"Anything Goes", The Naples Players, March 2009. Photo: Coachman76.
There comes a time in our careers when we need to discover what business we really are in.
With the ever-increasing amount of information we try to absorb, it seems we have to move from one mindset to another in rapid succession. We need more product knowledge, more sales techniques, more ways to make social networking work, and an unlimited stream of advice and suggestions as to where we should spend our time. It seems that the key to success is based on switching directions faster than the rest of the travel agents we compete with.
But I beg to differ.
In the campy musical Anything Goes, one of Cole Porter’s most famous songs stops the show as the heroine finally “gets it.” Reno Sweeny has had a full life of experiences, trying to find what will excite and move her. Just like many travel agents, she jumps from thrill to thrill trying to find what will “work.” Finally, after trying many things, she comes to the following conclusion:
My story is much too sad to be told,
But practically everything leaves me totally cold.
The only exception I know is the case
When I'm out on a quiet spree
Fighting vainly the old ennui
And I suddenly turn and see
Your fabulous face.
I get no kick from champagne.
Mere alcohol doesn't thrill me at all,
So tell me why should it be true
That I get a kick out of you?
I get no kick in a plane,
Flying too high with some guy in the sky
Is my idea of nothing to do,
Yet I get a kick out of you.
Ms. Sweeney realizes her happiness will come from only one thing—and it is the same for us. No new trend, no fancy sales technique, no astounding product enhancement nor promise of new avenues of marketing bonanzas should replace our complete focus and dedication to our clients. I am not suggesting we stop learning about our industry and the products in it. But we need to always keep the focus on our clients.
I must admit I had to go to the dictionary to look up “ennui,” to discover it is “a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety.” Or in other words, too much same ole, same ole! Now I will admit that in the travel industry our ennui looks exciting and thrilling to most, which is part of the problem. If we had a boring and stagnant industry, it would be easier to focus on our clients. However, to be the best, we need to realize that our only “kick” should come from our clients. In today’s world we may not even know what our clients’ faces looks like. So it is even more important for us to motivate ourselves to turn to them often (and just imagine their faces are fabulous!).
As a final note I cannot help but comment on the prophetic nature of the lyrics when speaking of air travel. Remember that this song was written in the 1930s, and it appears we have come full circle! Today we know that flying high still may not provide our clients a thrill. However, cruises, tours, resorts, and destinations usually deliver beyond their expectations. But no matter what they book, we really want our clients to know that it is them that gives us a kick!
Ultimately our relentless focus on our relationship with our clients should lead them to sing another song from Anything Goes about you:
You're the top!
You're the Coliseum.
You're the top!
You're the Louvre Museum.
You're a melody from a symphony by Strauss…
You’re the top!