The golden rule of the any high school exam. Check your work before turning in your test. | Travel Research Online


The golden rule of the any high school exam. Check your work before turning in your test.

Contrary to popular opinion, I suggest that you do sweat the small stuff. Well, at least the small stuff that you can control. Weather? Don’t sweat it! Flight delays? No worries. That horrible typo in your latest email? Start sweating!

Look, we only get one shot to make a good first impression. You never know where your next client may be coming from, so you need to keep on your toes.

What does it say to to your prospect when the first email they receive from you talks about some great trips to Cartagena, Columbia? To me, it says “unsubscribe.”

Every day, we all deal with way too many details. Payment dates, complex itineraries, airline routings, credit card numbers, confirmation numbers, GDS codes, and more fill our days, and being accurate is critical if you want an ongoing business. Remember, there is a Paris in Texas, Virginia, and France. Make sure you get it right!

And finding clients is not that easy. Sure the pond is larger with the Internet, but the sheer number of competitors is astounding with each one having their own strengths. Today’s consumer is most likely to go to the Internet and an online agency or the supplier directly unless we can provide a valid reason not to!

People have so many choices when planning travel. Let’s face it, finding solid and loyal clients is not as easy as it was in the 80’s and 90’s. People will go to the Internet and they will go to the supplier directly unless we can give them a solid reason to use a travel professional. And the details matter in those valuable first few seconds.

Save $100 when you book by April 31st!

I subscribe to several dozen travel agency newsletters. I like to keep an eye on the competition for sure—they may have a good idea I could replicate. I like to see if they are seeing the same trends I may be seeing. But mostly, I look to see the impression they are making on our prospects. And I do say “our” prospects because clients do not have the loyalty they once did. Earlier this month, I saw the headline above. Do you think that instills confidence in a prospect? If you can’t pay attention to the number of days in the month, how are you going to pay attention to the details of my complex trip? And by the way—30 days hath September, April June and November. All the rest have 31 except February…but I forget the rest of the poem!

But pay attention to the things that are easy to screw up:

  • Their/They’re/There
  • Except/Accept
  • Effect/Affect

And my personal peeve… “ect.”

Granted, many (maybe most) of your prospects may not take notice; but what if the one that does happens to be your golden client? Are you willing to risk it?

Here’s a brief tip on spelling and auto-correct. Check your dictionary on your computer. In the dictionary, you can add words that are not true misspellings. ASTA is likely going to come up with the red squiggle line for a misspelled word. You can usually right click and save to dictionary and it recognizes it. But if you are quick (as I have been), you likely are saving misspelled words in your dictionary. I have a tendency to transpose the “ld” in words like would, should and could. And invariably the misspelled words make it to my dictionary allowing me to continue to misspell it. Just have a look!

I can’t emphasize it enough — you only get one chance for a first impression—don’t blow it.

Before I wrap up, let’s talk about more casual forms of communication. Text, chat, Facebook and Twitter. While mistake-free writing in all correspondence is desirable, mistakes (or more often than not shortcuts) in a more casual communication might be overlooked. But as a rule of thumb strive for that ideal frist (see, what happened) impression!

Agree? Disagree? Do the little things matter? Leave a comment!




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