Travel insights from Rick Zimmerman, President & CEO, KHM Travel Group

The Power of Gratitude

The Thanksgiving season is here, and with it comes the chance to reflect on everything that we’re grateful for. While it’s popular to spend the last few months of the year thinking back, I’ve made an effort to include gratitude in my daily routine throughout the year.

Gratitude really started to become an important part of my life back when KHM Travel Group first established our company’s Core Values. After many discussions, we decided on twelve values that we felt aligned with our goals of working with our travel agents, supplier partners, and community. But it just felt like something was missing. We opened it up to the entire team in the office and one word kept coming up over and over – gratitude. It was added it to the list and now sits as one of the cornerstones of the company.

With busy schedules, last-minute booking requests, and unexpected client issues, it’s not always easy to find time to stop and think of what there is to be thankful for. I’ve found that simply shifting my attitude can do wonders for the way I feel about myself and my business. Instead of stressing over juggling multiple tasks and emails, I try to remember that being busy is a sign of success. People trust in me and my expertise. And without them, I wouldn’t be able to have a job that I love.

Even the challenges you face can be a great learning opportunity and something to be grateful for. If you’ve ever accidently forwarded a supplier invoice to a client without first removing your commission amount, gratitude probably wasn’t the first thing you felt. After the panic subsides, you now have the chance to explain more about the way travel agents work and get paid. Chances are that next time you’ll make sure to double, or maybe even triple, check that you are sending the right information.

A helpful tip that I recently heard was to replace apologies with gratitude. Instead of saying “I’m sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner,” consider replacing it with “Thank you for your patience as I looked into this more.” You’ll find that even a slight change in language sets the tone for a more positive interaction moving forward.

As someone who has spent many years in other industries, I know that there’s no better business to be in than the travel business. Some of my most rewarding experiences have not been my own travels, but the vacations and memories that I’ve seen others enjoy. There are few feelings that are equal to knowing you contributed to someone else’s happiness. Travel agents get to experience this with nearly every booking and that’s definitely not something to take for granted.

If you find yourself overwhelmed in the busy months ahead, try to pause and remember that it only takes a little bit of gratitude to change your mind-set in a significant way.

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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