I recently “warned” my readers in a recent Travel Research Online article that I would soon be casting much of my “political correctness” to the wind. It is time to address our reality head on, and do what is necessary to move on down the road while putting a little bounce back in our step.
If you are a bit thin-skinned, I politely request that you move along and wait for milder messages in the days to come.
In a recent browsing episode, I happened on a blog from 2008 with the following post. These ARE NOT my words. I quote:
“Personally, I think that a moderately intelligent ape could do the work of most travel agents. I’ve found them to be useless and I’d much rather do the planning myself anyway.”
Being compared to an ape was not the phrase that got my attention. It was the word “useless” that stopped me dead in my tracks.
And here comes the part where I am certain I am about to lose some of you. In the 30 plus years I have been involved in the travel industry, I have come across more than a few “useless” travel-related trip advisors. (This, in and of itself, does not make them bad people.) It does, however, indicate that they may be misdirected, unmotivated, uneducated and in some way, shape or form… a tad bit lazy.
The quote above (2008) was first posted when it was trending knowledge that the travel agent was going the way of the dinosaur. Today we know better, but with COVID-19 rocking our world there is more print beginning to question the usefulness of today’s travel advisor.
Lest I be confused with being the bearer of bad news, I want to call your attention to the fact that “the bar has been raised.” It is more important than ever for us to earn our stripes and show the traveling public what useful looks like, feels like, tastes like and sounds like.
I may be wrong in a few cases, but I truly believe that a moderately intelligent ape would fall short when doing the research, planning a difficult itinerary, becoming fully aware of the small print on all contracts, making flawless arrangements and tight connections – all the while standing by in readiness to deal with and handle the unexpected last minute emergency phone call.
I guess my question to you today is: Are you useless? Or do you wear the time-proven badge of self-confidence, which clearly shouts out to your prospects and clients, I’m not monkeying around. Hit me with your best shot.”
Mike Marchev is always looking for a few more proactive travel professionals to join his Sales and Marketing Club. Send for details.