Travel Counsellors understand the Power of StorytellingFred van Eijk, Managing Director of Travel Counsellors, comments that many parents will have experienced the rush home to do bedtime duty – getting the children’s PJs on and settled for a bedtime story. Or have the guilt of not doing as often as you would have liked or perhaps should have. Fortunately, flexible working now enables more people to be good parents and have a career too.But it’s not just the kids that love a good story – they are what make us tick, whether it’s a plot in a soapie, a good book, a play or snappy headline that captures our attention, such as the recent ‘Australian Travel Counsellor helps his customer to pack her suitcase’. Indeed, every sales person in travel will have a story of how they have done something for a customer that has made that customer feel special.In an ever-evolving industry where businesses are focused on data, profit and margin, we must remember what makes us different. The ability to create and share these stories is that differentiator, and it is more important and relevant than ever before.According to a recent study by researchers at Oxford University and Deloitte, about 35% of current jobs are at high risk of computerisation over the following 20 years. You can google ‘will a robot take my job’ and see how future proof your profession is, or indeed the professions our children may be considering. Out of interest, travel agents score a relatively low chance of being automated (that’s a relief!). However, I also think this could be a little misleading.If a ‘travel agent’ just does the booking for the customer, the risk of automation is high and indeed already with us. We have already seen the development of travel websites, supported by on-line virtual travel agents. However, whilst robots may be able to recount a story, they can’t create one. The travel advisers that stand out are the ones with the stories of how they have helped people. Most studies show that people buy based on emotion rather than logic, and stories and anecdotes will stir the emotion more than anything else. As cognitive scientist Roger C. Schank said; “Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic; they are ideally set up to understand stories.”So, great travel advisers are also great storytellers and ‘social sharers’. Social media gives us the ability to collate our stories and share them across a global network of current and potential customers. We see daily occurrences of this with our Travel Counsellors. Here’s just one example…Earlier this year two of our customers missed their flight for their Caribbean Cruise; their Travel Counsellor Nikki went above and beyond to get them re-booked so the holiday was unaffected; the customers were so grateful Nikki received a huge bunch of flowers that afternoon; Nikki shared her story on Facebook with a picture of the flowers. The result? Her most engaging post to date and several new enquiries from people who like the sound of her service.These stories are free PR, the clearest sign of what you are about and they create the narrative and personality for the business and your personal brand. And don’t let the doom-mongers or defeatists convince you of anything to the contrary. In Daniel Pink’s bestseller ‘A Whole New Mind’, he states that “the future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind – creators and empathisers. The people, artists, investors, story tellers, caregivers, consolers, will now reap society’s richest rewards and share its greatest joys.”That is why those jobs that are least likely to be automated are those that require the highest amount of human qualities such as empathy, including nursing, care workers and psychologists. The message for us in the industry, and those we want to encourage to join it, is simple – ramp up the care and empathy with a customer; focus on how you make them feel more than the price of what you offer; and ‘bring it to life’ by sharing the stories of the things you do naturally for customers because you care and you operate in a culture that fosters doing what is right for the customer.So, when you’re telling those bedtime stories tonight remember that it’s all good practice for the office too! Travel CounsellorsSource = Travel Counsellors
Go back to the e-newsletterGondwana Game Reserve has added a new luxury lodge to its portfolio, Ulubisi House, named after the Black Harrier that hunts in the grasslands surrounding the private lodge. This creation is the most exclusive accommodation offering on the 11,000-hectare Big 5 reserve on South Africa’s Garden Route. Ulubisi House provides the ideal venue to reconnect with friends and family and to share an exciting safari adventure in the Western Cape’s leading private game reserve.With 180-degree views of grass plains dotted with game, fynbos-covered rolling hills and the Outeniqua mountain range, Ulubisi House is tucked away in the reserve’s 1000-hectare protected walking area for endangered species. Sleeping either six adults or four adults and four children, the property comes with a full complement of staff, including its own butler, chef and field guide. The timetable runs to guest’s guilt-free whim and they will instantly feel as though this is their second home. Ideal for friends or families seeking peaceful, quality time together, the privacy is only interrupted by the numerous wild visitors that drop in regularly for a drink from the swimming pool.Developer Mark Rutherfoord, skillfully incorporated the large scale, modern African structure made of stone, wood and thatch into the natural environment. There are three spacious bedroom suites and an enormous central living space with seating and dining areas overlooking an open grassy pan. A loft apartment is also available adjacent to the lodge for extra guests.Lynette Kuhn from local interior design firm Urban Jungle brought the vast spaces to life with an understated Afro-chic décor style: a mix of African artifacts and texture, with contemporary custom furniture. Local wood artisans Meyer von Wielligh created a unique design for every wood element in the house including the kitchens, closets, and gorgeous furniture statement pieces. The layout, style and décor of the house was all carefully selected by Gondwana’s owner Wendy Rutherfoord right down to the forks and knives and handmade, mouth blown glassware.Accessibility is key in making Gondwana an easy choice for Cape Town visitors and time-pressed travellers. An easy four hour drive on the N2 from Cape Town, Gondwana is just 30 minutes inland from the coast of Mossel Bay. For those wishing to fly, George Domestic Airport is only 45 minutes from the game reserve (transfers provided) with daily flights from Johannesburg and Cape Town International airports.Go back to the e-newsletter
It is certainly not every day that I stumble upon a YouTube video in which an executive discloses (in what is believed to be for the first time) that the company was the subject of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act scrutiny.It is certainly not every day that a company spends $9 million to respond to an FCPA subpoena.Yet that is what a Managing Director of Black Creek Capital and C0-Founder and Principal of Denver-based Mexico Retail Properties Group says in the below video.That the video is essentially a commercial for the company’s law firm in a related insurance coverage dispute makes the video all the more unusual.In the below video, a commercial for the law firm Miller Friel PLLC, Burstein talks about how his company received an FCPA subpoena that requested 8 years of e-mails and accounting records. According to the executive, the company hired a “prestigious” law firm and forensic accountants, and ended up spending $9 million to produce the requested information.If I were the executive, rather than shoot a commercial, I’d be asking some serious questions about why merely responding to an FCPA subpoena cost the company $9 million. Moreover, if I were the D&O insurer I’d be asking the same questions.