Good Itineraries come from a chain of integrity

Good Itineraries come from a chain of integrity

Battlefield. The sporting field. Teamwork. Relevance to travel agents? A long bow to draw? Not so.

His hulking figure dwarfed the stage, his powerful voice resonated through our chests as they depicted a  narrative of bullets,  pain, heat, discomfort and odds which could surely not be overcome.

“My family could survive without me. But they could not survive without their honour.”

Benjamin Robert-Smiths’ pause said more than the words ever could.

Days later a fading champion fare-welled the game like hundreds of greats before him, but his journey was unique; the public face of a team accused of being drug cheats. Achieving the greatest individual honour in the sport to have it taken away. Shouldering a burden which was none of his making. His final farewell a drubbing at the hands of a superior opposition, but the guard of honour as he left the ground was a fitting tribute.

Benjamin’s words of “Who Dares Wins” – distilled to “have a go if you want to grow”, talks about persistence, never surrender, lessons from failure, being true in the moment. Jobe’s comfort with a public vulnerability, his humanity and acceptance of aging biology defined him as a revered leader.

Battlefield. The sporting field. Teamwork. Relevance to travel agents? A long bow to draw? Not so.

I sat riveted through Benjamin Robert-Smiths presentation at the TM conference in Darwin. I later watched my beloved Bombers get whopped.  We spoke to lots and lots and lots of agents.  What’s working, what’s not, travel trends, insights, success and failures, both ours as roomsXML and them as Travel Managers.

We learn little through success, much from failure.  When it goes to poop, there is no option but to keep driving harder for positive outcomes. Giving in accepts failure and often, the loss of a customer.  Without doubt, there are times in travel when it goes bad from reasons  outside of our control but when we all need to step up and own the moment.

Shared burden is the best.  Screaming at those around you as it goes pear shaped will not help. They are human.  Saying something has gone wrong, owning a mistake, asking for help or exposing a vulnerability of “we are really stuck here – what can you do for us because no one else can help” empowers and emboldens us to step up and have a go.

I’ve seen my own staff member, Matt, grow and develop over his 6 years with us .  Starting from a shy  fella who only just scraped past day 3 on the job, to work miracles with teams in India and hotels in Bangkok to get heads on pillows.  He has stuffed up on occasion and owned it.  It’s given him the confidence to stand strong on a reasonable resolution which maybe, an agent didn’t want to hear.

He has earnt the many plaudits received about the outstanding service team he leads, the human face which overlays a couple of million lines of code, the man behind the voice behind the phone.   The consistency of his integrity and what that brings out of agents makes him worthy of the praise he receives.   He has the most important ingredient; integrity. That leads to trust.

A great travel business delivers great travel experiences time after time. A great holiday takes great team work, from people with integrity, doing the best job possible.  Each and every successful itinerary is a result of careful planning, experience, teamwork and if it gets challenging, the extra effort of people doing the best they can.  Its never just one person but many in a supply chain.

The theatre of war and sport is a long way from building a holiday but at the end of the day, integrity and good intention is the longer but harder road to growth and success.



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