Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. ~ Calvin Coolidge
All manner of personalities take on travel consulting. Those who remain in the business more than a couple of years, however, share some common traits that serve to explain their ability to remain in place in an industry so challenging. As President Coolidge indicated, if you are not persistent, there is no other quality to take its place. There are seldom any shortcuts, just the love of what you are doing and the determination to do it well, taking great pleasure in little successes and not being devastated by the many failures and disappointments along the way. Many people cannot handle failure, they give up, switch course and head off in a new direction. Even the best, most talented, graciously-gifted people require persistence to succeed.
I contend there is no quality as important as persistence to building a travel consulting practice. The first few years of a new travel professional’s career are nothing if not challenging. Everyone experiences a healthy dose of frustration as well-educated consumers challenge you to get them a better deal than they can find themselves, mistakes are made and lessons learned. Many new travel professionals never make it beyond their earliest experiences dealing with bargain hunters. Only those with the highest degree of energy, enthusiasm and determination to succeed make it into their 3rd year and beyond, wiser and a bit worn for the effort.
People often mistake persistence for obstinacy. Not so. No doubt there are often dozens of reasons to quit and sometimes only one to keep moving forward. Many times, in the middle of the night, you cannot even name the one reason. The best realize their passion for travel and for helping others to travel well.
But persistence doesn’t mean blindly forging ahead at all costs. Those tenacious travel professionals who eventually move to the top of their field do so because they persist in creating new plans to take the place of the ones that didn’t work so well. It’s not that they don’t ever get discouraged, it’s just they never let discouragement stop them. Persistence isn’t stubbornness, but rather a passionate ambition powered by intelligence and a willingness to learn and adapt.
Success is almost totally dependent on persistence. There are very few overnight success stories in the ranks of travel professionals. The strong souls of the industry distinguish themselves from the masses by learning from their mistakes, studying the correct sales and marketing techniques and putting into practice tactics consistent with best practices.
And sometimes the difference is just showing up one more day. Don’t give up.
Richard Earls is the Publisher of Travel Research Online, an online travel industry resource dedicated to enhancing the professional lives of travel agents.