In the interest of keeping this professional site, well…professional, I think we all are familiar with the term BS. When I was a kid, my father used to tell me, “Never try to BS a BSer.” And while maybe not the most politically correct advice, it is certainly solid. In the travel industry, it is particularly valid.
When I came into the industry in 1997, the Internet was still relatively new. The progressive agencies had email—but few clients with which to communicate with by that means. Few agencies had websites—but not many visitors. No agency had online looking capabilities. Wow, how times have changed. The world came to our desktops at work and into our homes. And then it came to our phones and in our hands. I am knowledgeable on many things, expert on a few; and with the sheer volume of information online, I also recognize that my clients may very well know more than me at times. And it is exactly because of this that I never hesitate to say, “I don’t know, but I will find out.”
The clients that call you have called you for one of two likely reasons
- They like the convenience of using an agent
- They have sought you out for your value
They are not necessarily looking for the cheapest price—they can probably find it somewhere else cheaper. They are not looking for the passion you have for travel—let’s be real, we all say that and it is a meaningless marketing tagline. They want your help to create a unique experience; and they want you to use your knowledge and connections to achieve that. But the caveat is that today’s client is more about the experience than the product and likely has done a significant amount of research (and dreaming) prior to sending that email, or picking up the phone.
I might even suggest that the client might be testing you to see if you are the right agent for their experience. You may be tempted to BS your way through a phone call, but it will backfire! Did you know that the Mandarin Oriental was just sold and rebranded as the Loews Regency San Francisco? Your client probably does—and if he is a Platinum YouFirst member, you better believe it matters. If you try to BS your way through that, you will lose your client. Alternately, if resist the temptation for instant answers and offer to get back to them—you can come off as a superstar. If a client poses a question, it is never a bad thing to admit you don’t know—as long as you follow it up with a promise to find out.
There is no room for BS in the travel industry. When you make a mistake, own it and make it right. When you do not know, say so and find out. We are living in a world brimming with information at our fingertips and in the travel realm, it is our job to curate, cultivate, and refine that information into actionable, valued information for our clients.