You Can’t Control “It”
By Mark Murphy
July 25, 2012 11:45 PM
You can’t control “it,” whatever “it” is. At its root, “it” is your customer. “It” is your staff. “It” is your friends. “It” is your family. In fact, “it” is everything and everyone other than you. And it doesn’t matter when it comes to business or those related relationships.
It doesn’t matter what your company does or what your title is. It doesn’t matter whether you own the company or work in a local travel agency. People of all sizes and shapes will default to this: They will do what’s in their perceived best interests, not necessarily yours.
That’s because people are intrinsically wired to act in their own best interests. To succeed you have to put yourself in their place, as well as your business, to make sure you are aligned with their best interests. Anything less and you won’t see the success you desire.
By taking certain actions in business, people get a sense of perceived entitlement or a false expectations. They think people are simply going to respond to whatever they just launched or something that they feel is intrinsically valuable to them.
Instead of “if you build it, they will come,” it should read “if you build it, they might not give a f#%&!” That might seem harsh, but it’s the truth. Just ask consumers who have shifted back to travel agents in the past few years. Just because consumers can book anything online doesn’t mean they will. Just because a supplier has a great new booking engine doesn’t mean anyone is going to use it. Plenty of companies have built great websites with great booking tools and the forecasted flood of bookings just didn’t materialize.
Things are simply moving too fast for most legacy businesses and business models, especially in travel. People are evolving at light speed and you are either evolving with them or being left behind. You can’t control it. You can simply put yourself in a position to succeed in this fast changing environment. But how will you do it?
First, you do so by understanding that you actually control your own business even if you are an employee in a retail agency storefront location. That’s because you as an individual have unprecedented access to potential customers in today’s socially connected world. All of these connections come to you as a person, not as an entity. And that is what’s changed and what puts you in control of your own destiny.
You can’t control whether customers will book direct or even talk to you. What you can control is how you reach out to them, how you add value, and how you ultimately adapt to the next generation of travel sellers. No one will control what happens next, but you can rest assured you’ll be part of it if you take control of your personal and business relationships along with your business itself.
Mark Murphy is president and CEO of Travalliancemedia, parent of TravelPulse.com, Agent@Home magazine, Vacation Agent magazine, Travel Agent Academy, Virtual Travel Events and Agent Studio.