Travel insights from Rick Zimmerman

Having the Conversation

The “storm” of COVID-19 has affected our businesses greatly. The effect on our businesses and many other issues has caused great anxiety for most of us. What has made it better for me are the kind words and the thoughtfulness of many in the industry, along with family and friends. That kindness, gentleness, and love has great strength.

Over the past several months, you’ve likely found yourself in situations with clients or suppliers where there were frustrations or unsolved issues. Maybe it was a refund that didn’t come quickly enough or a change in policy that adversely affected your commission or your client’s experience. Or you saw a social media post from a client or friend with an opposing opinion. When these situations arise, it’s normal to have initial feelings of frustration. It’s the conversations we choose to have following those feelings that can have the greatest impact.

When we disagree and we don’t have a healthy dialog, it can cause hard feelings. The willingness to listen and humble ourselves is what can help with our journey through the pandemic and also help mend our country on a larger scale.

When we share what is happening in our family and with us personally, it could be the most basic discussion about how we are affected by everything around us. It allows us to realize that all of us are dealing with many of the same issues, sometimes differently or sometimes, in the same way. The important part of both situations is that when we differ in our views, we should respect and value the other person.

Too many times when we have the same viewpoint, we can feed our anger by surrounding ourselves with others who think in the same way, which keeps us from reaching out to others with different opinions. This can perpetuate hate.

My best suggestion is to pick up a phone, or even better, get on a video chat if you’re able to. Sometimes seeing someone in front of us can keep us in check because we realize that we care for the other person. It could be that we find out just how hurt that person is by what we have said or done.

At KHM Travel Group, we attempt to apply our Core Values in every interaction, although like any other company, we are not always perfect. Having Core Values and doing the right thing are easier in times of prosperity. Our openness to having conversations during challenging times is when your company’s principles become more apparent than ever.

About the Author

Rick Zimmerman is the President of KHM Travel Group, one of the country’s leading host travel agencies. Rick joined the travel industry fresh out of college where he worked as a travel agent for a small agency in Cleveland, Ohio. After a 25-year career in the construction industry, Rick returned to his travel roots and helped found KHM Travel Group in 2005. Rick is an active advocate of the travel agent community and serves on multiple travel-related Advisory Boards.

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