Shapiro // © 2016 TravelAge West
It’s one of the ironies of our current political climate that gun companies potentially stand to lose sales when Republicans are in power. In fact, a look at the financial history of one firearms company — Sturm, Ruger & Co. — shows that its stock price was nearly a third higher in 2014 than it is today. Gun sales increase when owners feel threatened by the possibility of more restrictive legislation. It’s just one example of how FOMO, or fear of missing out — whether it’s rational or irrational — often drives consumers to take immediate action.
This is an important concept for travel agents given some of the developments of the past month. First, we have President-elect Donald Trump’s tweets about backing out of our agreement with Cuba, followed by the death of Fidel Castro. Needless to say, given the timing of these two events, there has been a lot of speculation about how U.S. policy toward Cuba might change. Experts on all sides are weighing in, saying travel to the island may either increase or decrease, depending on their point of view. However, regardless of what might happen in the future, there’s no doubt that, at the moment, there’s a great deal of uncertainty when it comes to Cuba.
For agents, this should be a rallying cry. Now is the perfect time to reach out to clients to suggest they take advantage of the current situation and visit the island sooner rather than later. Even as commercial airlines, cruise lines and tour operators launch and/or grow their Cuba business, travelers face the real possibility that the recent easing of travel restrictions may have been a fleeting window of opportunity. The fear of missing out on this chance might be enough to drive travelers to action.
Of course, there are going to be consumers — as well as those in the industry — that are opposed to traveling to Cuba. Fortunately, there are many other places for those people to visit. For U.S. citizens who believe that increased interaction between the people of both countries is a key to positive change, plenty of travel agents and travel companies are standing by to assist them with their plans.
Agents need to heed one of the truisms of consumer psychology and tap into FOMO now — or risk missing out themselves on this potential business.