Clients vs Friends

Dear TA’s,

I have read over and over again that many Travel Agents/Advisors are disappointed that their friends and family don’t support their businesses. I have had two very successful Tour Operator businesses before, and I always believed that mixing business with family and friends could lead to many misunderstandings.

Both sides try their best to help each other. The TA feels that he/she is working harder to please the friend/family member. By the same token, they perceive that they are being taken advantage of since they can be reached at any time during the week or weekend.

The same happens to the friend/family member who feels that they are not asking for as much as they could be asking a stranger to avoid putting extra pressure on their personal relationship  – but at the same time believe that they might have gotten a better deal someplace else.

And that is how many misunderstandings happen. Friendships can be broken, and Thanksgiving and Christmas can take on a very different tone. We might even find those friends and family suing each other on Judge Judy!

I remember that as a favor many years ago, I sold an airline ticket to my manicurist with no profit since she needed to go visit her mom in El Salvador for an emergency. I would have felt horrible by profiting with any money in this case. The departure time on the ticket was 11:59pm, one minute before the next day. She arrived at the airport on the wrong day (the day after) and at 11:00pm she called my cell and wanted me to fix the mistake. She blamed me for the mistake, and I lost my favorite manicurist.

I always recommend that people in business count on strangers to become clients, and eventually their favorite clients will become friends.

How about you?

Cheers to new friends!

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