Michele Ragusa and Thom Sesma portray ex-spouses and rival travel agents in Craving for Travel, produced by real-life agent Jim Strong.
In the 1600s William Shakespeare wrote, “All the world’s a stage.” Now more than 400 years later, the Bard’s words are ringing true for those of us in the travel industry.
I recently attended the off-Broadway play Craving for Travel, produced by Jim Strong of Strong Travel Services. Conceived by Strong and written by his friend, Tony Award-winner Andy Sandberg, along with Greg Edwards, it’s a comedy about two divorced travel agents who go through what you all do on a daily basis to please your clients. I feel that the best comedy is based in reality, as this play is, and not simply made up. When I left the theater, many of the travel agents who attended remarked that they know each and every one of the clients amusingly portrayed on stage.
Picture above is myself and Leslie Dodson of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, post show, wondering if (and hoping not) Jim Strong drew any of his characters from us.
The play also made me think. I have always said you have to love travel to become a travel agent. I still believe that, but more importantly other attributes are equally important. Patience and a thick skin are a must when you’re dealing with so many different personalities. The ability to “read” your clients and anticipate their needs is another attribute that must be part of your DNA.
Travel agents need to be psychiatrists, marriage counselors, fortune-tellers and miracle workers all rolled up into one. Lastly, all these professions combine into becoming your client’s best friend. Best friends don’t judge; they forgive and they come through in the end. This is what Craving for Travel’s message was in a laugh-out-loud way.
I applauded Jim Strong for bringing his vision to the biggest stage on earth—the New York Theater District. My hope is that the show takes it on the road and you all get to see it. The play is not about Jim or his company—it is about you and your stage, the world.