One of the most contentious subjects right now in the travel industry seems to be about how we should be communicating with our customers.

On one side of the spectrum we have the old-school view, which maintains that we should only be contacted during work hours, via the office phone or email.

On the other side, the more modern approach, a multi-pronged array of methods – ranging from text messages and personal mobile phone use to online chat via social media platforms – plus all of the standard traditional forms.

Logic would lead us to believe that the older, or lets say, more experienced Travel Agents would be the ones trying to protect their supposed work-life balance and fighting any change to a newer, modern way of doing business.

You’d think that our younger, fresher newcomers to the industry would be leading this change, right?

Well, I disagree. Why? Because anyone that’s been in this industry for more than a year or two knows that to be successful you need to not only accept change, you need to grab it by the horns, jump on top of it, give it a slap and ride into the sunset screaming “follow me!”

247-taxi-driver-abc-net

If we want to stay relevant to our customers, we need to bend to their needs, not the other way around.

I bet people that vent their anger about needing to change their behavior are the very same ones that immediately jumped into bed with Uber when they arrived on the scene to give customers what they wanted.

The taxi industry is a prime example of what not to do.

Instead of recognizing what it’s customers needed and giving it to them, they chose to fight the modern way of thinking.

Rather than devote time and effort to jumping on the bandwagon and changing the way they captured customers, they hired lobbyists to try and stop their competitors and then they hired marketing consultants to try and change their customer’s minds, using tactics to make them think that Uber was dangerous or illegal.

Man In Bed At Home Texting On Mobile Phone

Are you giving you mobile number to clients?

Did this work? Nope.

I’m not saying that there aren’t any problems with communicating with our customers differently.

We’re definitely heading into uncharted waters.

How will Management be able to monitor what is or isn’t being said?

How will we protect our work-life balance?

What kind of safety nets will be installed to protect our people from after-hours harassment or bullying?

But instead of avoiding these questions and many more that will come, we need to try and answer them.

I’m sure sometimes we’ll get it wrong, this is inevitable with change, but so is change itself, especially in the travel industry.

I must admit, I was hesitant (and still am) about giving my mobile number to my clients – and to be honest, if I didn’t have to, I probably wouldn’t.

But if I want to stay relevant and continue my career as a successful Travel Agent then I will hand it out freely – or I’ll end up going the way of the horse, or in modern terms, the taxi driver.

Do you think Travel Agents should be on-call 24/7 these days?