Although nearly two decades ago, I remember like it was yesterday hearing the following words at the home of two Russian immigrants in Chicago. The husband was now an emergency room surgeon, and his wife was a successful travel consultant. Their home was modest, yet beautifully furnished.
After hearing their saga of eventually fleeing to America, arriving in New York City not speaking the language, the good doctor added after passing the rolls at the dinner table, “If you can’t make it in America, you can’t make it. “Those eleven words have stuck with me ever since.
That was over 20 years ago, and I think of that sentence every time I present to a room full of travel professionals. With a little poetic license, I put a different spin on the same belief.
“If you can’t make it in the travel business, you can’t make it.”
Yes, You Can Make It
Now that I have your attention, I will substantiate that statement.
How can I say this with the competition being what it is, and all that has gone on in the past few years? I say the following in all due respect: Whether home-based or not, travel agents grow on trees—they are everywhere. The internet makes it easy to book trips on one’s own.
Suppliers are contacting travelers directly and doing end-runs. The big box stores are cutting prices. Nobody wants to pay fees and commissions are going the way of a New York Mets win.
And you are telling me, if I can’t make it in this business there is something wrong with me? Please explain!
First of all, try to forget all that mumbo-jumbo about big boxes, internets, suppliers, and charging for your labor. Focus on a few facts that will have you thinking straight in no time. By “straight” I mean productively.
Fact #1: You don’t have to buy anything. The single reason why most start-up companies eventually go out of business is overhead; over-extending themselves financially. You have zero inventory. You have no product or raw material investment. Your overhead is—or should be—extremely low. You have total control of this element of your business.
Fact #2: You have immediate access to all of the products, destinations and modes of locomotion that every single one of your competitors has. The “world” is absolutely and unequivocally at your fingertips.
Fact #3: Your marketplace has limitless boundaries. There are seven billion people in the world (and counting) from which to target. If you don’t think people are moving around these days, I want you to ask yourself a few questions:
- Why are smart people continuing to build huge ocean-going hotels and more river cruise ships?
- Why are airlines cramming more seats into less real estate?
- Why can’t you find a parking space in Newark Airport’s Long Term Parking Lot?
Fact #4: People today are fed up with the B.S. They are looking for somebody who knows what they are talking about and who they can trust. The “window of opportunity” is wide open.
Here is the rub…
My fellow entrepreneurs, your problem is not the internet, or the market, or the price of gas. Your problem is that you have not decided to “make it” yet. Your problem is that you are not comfortable with the rules of the game, and you are not skilled yet at your position.
You are not doing enough of what needs doing and, in all probability, you are starting to pretend that your business is supposed to be easier than it is. In some cases, you may not even know what you need to do to become successful in the travel business.
If you are interested in busting a few moves in your own personal “happy dance,” perhaps it is time to sing a few bars from Michael Jackson’s famous ditty The Man in the Mirror.
“If you want to make your business a better place, than look in the mirror and make a change.” (I took a little poetic license)
If two Russian immigrants came to America not knowing our language, and managed to serve a fine meal to a new friend in a beautifully appointed home in Chicago, than you can make a go of it in the most fun, rewarding and interesting industry our country has to offer.
Mike Marchev is always looking for a few more proactive travel professionals to join his Sales and Marketing Club. email@example.com.
*** You want more to think about? Check out my weekly podcast (Mike’d Up Marchev). Also listed on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google, and iHeartRadio.