The ASTA World Travel Congress, on this week in Strasbourg, France,
includes a seminar that is more appropriate than the program
creators probably anticipated.
Planned well before the latest round of pay cuts, it is called
Renewing Your Passion for the Travel Industry.
The presenter is Dianne Moore, a partner in Vacations Plus in
New Berlin, Wis. The 75-minute session is aimed at the
disheartened, and the promotional squib says, in part, "All those
reasons for loving what you do are still there, just buried." It
also promises to "relight the fire" for those in need of a serious
Dianne, who has presented other topics at other ASTA congresses,
volunteered for this session as an outgrowth of her own experience.
She said that early this year, she told her partner, Gerry Jung (a
former ASTA national officer), she wanted to get out of the
Dianne said she was "tired of suppliers saying I don't know how
to do things." She found that demeaning, especially given that she
was still in the business after 25 years and she had seen plenty of
those suppliers come and go.
Then, she said, the next two months were very busy at Vacations
Plus, and she was frequently buoyed by clients saying things like
"I don't know what I would do without you."
She said, in the wake of commission cuts, she has had clients
"near tears" asking, "What will I do if you are not here?"
With that feedback, she rediscovered her passion for the
business, so when ASTA sought a speaker for a session on renewing
one's commitment, she figured that "there must be a lot of people
like me" who have to deal with the impulse to leave the field.
Besides sharing the story of her own epiphany, Dianne has
history on her mind. She believes many agents don't know how the
trade got to where it is today, but that knowledge conveys a new,
even comforting, perspective.
For an example, Dianne's anecdote is again personal. She said
she recently found the receipt for her grandfather's steamship
ticket, the ticket that he bought to emigrate from Switzerland to
the U.S. in 1915.
Her grandfather used a travel agent to get the ticket, and this
reminded Dianne that the agency business once was a business
heavily focused on the needs of immigrants to the U.S.
As Dianne says, "We've been around a long time, just doing
different things." And by extension, she suggests agents will
continue to be around a long time, just doing different things.
That's a refreshing outlook, good for just about any of us as we
watch our lives and careers evolve.