The terrible rudeness of the travel industry

A couple of times a week I go to the local gym. When I get there I always hold the door open for the person waiting behind me. Regardless of this person being male or female. It is just common courtesy. I call it decency.

 

Unfortunately, good manners are not always the norm in the travel industry. As a PR agency in this branch I do not only regularly visit events and workshops, we also organize them ourselves. Press meetings, travel trade workshops, fam trips and many more. Whatever it is we are organizing, it includes needing visitors, participants and/or guests. That’s why we approach employees of companies. Be it for example our annual European City Breaks Press Event or our annual Winter Sports Press Event. We approach relevant tourist boards, ski resorts, train companies, plus related parties such as suitcase manufacturers, low-cost carriers, hotel chains and so on.

 

It really is outrageous how many companies just don’t respond. We approach them with a serious proposal, so we in turn would also like to be treated in an equally professional way. Whether the organisation approached likes the offer or not, they represent an organisation so it is good manners to at least be so polite to give a reply. For everything we organize I dare to claim that 60 to 70% of the approached persons simply doesn’t respond. Especially PR and marketing staff members excel in silence. These are the very persons who also define the face of the organisation they represent. How hard can it be to just write two simple lines: “Thank you very much for your request / proposal / question / etc. We will take a look at it and get back to you”, and press the ‘send’ button. I have just checked it with a stopwatch and it will take less than 30 seconds.

 

The 'no reply' issue

 

Of course this is not only the case in the travel industry, it undoubtedly also applies to any other branch. So what? Just because it is becoming common practice in the industry I work in, I have to accept this attitude? No. I’d rather bring it up for discussion. I think it’s uncivilized, rude, impolite and offensive. Try to imagine how it feels for the one that is approaches you. This person is merely doing his best to ask / sell / propose your company something. Why-oh-why do you stoop to not responding? Mentality, degradation, superficiality, and ‘I-don’t-give-a-hood’ attitude. It’s just like the wretched no-show scourge which is also so common in our branch.

 

Am I holier than the Pope? No. I also sometimes fail to respond to some of the questions / proposals I receive, but I try my very best to send a reply to at least 99% of them. Each director of each company should put a little politeness back on the agenda – it helps to make the organisation a little more civilized.

 

So airlines, tourist boards, tour operators, travel organizations, railway companies, travel agencies, direct sellers, ticket suppliers, hotel portals and all those hundreds of other companies in the tourism sector…

 

March is the month of the disillusionment. All those good intentions which did not work out. No worries. Throw them overboard and replace them by one resolution which you and all of your colleagues will certainly be able to keep. Dear colleagues in the travel industry, from now on just send a decent reply to questions, requests, proposals and suggestions you receive. We – and everyone who is organising something – would rather hear you saying you’re not interested than to be completely ignored. Just politely say ‘Thank you but no thank you’ so that way we know where we stand and we don’t need to bother you anymore with follow-up e-mails and telephone calls.

 

It will cost you less than 30 seconds. It won’t cost you any money. All it costs is good manners.

 

Marcel Baltus
Managing Director – Baltus Communications