions, look at how they point. It’s usually a gesture with the whole hand, or with two fingers. They never point with one finger, because in some cultures it’s considered offensive.
I love this one. The gesture is so subtle that many would never notice it. But an open palm is a sign of welcoming. A closed fist (as would be needed to point) is a sign of aggression. The way you move your body, your voice, and your gestures all matter. Smile when you talk—it shows. Avoid talking with your arms crossed in front of you. Stand to greet a client when they come into your office. The actions are subtle and the client may not notice it outwardly, but it will be one of those “something I can’t quite put my finger on” types of behavior that keeps clients coming back.
If you work at Disney, you cannot talk about what you do on any social media platforms.
And this one will likely cause some dissension here. I am a firm believer is separating business from personal. Of course there is likely to be some overlap, but I still believe it is critical to keep the two separate. Most of your Facebook friends are not going to buy travel from you. It stands to reason that they do not want to hear about your travel life in detail on Facebook. Most of your “likes” on your Facebook page may have an interest in buying from you, that’s why they “liked” you and expect (to a degree) to hear all about your travel life. For those friends that do fall into both categories, just make sure they understand that you do separate the two. Of course, that is not to say you should not list your occupation on your personal page or occasionally remind your friends that you sell travel—just don’t inundate.
I am sure there are plenty of other rules that Disney has which could be adapted to the retail travel agency. We are in a shared larger industry, but can learn from each other. A solid brand is critical to the success of both Disney as well as every type of travel agent. Why wouldn’t you do what you can to protect it?