How to avoid being labeled “unprofessional” | Travel Research Online


How to avoid being labeled “unprofessional”

We all know what a professional looks like; but what about an unprofessional? You know, someone who arrives late, dresses inappropriately, talks more than they listen, snaps their gum and are basically disagreeable.

Is there more? What about someone who goes on FAM trips and announces to anyone within 10 feet they are a travel agent and travel for free? What about someone who passes out their business cards on a FAM to vacationers and asks them to call them, wink, wink. And, how about the person who shoves shrimp in their purse at a supplier dinner or takes food home to feed their family for a week? That is not professional conduct.

Suppliers and some tourism boards are now creating a code of conduct specifically to address the problems above. While it may be a minority doing it—that type of behavior makes us all look bad. FAMS are not solicitation opportunities for your business or vacations. Likewise, supplier dinners are not an excuse to overindulge or take dinner home with you. These are learning venues. You are there to learn about product, destinations and pay attention. You are expected to show up, be polite, pay attention so you can sell better.

To avoid being unprofessional here are my suggestions—

  • Show up on time especially in the morning.
  • Dress appropriately. Tank tops, t-shirts, ripped jeans, daisy dukes are not appropriate. Business casual or country club casual is.
  • Do not sit on beds.
  • Take notes, take pictures, pay attention.
  • Be mindful of those around you taking pictures etc.
  • Be positive. Be engaging.
  • Don’t corner or monopolize the BDM, resort host or tourism board host. You are not the only person on this FAM.
  • Do not advertise, pass out business cards to anyone vacationing at site inspection or host resort or hotels.
  • Have a good time but don’t end up wearing a lampshade on your head or not remembering the evening.
  • And, if you are at a supplier dinner. Be polite, listen. Don’t sneak food in your purse.

Lastly, if you RSVP for an event—unless a catastrophic event in your life happens please show up or have the courtesy to call as far in advance to cancel. Suppliers have to pay for you even if you don’t show up.

Mary Stephan is the IC Team Sales Leader for Preferred Travel of Naples.  Mary can be reached by email at or online at








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