The Ethics of Travel Business

On August 24, 2016 by Novita Karana


5 Things About The Ethics of Travel Business

In tourism business, there’re 2 kind of guests based from the number of the participants.
FIT and GIT. FIT is Free Independent Traveller and GIT is Group Inclusive Traveller. FIT has small number of persons like 4 persons such as family trip. GIT has big number of persons like 15 persons and up.

FIT Guest.
We, as a travel agent usually send our FIT (Free Independent Traveller) guests to our trusted partners (travel agent) in some destinations in Indonesia.  FIT guests who travel in small number usually don’t need tour leader as GIT (Group Inclusive Tour). Tour local guide can handle everything like check in hotel, and etc. Upon arrival in airport, the local tour guide will pick up and start the tour.
You know, it’s small group, so we (travel agent company) can’t accompany our guest to the location. With small number of guests, we don’t always be able to join the trip.

GIT Guest
If the guests are GIT (Group Inclusive Traveller), they will travel in big number of persons like 15 persons and up, usually one of tour leader (usually one of our staff, or the bos itself) accompany to help the tour local guide to make the trip perfect. They will check all meals, make sure that the meals is delicious. They are willing to do anything, yes, anything and extra treat for the sake of repeat order. Loss? It’s an invesment to show that our service is the best. And also because they know how hard to get the customers in this competitive era.

We trust you.
We trust your choice of guide.
That’s why  we will 100% trust our professional local partners.
And we hope our partner can keep our relationship and respect our guests.
In my opinion, there’re some unwritten rules that we both side should each other:


1) About Sharing Pictures 
It’s just pictures. Of course, we, as travel agent definitely love to show and share our happy guests to social media. In the name of existence, marketing tools, and awareness it’s a very good way. But, did our guest know and give permission to do that? It would be polite if you ask for permission first to the guests, or to travel agent that give you guests. And the travel agent will ask to their guest for the permission to share the picture.

You have to remember, some people love selfie, some others heart wefie, and some want to be the artist of the trip. But some guests hate to be famous, and others want to make the trip secret.

First Case. My guide in Nusa Penida said during our off road trip. His guests was upset to him because there’s instagram account that  post the pictures  without permission, and it’s getting worst, when the account tag the guests.

Second Case. I got private family group and I handle it myself. I asked the guest what if I share one group picture in my social media. And, they don’t want the picture to be shared in social media. So, our relationship become close and i respect their privacy.


2) About Tagging Pictures
Again, for the sake of existence, it’s very good to tag the guest at your pictures. Their friends will see the pictures and know that you did arrangement for the trip. The guests’ friend will direct contact you. Tagging pictures is like mass marketing tools.

But, did you know that some people not feel comfortable if you tag them?
Some people feel the pictures show their face in bad expression, or they look fat in the picture. And they don’t like if the bad picture spread in social media (But I bet you don’t care about them)

And, did you know that some people wants their trip to be discreet, without anyone know? They will be upset if know that you share the picture in social media.

I knew this, after I ask for permission to share and tag the pictures of one of our guest.
“We don’t mind you share the pictures, but don’t tag me. I don’t want my friends know I went with this trip”

So, will you be concerned to the guest’s privacy and ask for permission first before share and tagging the picture?

And if you tag them, and you got the guest from another travel agent, do you imagine how they feel if you tag their guest at your travel page? It feels like being betrayed by someone you trust.


3) About Promote Your Brand
I think we have to know the different between business B2B (Business to Business) and B2C (Business to Customers). Guest from B2B will be like: Travel A gives Travel B clients to be maintain as their guests, and Travel B have to take care the given guests from Travel A, and play as the representative of the Travel A. Travel B can’t promote or introduce their travel name to the Travel A’s guests. Travel B have to respect the hierarchy of the process. If Travel B promote his/her travel, direct to Travel A’s guests, Travel B indirectly cut the sustenance of Travel A.
The promotion that indirectly cut the sustenance of your partner:
– Welcome signboard paging at airport with your travel name on it.
– Keep mentioning your travel name during the trip, and forget your partner brand
– Give souvenirs with your travel name and phone number on it
– Share picture and tag your partner’s guest without permission
– Use T-Shirt / Cap with your logo on it.
– Give your name card to the guest
– Put sticker written your travel brand and phone everywhere. I found the travel that has phone on their vehicle. Maybe they do B2C business. For B2C business it will work.  I won’t use the transportation with local travel agent’s branding. 

For this case, please correct me if I’m wrong.
Things will be different if  the business is B2C. The customer direct contact Travel B, and request for the trip. If the case like this, Travel B have a right to do all out promotion of their travel to the customers that they got theirselves, like:

– Welcome signboard paging at airport with your logo on it? Of course you can.
– Mentioned your travel name during the trip? Definitely!
– Give souvenirs with your travel name and phone on it? Sure!
– Share picture and tag your guest with permission? Why not?
– Use T-Shirt / Cap with your own logo on it? Shoot!
– Give your name card to guest? Must Do!

So, in B2B case. will you be concerned to respect your travel partner, and keep the business going for centuries? Or just a while and cut it like play fruit ninja? You decide.


4) About Contact
It’s hard to find the local tour operator that can be trusted in remote destination. I found there’s some people that still ask for direct contact for tour local operator in some isolated destination.
Did you know our effort to do survey and get the trusted person to handle the trip?
Did you know how much that we spend to do survey and finally get the right person?  Much than you imagine.
Did you know how many days we spend to find the right one (or two)?
Did it take one day? Nope! Sometimes we stay in one area for days to interview, meet in person, meet their family, know their basecamp to build our trust.
So, I think it’s not easy to give the trusted contact, except your friends is your best friends.

So, will you do the survey yourself, or will you respect your friend that already do the  big effort for survey and keep fighting in the same business with you?

5) About Hierarchy and Repeat Order

Sometime the guest not understand the hierarchy of the travel business. The guest will direct contact to the local tour operators for the need of next trip. I found some local operators that respect the hierarchy of travel of B2B business. Hat off for all of you.

What do they always say if the customer direct contact to them?
“For the next trip, you can contact the first person. We are partner and it’s not polite for me to handle his/ her guest directly. I guarantee, i will handle your next trip with care”, they keep say this if the customers ask for direct reservation.

In the end, all we need is a good networking. So what will we do next?
Play fair and grow our business for centuries?
Looking for guests.
Deal with the trusted travel agent.
Respect each other.
Respect the guest’s privacy.
And your life will be good.

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