Your attention is a limited resource. It pays to use it wisely.
In much the same way that you’re careful about how you spend your money and what you do with your time, you should be smart about where your attention is going every day. There are thousands of voices in your world clamoring to be heard — family members, co-workers, friends, news organizations, advertisers, celebrities, politicians — and you don’t have enough attention to listen to all of them.
Of course, paying attention and listening to people is a vital part of the work you do. But not everyone who wants to talk to you is worth listening to.
Whether you’re a tour operator, a group leader or a travel industry representative, there are a few universal categories of people you should just ignore.
1) Haters and Trolls — Some people just love to spew negativity, and it seems their sole purpose in life is to criticize everything and everybody they come across. The problem is especially bad online, where trolls often hide behind the anonymity of screen names. If you’ve been in business awhile, you might recognize these people from a mile away. They have nothing positive to add to your life, so shut them down before they even have a chance to start talking.
2) Prophets of Doom — Just like haters and trolls, some people seem to relish telling everyone they meet that disaster is coming. In our industry, these are the people who go around saying that group travel is dying and that Airbnb is going to put hotels out of business. But they’ve been saying those same things for decades, and disaster has yet to come. You should always be responsive to change and prepared for emergencies, but don’t let your mind be consumed by prophets of doom.
3) Gossips and Busybodies — The appeal of a juicy piece of gossip can seem irresistible. But the same person who is excited to dish to you one minute will just as happily dish on you the next. In an industry as tight-knit as tourism, that gossip can be distracting and destructive. So when you see gossips and busybodies coming, stay in your lane and walk on by. You don’t need what they’re selling.
4) Competitors — It’s smart to stay aware of marketplace trends to ensure that you stay relevant and competitive. But don’t waste your attention on your competitors. The more energy you spend obsessing over them, the less you will have to invest in growing and improving what you do. And if they’re spreading lies about you, it’s best to laugh them off and prove them wrong with your professionalism and excellence.
5) Noncustomers — You don’t have to look far to find people who have opinions about your company, your product or your destination. And though it’s occasionally useful to get outside perspectives on your brand, your products will appeal only to a small percentage of the population. So instead of paying attention to the opinions of people who will never “get” what you’re doing, listen to your customers. They understand what you’re trying to do and why it matters. And their input can be key to helping you improve your offerings and reach more people like them.