Travel insights from Jennifer Dugan, chief family officer for Dugan’s Travels

Is Fear Holding You Back in 2020?

We all have fears that hold us back: The fear of charging a service fee to a customer. Or the fear of going after new clients. Often, we look at other agents – like the one that makes the most bookings at our agency – and think they have it all figured out. Does the other agent ever doubt him or herself? My simple answer is yes. I am sure even top agents question themselves sooner or later. After all, it is human nature to worry if we are good enough.

What we need to do is accept the fear and move past it.

When I started my travel agency 20 years ago, I never imagined I would one day be helping others become agents. At the agencies I had worked before, I was always the youngest. My managers appointed me to run and get coffee or to perform menial list tasks. I felt like I did not fit in. As unfulfilling as it was, this experience taught me a valuable lesson: How not to treat someone, no matter their experience, age or status.

The same applies to our customers. They have doubts about their ability to pick their own vacation and rely on us to help them. As travel agents, the best thing we can do is to push back our own fears and to listen to our customers’ needs. If we listen closely, we will perceive that people do not feel worthy enough to take the vacation they have always dreamed of. They may be afraid of not fitting into the nice hotel or resort or cruise ship.

Do you remember when cruise lines were all about the fancy nights? More and more lines are now going casual. Rightfully so. To deserve a vacation, you don’t need to wear a tuxedo if you don’t want to. We have learned over time that the most successful people are comfortable being who they are. That means if they want to go to dinner in polo shirts and slacks instead of a three-piece suit, they should be allowed to do so. Everyone should have the right to be who they are – especially on vacation.

We all need to push back our fear. We need to feel worthy of that new customer. We need to be confident and ask for what we are worth by charging service fees. And we need to give our clients the confidence that they are worthy of that vacation they always dreamed of.

I hope 2020 means less fear and more acceptance in our industry. I hope customers are being treated the way we all want to be treated. And as our industry grows, I hope the new people who will be joining us will be accepted with open arms.

About the Author

Jennifer Dugan

Jennifer Dugan founded Dugan’s Travels in 1997 with the goal to have a career while being at home with her growing family. Since that time, Jennifer and her team have created a family-friendly host agency where hundreds of agents work to realize the dream of owning a successful home-based travel business. Dugan’s Travels, now a recognized top host agency in the United States, offers comprehensive education and development programs to help agents gain knowledge, establish industry relationships, and build the confidence needed to succeed. When not working tirelessly to put her agents first, Jennifer enjoys spending time in the mountains with her husband and seven children.

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