“The Q”

No, not the Star Trek continuum character. The letter. One of the best parts of being retired is that in my second career as a travel agent I have been able to experience some incredible training. Marketing, leadership, motivational…the whole works. Our host agency Travel Planners International has given us the opportunity to participate in world class training. Which is saying quite a bit because in my first career as a 38 year employee of a three letter agency which shall be nameless, I experienced leadership and executive training through the Eastern Management Development Center, and the Western Management Development Center that included one on one coaching from the people who coached Tiger Woods and his competitors. I even went to Space Camp at Huntsville and by the way, for you Trekkie fans during the mission on the space shuttle simulator at Space Camp in Huntsville, I hacked their version of the Kobayashi Maru scenario so fast the proctor just shook his head…THAT is something I will NEVER forget (I’m not that good….I got lucky!). Anyway, Janet and I have participated in many of TPI’S training events, and they always have top notch people come in to help us help you.

One of the people I have come to respect the most through our training with TPI, aside from our TPI family, is Royal Caribbean’s Vicki Freed, Senior VP of Sales (and other things…her actual title is too long for me to remember). The picture on this post is with Janet and Vicki who graciously gave us a good chunk of her time during an event in 2018. Vicki is one of the reasons Janet and I so love selling the brand. Sure, it isn’t for everyone which is why it is important for you to use a travel advisor to make sure we match you with the brand that best meets your needs. But if you are going for a mass market cruise line you can’t go wrong with Royal. We have sailed with them for 23 years.

Vicki called me personally a few days ago, on my cell phone, after I gave her some feedback on another matter. In our conversation we chatted about a presentation she gave at one of our TPI sponsored events that she called “The Q.” The letter Q is a unique letter rarely used. A 10 pointer in Scrabble and that is without the double or triple bonuses. The letter “O” is very common, but what Vicki shared was a concept that is brilliantly simple. What differentiates “The Q” and makes it so much more valuable from the “O” is a squiggle. Just one small difference, but it MAKES the difference. Vicki went on to share how she uses “The Q” and her call to me was one of those ways. It means doing the small things that show you care. Nothing more complicated than that. Yet…her call meant the world to me. She didn’t know it (though I did later share with her) but it came at a particularly difficult time. To have a senior executive from a multi-national corporation call me to thank me for my comments that day meant the world to me. She has done the same thing with Janet in the past. THAT is “The Q” and that is why Royal Caribbean will ALWAYS be our go to brand.

And even if it weren’t for Vicki, it would be “Captain Kirk.” Y’all have seen me write about Kirk before but in case you forgot, Kirk was our waiter on the very first cruise we took the kids on. We met with him on the first day of the cruise to explain Rob’s milk allergy and Kirk checked with the Executive Chef daily to make sure we knew which dishes on the menu Rob could eat, which could be modified to adjust to his milk allergy if we asked, and which to avoid. He briefed us every night about the next evening’s menu so we had time to decide. He also worked with the Chef to make special dishes for Rob when there wasn’t an appropriate menu substitution. Some nights it was a simple fruit cocktail, but “Captain Kirk” made sure it felt special to Rob.

This is what Vicki meant by “The Q.” Vicki certainly has it, Captain Kirk has it, and the brand has it. We have previously met and chatted with Vicki in person and I can’t tell you when I have been more impressed. She is dedicated, loyal to her brand, but also respectful of her competition. So ever since Janet and I heard Vicki’s talk, we have endeavored to be “The Q” for our clients. I hope we have succeeded…I think we have. Vicki certainly did for us.

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