No whining!” she said. “For the past few months, whenever I meet
agents, that’s been my mantra: No whining.”
Those were the words of Kathy Sudeikis, ASTA president, at a
chapter meeting here in Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago. Sudeikis
feels that while the travel industry has certainly had a rough time
of it over the past few years, she would like to see agents present
a less gloomy image to the “outside” world.
Along those lines, Sudeikis is encouraging agents to be prepared
with positive answers to some common questions.
For instance, “How’s business?”
“Business is great. Thanks for asking,” Sudeikis suggests
“How has the Internet affected your business?”
“Travel agents have embraced the Internet. We use it to
communicate with our clients and to research for and with our
clients. We offer unbiased third-party advice when customers hit
information overload,” Sudeikis offers as a reply.
These stock answers may seem silly to some, but I think Sudeikis
is onto something. What she’s suggesting is conveying a unified
message to the outside world a world that routinely emphasizes
perception over reality. Sudeikis rightly knows that just as
important as selling trips, agents must sell a positive image of
their industry as well, in order to continue to be taken seriously
by suppliers, lawmakers and the public at large.
ASTA has even posted prepared presentations and speeches in all
formats on their Web site for agents who are asked to speak at
public events, meetings or with the media, as another way to assure
a consistent message (www.astanet.com).
Like Sudeikis, I encourage agents to visit the site and do their
part in maintaining a positive public image, for all of us.