This weekend, my daughter was home from college on Spring Break and we had a wonderful time together catching up and laughing. We were recounting the highs and the lows of high school and one incident stood out. It was an argument; a particularly nasty one between us, where I chose to stick to my guns while she dug in her heels. Now 4 years later, she admitted she was wrong (dad victory) and we laughed at how petty her position truly was. It got me to thinking about the travel industry and how often we focus on worrying about one issue or the other, or complaining about this or that. Just like the argument with my daughter, it really needs to stop.
As we all know, we live in an industry where others largely control our living. Unless we are working off a true net model and charging significant consulting fees (and there are a few that do this successfully), our income is tied to the scepter of commissions, overrides, and service fees.
When a supplier makes an unfavorable change, the easy solution is to whine about it, complain to your colleagues, and vent on the TRO Community or Facebook. At the end of the day, all you have accomplished is whining about it, complaining to your colleagues, and venting on the Internet. When changes like this come down, there really is very little you can do to reverse the situation. Most suppliers tend to be larger companies that are better funded with seemingly unlimited resources to guide their business. When a commission or policy is changed, you can be sure that it is for the good of the supplier.
Way back when commissions were eliminated from airline tickets (can you believe it has been nearly 20 years already?) I was a franchisee of Carlson Wagonlit Travel. The first thing they provided us was a spreadsheet to project the “what if” situations. This spreadsheet allowed me to put in my sales, projections, and history and see how much of an impact the lack of commissions would be. The next step was not to whine about it… but to see how to actually do something about it. I crunched the numbers and determined that in order to make up for the lost revenue, we needed to charge a $25 fee per airline ticket offered. It worked. Of course after our fees were implemented, we were able to whine, complain, and vent!
Inaction is no action
And to be clear, this does not only apply to circumstances beyond your control. Take risks. Make sure they are calculated; but take them. If you are looking to grow your business, then grow it. Maybe you need to take the plunge on an acquisition. Maybe you are considering a new niche in exercise travel. Perhaps it could be something simpler like starting a weekly email newsletter or presenting your agency at a consumer travel show. Are you running ragged and unable to have any “you time”? Maybe you need to hire someone or a virtual assistant.
Inaction equals no action. You will never solve a problem by doing nothing. You will never grow your business by doing nothing.
So, what are you going to do?