This recent story saddened me. It could easily be equated to a number of similar situations in the travel industry. In this case, it involved a wedding planner and a bubbly, well-intentioned bride to be. A wedding is an important event. A vacation is also an important event. I am confident you can make the connection.
Due to the rush to the alter following a year of postponements, thanks to the Covid pandemic, this particular couple finally found a venue that would serve their purpose to a “t.” Unfortunately, the space available was a full year away… not until July of 2023.
The bride ran a profitable business and recognized the benefit of employing a Wedding Planner to manage the myriad of details. The bride-to-be and planner came to terms, and a significant deposit changed hands. Remember, the wedding would not take place for another full year.
I do not know the specifics, but I do know that the s^&* soon hit the fan and before you could say Mini Minoso, there were threats of a lawsuit being bandied about. How can such a happy upcoming occasion with two presumably intelligent people working toward a common goal turn a budding relationship into total chaos? And more specifically, what does this sad tale have to do with you?
Not being privy to the recent heated conversations, with over 40 years of business experience under my belt, I think I can pinpoint exactly what went wrong. (Keep in mind, there are always two sides to every story.)
Side 1: The bride’s side. This is the most important event in this woman’s life. Although it is 12 months away, she is undoubtedly counting the minutes until her BIG Day. No matter how many times people remind her that there is plenty of time, she will remain keenly focused on her wedding day and is depending on her hired planner to feel the same way.
Side 2: The wedding planner has a full slate of business with many details needing to be addressed sooner rather than later. After all, the wedding in this story is still a full year away and she has more pressing responsibilities to address ASAP. As they say, “first things first.”
Side 1: First things first…. my %^^. All I care about is “My” day in the sun. And the clock is ticking.
Both sides may be correct in their thinking. But with a little more communication and understanding of how things work, the meeting planner could have “had her cake and ate it too.” She, however, let a deathly silence enter the relationship which is never a good idea.
When this lack of communication eventually surfaced, emotions ran high and took over. BAM … bring on the lawsuits.
You can write your own ending to this story, but I hope not before you place yourself in a position similar to the meeting planner.
In many instances, the vacation and itinerary you are currently responsible for may not be for many months, if not years down the road. In all probability, you have current clients who are needing your immediate response. But those clients who are scheduled far into the future are still beginning to dream about their adventures, and expect you to feel the same way.
The key is to maintain frequent communication with ALL of your clients … regularly. Brief is better, but silence will prove to be deadly.
Bottom Line: People are people, married or not. Their agenda is “their agenda.” It is your professional responsibility to ‘respect and honor’ their agenda in a fashion that is acceptable
by them—on their terms. My way or the highway has become an outdated business model.
You do not have to do business with every opportunity that presents itself. But once you choose to play a role in your client’s future, it is in your best interest to play hard.
Client relationships do not have to end in a lawsuit. The ball is in your court. You are the professional. Act like one. Play like one.
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 (Miked Up Marchev). Also listed on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google, and iHeartRadio.