Target the Heart for Profit in Travel
Lessons from His Excellency, Ambassador Evan Paki, have value for all in the travel industry
Last week we ran and industry night with a difference. Nearly every industry night we run is different in that we focus on good food, good drink and entertainment as it’s imperative for us to let agents know we appreciate them in their time.
But on this evening, roomsXML had nothing to sell; it was a fundraising, information and movie night held in conjunction with Tribal Ventures from Papa New Guinea to help promote “Senisim Pasin”, a campaign to help reduce gender-based violence in PNG. We also raised $1,800 for the cause. We aim to share knowledge, to connect people with Tribal Ventures, a not-for-profit travel company with some amazing product offerings and links on the ground in PNG.
We were exceptionally lucky to have with us his Excellency, Evan Paki, ambassador to PNG for the US, Canada and Mexico. Incidentally he is a Harvard graduate and the youngest ever Ambassador in the US. I paraphrase a powerful statement he made after the first presentation;
“Sometimes the tourist boards think it’s just about putting together glossy brochures with pretty photographs. What really makes people want to go is when they hear stories from their friends, when they feel the excitement and want that for themselves.”
Heartfelt stories of adventure and excitement.
It’s the perfect customer for a travel agent, one who becomes the advocate and can relate those amazing stories about their experiences, sharing their passion, painting a picture with emotion. With any luck when asked “who put this together for you” they mention the agent, an expert who doesn’t just build a holiday but carefully crafts a catalogue of memories.
An agent takes their experience and applies it with heart and soul.
The great memories come from an engaging itinerary. A good itinerary is made up of multiple products like air, hotel, accommodation and other ground services. Sure, we need systems and technologies to make those products accessible, but it’s the passion that glues together the dates and times to construct a dream.
The heart matters from beginning to end.
You also need wholesalers with a heart . Whether you need help, advice, translation, asking for something outside the norm or to put a fire out at midnight, you need someone who goes that step further, who cares, who answers the phone.
A wholesaler with a heart. Like us.
We often say a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The passion that goes into building a trip or in fact, any travel business, can only be as powerful as its least emotive part. When travel becomes about dollars, targets and squeezing the last penny out of customers, the focus changes and so does the product delivered. It becomes like something you could get off the B2C site. That’s not an agents focus.
We all want to make a living out of travel, no matter what part of the industry we are in. We do need to remember that the excitement of the experience will be remembered long after we forgotten about the extra $20 that we had to get our customer to spend.
A focus on dollars is not the key unless you are a B2C website.
Want to profit in travel? Target the heart.