Everyone has their up and down days; both personally and professionally. There are days when you want to throw in the towel, and others that make it all worthwhile. If you need proof of that, just read some of the entries in our Travel Agent Diaries series. Last week an acquaintance (not a client) in town asked me why I continued to operate in a dying industry. After I schooled him on the fact that we are indeed not dying, I gave it some thought and came up with six reasons why I keep doing what I do!
- This is a happy business. When I go to work, I know that in some way I am making someone’s life better. Maybe I am helping plan a dream vacation. Maybe it is answering a question about travel documents. Maybe I am resolving a problem for them. These are all happy things. I am not telling them that their transmission needs to be replaced. I am not telling them that the spot on their skin in cancer. Generally, this is an “up” industry and our interactions with clients and prospects are happy moments!
- We help each other out. While I have not been involved in that many industries, I can say that as a whole, we are very helpful towards each other. I cannot begin to tell you the number of times I have relied on my colleagues (either at the next desk or across the country) for advice and recommendations. And for the most part, it was good advice given freely, with a smile, and without any expectation of anything more. What we may lack in salary, I believe we pay forward in karma!
- So many tools. You never need to look far to find tools to do your job more effectively. Right here at TRO, we have the TRO Community, Where 2 Travel Next, marketing materials, webinars, and so much more right at your fingertips—for FREE! Then you add in the various Facebook or LinkedIn groups, and you are not far from any information you might need. And I have not even tapped into the supplier and association provided tools that run the gamut from basic to incredibly complex.
- The incentives are decent. OK, so the pay might not be huge. But the perks (although less than in the past) are certainly nice and plentiful. What other industry allows you the opportunity to see the world at a discount (or free if you produce enough)? And over the years, I have found that the suppliers who truly support the agent channel go out of their way to incentivize the agencies and agents who produce. Take advantage of it!
- Learning new stuff is easy. I have always believed that one cannot be a citizen of the world without having explored it. As an industry, we have that opportunity before us every single day. Certainly all of us are unable to explore all corners of the world in person, but we have an opportunity to explore parts of the world that are simply not available to others. And for those hard to get to spots, we can always rely on our colleagues to travel vicariously through first-hand destination reports.
- Preferred vendors are the best. OK, there are some that stink (not naming names); but for the most part, the major travel vendors understand the dynamic of the industry and that while we need them to remain viable, they too need us to remain viable. It is a delicate balance. Sure they take direct bookings, but we can all understand why. Sure they have cut commissions, but in this economy, we can all understand why. Overall, the vendors realize how valuable we are to putting food on their table. In fact, Carnival’s Chairman, Mickey Arison has been pressured to eliminate agency commissions to better their bottom line repeatedly. And repeatedly, he says “No way!”
I could go on. Compared to some in the industry, I am still a newbie with 20 years (jeez, has it been THAT long?) and I am so thankful for all of the opportunities it has presented to me and my family. I know you love it—or hopefully you would have bailed out by now. What really gets you excited about the business? Please leave a comment!