Here at the magazine, the editors are fortunate to get the opportunity to travel with agents at least a couple times a year, and it’s always one of the best assignments we get. Not only do we get to visit beautiful locales in the name of “work,” but we all know when you travel with agents, you’re going to get educated about this business. I’m always impressed by the innovative sales techniques agents share with me and with the overall insider knowledge. Plus, agents know how to have a good time!
As fun as it is traveling with agents, however, why does it seem that every group trip has that one person that seems to be on a mission to drive everyone else crazy?
For instance, there’s the Time Sucker: the person who is always late, and then dawdles at every stop so that a busy day is transformed into a death march to catch up to the itinerary. Or there’s Whiney and her cousin Jerky. While Whiney is busy complaining about everything (“they call that first class”), Jerky is demeaning locals and berating staff like she’s trying out to be a judge on “American Idol.” (“Your bed-making was horrid and entirely unconvincing,” or “I would rather see a caged ape make that martini for me.”)
As bad as they are, however, I would take them over Piggy, who simply must embarrass himself by taking everything that isn’t nailed down as long as it’s free and then asking for more, or Eeyore, the gloomy agent whose mission seemingly is to portray agents as being too lethargic and depressed to find better employment. (“My advice to young people: Get out now before this business steals your soul.”)
Of course, I could go on, as I’m sure you could too (go ahead and e-mail me some of your personal favorites), but the bottom line is that, as professional and dedicated as most agents are on a fam trip, it’s always a good idea to remember that fairly or not you are generally viewed as a representative of the entire travel agent profession by the suppliers that are hosting you. And you better believe they notice the bad apples.
So while this issue’s cover story (“Making the Most of Your Fam Trip,” page 16) might be review for many of you, if it helps even one agent treat his or her fam trips more professionally, then it helps all of us in the long run. K.S.