Choose Role Models Carefully | TravelResearchOnline


Choose Role Models Carefully

One of the more useful lessons, I learned early on, is to seek out and emulate role models. When the Virtuoso owners who took this naïve young man under their wing to share the “business” of the travel industry, and when recruited into industry roles, I modeled those I considered to be good managers with a high level of trust and integrity.

Ray Dalio is someone worth emulating. A self-made billionaire, his life and work are governed by hundreds of “Principles” documented in the New York Times bestseller by the same name. Here are three that stood out to help find your own role models.


“If you can’t successfully do something, don’t think you can tell others how it should be done.”

Several years ago, I was contacted by a new travel agent coach. I questioned her motives until she finally admited to selling travel for less than six months and deciding she could earn more advising agents than being one. She wanted The Wealthy Travel Agent programs to give her business credibility and a de facto endorsement. Of course, I declined. Never assume business coaches or others offering advice have been successful in their own right. Do your due diligence and trust your gut.


“Be especially wary of those who comment from the stands without having played on the field…”

As a consortia and cruise line executive, I often found myself at odds with my peers, being the only person who worked as and understood the real needs of the frontline travel professional. Sales, marketing, and training programs are typically dictated by corporate professionals who have never had had skin in the game or sell their own product. Yet because of big titles like V.P. of Sales, Training, or Marketing, many advisers treat their every word like it is the gospel. Always question motivation and authority before jumping in with both feet.


“Remember that believable opinions are most likely to come from: 1) people who have successfully accomplished the thing in question at least three times; and, 2) who have great explanations of the cause-effect relationships that lead them to their conclusion.”

When interviewing a supplier, consortia, coach, mentor, or peer for opinion, advice, or partnership, do just that – interview. Ask probing questions and don’t stop with the first response. Follow it up with a ‘Why?’ question. Continue asking “why” until you are satisfied that they are believable and have a proven track record that can help advance your own agenda. You will thank me later.



Dan Chappelle is a sales performance coach, professional business advisor, and best-selling author. His training and consulting firm helps develop sales focused business leaders and entrepreneurs in the travel and tourism industry. His book, Get Your S.H.I.P. Together: The Wealthy Travel Agent Guide to Sales, is available on

For information on the Wealthy Travel Agent Academy’s business building programs, visit:

©2019 Dan Chappelle, CCI Inc.

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