Mind Set Grow! Written By: Jackie Friedman, President – Nexion Travel Group
Mind Set Grow! The road to business recovery is like the vibrant waves of the oceans. There are many ebbs and flows, with a potential for both storms and calmer waters in the months ahead. Many of you may be having difficulty navigating this uncertainty, both physically and emotionally. Still, I encourage you to hang on tight because the world will open up again, and travel advisors will be needed more than ever.
As we weather out the storm together, here are a few tips for riding the waves to success.
As you can see in the news, changes are made daily regarding COVID health and safety protocols. Although you must inform your clients about where they can find the latest information for the destination(s) they are traveling to, you must also stay on top of suppliers and destinations that you book to ensure you are up-to-date with the latest changes. This is your opportunity to add value by proactively updating them if and when protocols change.
Traveling looks a little bit different today than it did two years ago. A firm travel itinerary may not be realistic as we come out of the pandemic. Closures due to COVID, border closures, or limited staff in destination are potential issues in today’s travel world. I recently returned from a beautiful cruise in Europe. It was initially supposed to be Greece and Israel, and then they changed it to Greece and Cyprus. Ultimately, I traveled on a cruise to Greece and Croatia, but everyone was so glad to be traveling again, and we all had a magical vacation at the end of the day. It is vital to remain flexible and enjoy the vacation you are on.
Be Communicative to your Clients
Please don’t leave them hanging! It’s crucial to be attentive to your clients when things are constantly changing. Find creative ways to keep them updated rather than individually contacting each client.
Creative ways to keep clients updated:
- Create a Podcast
- Send out a weekly/monthly newsletter with supplier updates
- Post regularly on social media about destination updates
- Update your website with COVID mandates and supplier specials
The pandemic has affected every one of us. Suppliers, travelers, and advisors alike are navigating the uncharted waters of the travel industry. As our businesses head towards recovery, we all need to learn to be a little more patient with ourselves and with each other. Chasing down refunds or future travel credits is not an easy job, and clients may be looking in your direction for guidance.
Suppliers want to do the right thing, but their systems are not designed for all these cancellations and re-bookings, and they’re dealing with a lot of manual processes.
Sometimes you may feel caught in between clients and suppliers, but this is an opportunity for you to help navigate a successful resolution.
Set realistic expectations
Not everyone is ready to travel right now, and similarly, not everyone is prepared to sell travel right now. My ultimate tip is to make it about the client, regardless of your state of readiness. This is where your value as a travel advisor can shine. Set realistic expectations of the travel experiences they may be booking. Are all resort amenities open? Can cruisers explore on their own, or are they restricted to cruise-line shore excursions only? Make sure your clients understand that things are likely to change between the time of booking and the time of travel.
Most importantly, be empathetic when customers express apprehension about traveling right now. Try and probe for a deeper understanding of their concerns and reassure them that you are happy to work together to develop another time or destination that they may be less nervous about.
Share Your Experiences
Although you feel like you’ve been on a rough boat ride, look at traveling today through your customers’ eyes. Smaller crowds in some of the world’s iconic travel destinations offer once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Find ways to tell those stories. If you are traveling, share your experiences. If you have other customers traveling, encourage them to share theirs.
Suppliers and destinations are committed to making the experience as safe as possible, with many health and safety protocols in place. No plan is fool-proof, but you can make your clients feel at ease about traveling to their favorite destinations with enough knowledge and research.
Mind Set Grow – Sailing into Recovery
So my advice to you is to stay informed and keep your clients excited about all of the upcoming destinations you discover.
The people who work in our trade NEED travel to come back. We are the heartbeat of the travel industry, and we will float ashore to business recovery together.
All of the Best,