What Kobe Bryant taught me about travel | TravelResearchOnline


What Kobe Bryant taught me about travel

Did you watch the basketball game on April 13th to close out the Kobe Bryant era? I didn’t but I certainly heard about it, and later watched a few highlights. Occasionally in my life as travel agent, I feel as if some people will watch my whole game, and some will just watch the highlights. But if I think of myself as Kobe, I force myself to come out 100% for every game and capture the attention of my audience.

Let’s break this whole travel agent life into bite size pieces, because to do otherwise is like playing the whole basketball season at once instead of game by game or each win or loss.

Have you ever really seen the reaction of Kobe when he makes a mistake? He misses a free throw or layup, fails to grab that rebound, or when he throws that errant pass? It’s very disconcerting and he displays some anger. But, if you notice, he comes back on the next play, determined not to make that same pass or failed lay-up. You better watch out… he’s going to make you pay.

I feel the same way. I want my work to be one of perfection. But perfection isn’t reality, is it? We are all humans and to err is human. A few weeks ago, I delivered a quote and made a huge mistake. I quoted the wrong resort – there were two resorts with the similar names except for one word that made the difference. I didn’t notice. By the time I did, there were 3 rooms involved and a $1,100.00 mistake. YIKES!

As an agent, we will misquote packages. We will make many mistakes. How do we deal with errors?

When I made the error, I had to make a decision. Who was going to be responsible for the $1,100.00 difference in the quote? I made the error so it seemed logical for me to be the one to honor the quote I delivered to the client. As I shared the error with a couple colleagues, their consensus was to “just say that you misquoted and give the correct quote. You shouldn’t have to pay for that, it was an honest mistake.”

With that being said let me ask you a question: What if you called Home Depot to come out and install your floors and they quoted you $5,000.00. You get ready to make your first deposit and they go, “Huh-oh, we made a mistake, the actual cost is $6,000.00. The tiles we quoted look like the ones you chose but it’s different.” What would your reaction be?

What is our number one mission when we serve our travel clients? If we are committed to service and excellence, the burden is on us to provide just that. Which means our mistakes cannot be passed on to the client. As much as it was a hard pill to swallow, the outcome was much easier to live with.

Mistakes will be made, but our remedial action is much more significant. People can live with the fact that we made a mistake. What they may not be able to live with is our attitude to how we respond to the mistake we make. When we make a mistake, we should:

  • Take responsibility for the mistake without trying to shift the blame elsewhere
  • Have a remedial plan in place to address the mistake
  • Apologize and share the remedial plan with the client
  • Implement safeguards to minimize the occurrence of that or similar mistakes

Let’s remember that we are not infallible and we should always be looking for the opportunity to change and improve when we do commit an infraction. There is a lesson in everything that occurs. It’s up to us to take the value out of each situation. Thanks Kobe!

Judith White is the owner at White Sand Travel in Stone Mountain, Georgia. The full service agency specializes in destination weddings, honeymoon and romance travel planning for busy couples that want an incredible vacation experience without the stress of planning it. You can find Judith online at whitesandtravel.net


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