It’s all about TRAVEL
February 28, 2020

Trust is built on telling the truth, not just telling people what they want to hear

Right now, people are worried by panic driven headlines. As CEO of a global travel media company the situation has actually given me clarity and opportunity.  What this situation and the headlines have proved to me, and to the world, is just how damn important the travel industry is to people globally.  You, me, your neighbours, families, friends, businesspeople, politicians, celebrities – just about everyone on the planet is interested in travel.  My customers.  Your customers.  Every headline is about a route cancellation, an outbreak in a market/destination, an inability to get fresh foods to market and way too many profit warnings.  Everyone, wants or needs to travel and now when there is a question mark over something that, is taken for granted, the world is having the brakes applied and we don’t like it one bit.    

Travel is so vitally important to the world, this tells me my media and my channels are being grossly undervalued by brands. And when the foot on the world’s accelerator pedal is applied again, I am going to do everything in my power to get this message out to businesses. I think I need to put my prices up.

Today while many lose focus, business owners like me are sitting down with colleagues having power breakfasts, and flying to meet clients around the world. To many of us life goes on, we don’t have a choice. We can all blame circumstance for our failings. But it’s not true. Business’s fail because they were not good enough, someone did it better, cheaper with a wider smile and a bigger why.  

The very best brands will be visible during this uncertainty. To ensure they come on top of people’s mind when they start thinking about booking again.

I talk a lot about the 78% rule in my book, There is No F In Sales, it’s a fact if 78% of businesses went bust this weekend, no one would really care. This current uncertainty gives us all an opportunity to look at our business and work out where we can do better, where we can add more value to others and where we need to cut fat. You are wasting huge amounts of money on marketing that doesn’t even get seen by the people, you intended it to.

I am seeing companies blame the situation for performance, for challenging supply chains and weaker profits. These are problems caused by focusing on cheaper ways to operate businesses and marketing the emperor’s new clothes.

Now they are gone, what do you do? You do what you should have been doing all along, looking at the markets you have ignored. China was once the solution. China is now the problem. I was reluctant to bet on China, I believe there are so many more markets which offer brands much better and safer returns.

Today, I am chasing engagement, as I have always done for 26 years. I insist we have people’s attention, and concentrating on how we can help brands get their message in front of them. My empathy lies with my fellow CEOs, especially those watching their share price plummet in the airline space, and as one heavily invested in airline brands and stocks, I am feeling the pain personally also. I believe wholeheartedly in my industry and I invest heavily into it and will continue to do so.

Business needs travellers to keep the world moving, we all need to see, smell and experience the wonders of this planet – the headlines prove that. We all need to think about the environment too, and we as a business have committed to being 100% carbon neutral this year.  

Ink are doing everything as a business to inspire a generation about where and what to see in the world.   Today we need more leadership from our governments. We need the media to give real facts and stop the hysterical headlines.  And this too shall pass.

Simon Leslie, is author of There is NO F In Sales, and joint Chief Executive of Ink – a company dedicated to shaping the travel media industry.

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