Dealing with RED Travellers

How do you deal with "power personalities" in the travel industry?

You know the type: powerful, controlling and with big egos, these customers have the capacity to wreak havoc for you, your colleagues and other customers.

I want to talk to you about these troublesome situations in particular.

As a professional speaker I spend a lot of my time teaching others how to deal with all kinds of different people, different personalities, different intensities.

If you work in travel then you will definitely know those 'RED' personality types that I talk about – they are driven by control, driven by results, driven by ego. And often it is these clients that are the most difficult to deal with...unless of course, you know how.

I find, so often, that really the 'RED' anger & frustration comes from three different places, and if you can identify the cause then you can identify the solution:

There are three main reasons why a RED person will fire up and exert their dominance, often leading to confrontation:

1) Attention – this is interesting because often a traveller will make a fuss about something seemingly small, like a less than satisfactory seat or a meal. But really I find that often this comes from a place of wanting acknowledgement. The RED traveller is looking for you to acknowledge their status, this is often a great way to start.

They want you to apologise, acknowledge how important they are and that they mean something to you. They want to hear that you know they are platinum, that they are one of your most valued customers & that you recognize that.

So when someone is becoming frustrated & angry, acknowledge their status, acknowledge their issue & often the problem will be dissipated.

However, we can take this a little bit further, their reaction may be coming from the second place which is, they may just need a vent!

2) Venting - It's not just that they want attention like in point number one, they actually are in the position where they just need to get the problem off their chest, they need a proper vent. And if that is the case then really, the RED traveller needs to be listened to. And they need to be listened to and see that they are being respected.

Often, once they feel that they have been heard, if you challenge them with an action; 'Sir, is there anything I can do to resolve this situation, would you like to speak to a manager?' more often than not they won't want it taken further, they will thank you and feel all the calmer for it.

The final reason that this power personality can become difficult and confrontational is that they want the situation they are in to change.

3) Results – they need something to be done about what they have experienced. At this stage it is important that they are presented with clear options that they can take. Whether that be an upgrade to a different seat, a complimentary drink or it may need to be escalated higher.

Of course, we can't change every bad situation to fit the RED personality, so acknowledge their status, listen, respect what they are trying to say and explain that on this occasion you are not in the position to give them a solution.

Ultimately, if you work in the travel industry, the three things you need to consider when dealing with a difficult client are whether this anger is coming from a place where they need acknowledgement, they just need to vent & get the anger out, or they want results.

For further information on Chris Helder, or to enquire about booking Chris for your next conference or event please contact the friendly ODE team on 02 9818 5199 or email

For further information on Ode team or to enquire about making a booking for your next conference or event please contact the friendly ODE team


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Dealing with RED Travellers

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