Is the grass EVER greener on the other side?

by Daniel Collinsworth

I totally get it. A lot of people do it. Heck, I’ve even done it when buying a car…people just can’t help shopping for a better price instead of trusting that they’ve already made the right decision.

It's kind of like the joke about some women starting on the ground floor in 7-story department store that specializes in selling mates. The only rules are that once you leave a floor, you can’t return to that floor AND you can only visit the store once. On the 6th floor they find a “perfect” match but because each floor has had signs advertising better inventory and deals on the next floor the women decide to see if they can find their perfect mate at a discount. Sadly, they discover that the top floor has nothing but an express elevator to the exit and a sign that reads “We regret to inform you that what you are looking for, perfection at a discount, doesn’t exist anywhere but in your dreams. The next time you find a perfect match, thank your stars and don’t look back!”

Many of us do the same thing in business. We end up shopping around so much that we stress ourselves because we want to find perfection at a discount. I believe we do this because we are obsessing on one thing, price.

When the world is in alignment and we focus on experiences, price rightfully takes a back seat. Of course, as we all know, clients have budgets that have to be taken into consideration. That’s why I always remind agents that when we work together we will find a way to get to the achievable goal so that everybody is happy. We find the common ground.

When I get a travel agent that tells me that the onsite, tour operator or destination management company in Italy is less expensive than us, I start chuckling inside. It’s really not funny though, it’s sad actually, like someone laughing at a funeral, because…

Comparing itineraries is NOT like comparing cars at auto dealerships.

First of all, the comparison is never, and I mean NEVER apples to apples. Because my tour guide Enrico (let’s say that’s his name) is always superior to theirs. Enrico may have a B.S. in Archeology while theirs may be a high school drop out with “street” knowledge. My price is in USD and theirs is in Euros. My price includes your commission and theirs is NET. My price allows payments by Credit Cards theirs requires a wire transfer, etc.

In these cases, I just acknowledge that there is nothing I can say that will make you change your mind as I watch you take the escalator to the 7th floor. Why? Because I remember that you already told me that your client doesn’t want beginning cooking classes but wants expert and authentic experiences with local moms and a Michelin 1-star restaurant, etc. Unfortunately, you FORGOT all about that when you became distracted by ads selling you on the idea of “perfection at a discount” and then you focused only on price. You think to yourself, "My clients will be OK with making bread and pasta." Sure, they will. You just keep telling yourself that.

What you didn’t factor in is the fact that you ultimately chose a mediocre tour. And in the end, after calculating commissions, credit card charges, wire charges and Euro conversion rates the “great price” you thought you found doesn’t equate to a discount price after all. You ended up with something for your client that has more fees and costs than authentic Italian experiences.

My friend, Meredith Hill, has a great article that explains how to deal with NET rates and how to calculate your true commission. It’s an excellent article and it shows how many agents miscalculate their own commission and short-change themselves in the process. You can find that article HERE.

Here is the bottom line. When buying your next new car, it is perfectly fine to shop from dealership to dealership because you know the only difference between them is the price you will pay and the quality of the coffee in their lobby. The same is NOT true when booking Italian travel. So please don’t get fooled by misleading advertisements selling the myth of discounted perfection.

It often happens that when agents try to save their clients a few dollars by opting for the bargain, they ultimately end up earning less commission AND losing a client they could have had for life because they provided an inferior experience.

Just trust your instincts, be thankful when you find the perfect match for your client and for goodness sake, stay off the 7th floor!

Have fun and choose wisely.




By the way, if you want to know more about our next educational/FAM trip to the south of Italy please let me know, it is happening next year, April 1 - April 10th, 2019, and it will be EPIC!


We ONLY have 1 spot remaining on the 10/29 - 11/05 Tuscany educational trip. Don't MISS it because it will be SPECTACULAR!!!

This is an amazing opportunity and there is only ONE spot left. If you haven't seen the itinerary yet you can download it here.

If you are interested then please don't wait to reserve your seat. Start the process by clicking here.

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