Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What's In It For Me When Working With a Travel Professional?

What's In It For Me When Working With a Travel Professional?
I attended a SCORE Small Business Conference, and while all of the speakers were incredible, there was one who really stood out to me; especially when she started talking about the WIIFM (What's in it for me?) phenomenon that has always been present, but is now more openly discussed, and should be the first question that all business owners are addressing when working with their customers and clients.

People want to know, "What's in it for me?" While your credentials, professionalism and ability to perform and/or deliver whatever service or product you are selling is important to a lot of your customers or clients; by and large, most of them may only want to know, "What's in it for them?" 

Bear with me for a moment as I drift through a quick little story about a book I just read entitled, Hotel Babylon, by Anonymous and Imogen Edwards-Jones. Besides the story being a complete hoot, it really touched on the reason that relationships and networking are important in any business.

The story is about a twenty-four (24) hour period of time at an upscale hotel in London. The name of the hotel, and the characters are fictional, but they are based on real life employees in the hotel industry, as well as real stories of interesting, bizarre, and downright eyebrow raising tales of the types of shenanigans that take place within a hotel on a daily basis.

There were two characters who stuck out the most for me within the story, and they were Tony, the head concierge, and Gino, the head bartender. Both of these men were good at their jobs, but what put them above their competition was not only their personalities (they were quite the characters), but their networking abilities and knowledge of all things related to their job, as well as other intangibles. One line summed it up perfectly for me in respect to how important it is to find that one person who has their hands in everything, "For starters, there is almost nothing that is going on in London that Tony doesn't know about...He knows where to go, where to eat, where to dance." (Hotel Babylon, pg 13).

More often than not when you hear people talking about travel, the first comment they make is, "Yeah, the internet is great to book travel because I can do everything myself." But can they? The regular consumer has not built the types of relationships that those of us in the travel industry do on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Regardless of our particular niche, we are constantly working with various suppliers; completing site inspections at countless hotels, and visiting domestic and international cities to help us better serve our customers and clients. We are investing in ourselves so we can be the "Tony" within our various niche. This, in turn, helps us provide the quintessential experience for our customers and clients, while also addressing the, "What's in it for me?" question too. We are utilizing our vast network of relationships to assist them in having the best travel experience possible.

*Picture  of 3D Characters Shaking Hands by Chrisroll and used from

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