Today is National Travel Advisor Day, a day to celebrate all that travel advisors do for consumers traveling all over the world. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which has slowed down travel worldwide, advisors are still the heartbeat of the industry and even with so much going on, today is the day to take some time to celebrate you.
To celebrate, the team at Travel Market Report went out to readers to ask the frontline advisors why they’re confident in the future of their business and the future of the industry, even with the cloud of COVID-19 hanging over them. Here’s what they said:
1. Travel has intrinsic value that will never go away.
“Travel is one of life’s greatest pleasures and something we will probably never take for granted again. Over the years, there have been threats and crises that have affected the travel industry—hurricanes, Ebola, Zika, snow storms, flus, malaria, 9/11, etc.—but I have been reassuring my clients and pointing to examples like this to show them how we somehow always find a way to overcome these things and come out of them stronger than ever.”
- Jamie Mussolini, Beachfronts Travel
2. Cancelled bookings are coming back.
“90% of people are rebooking. It depends on the supplier policy, sometimes it’s the best option because some suppliers, like the cruise lines, are being very generous. Travel will come back, people won’t stay home. I think there will be a huge pent up demand for travel in 2021.”
- Laurie Reitman, Laurie Likes Travel, an affiliate of Travel Experts
3. Some new bookings are still coming in.
“We survived 9/11 and the 2008 recession, but never in my wildest dreams did I think the world would close down completely. The encouraging thing, is this week we’ve had three new travel requests—two for 2020 and one for 2021! That’s such positive news these days.”
- Roxanne Boryczki, AZ Trails Travel
4. People have spent their quarantines dreaming of travel.
“I am seeing so many people wanderlusting and dreaming about where they want to go after this period of uncertainty and isolation ends. There is a huge world outside our door and people want to explore, connect, and travel to new destinations.”
- Limor Decter, Ovation Travel Group
5. Travel has become a necessity for people.
“For my clients, travel is an important leisure component of their lives, almost a necessity to their happiness. Whether it’s a family gathering, or a quick beach break, or a major expedition, they generally know they need to book early to get the experience they want at a good price. They know that the demand, once it’s safe to travel again, will be enormous, and it’s smart to book now for later this year or next year before the country-wide pent-up demand leads to higher prices and lower availability.”
- Ginger Morrissey, Travelong of Summit
6. COVID-19 was an opportunity for advisors to show their value.
“I think there’s a lot of misinformation about using a travel agency, especially a brick-and-mortar one, that it’s generally no more costly than doing it on one’s own. The appreciation will be viewed very differently once people do start traveling again—they are going to want that security that we provide.”
- Terri Jo Lennox, Travel Time
7. Short-term pricing improvements will help advisors.
“We’ve been through half a dozen of these. There will be a point for those who are reenact to say, ‘for that price I’ll go.’ It happens every time. They’re going to go.”
- John Schmitt, Frankenmuth Travel
8. Group business remains strong.
“I am already seeing clients itching to get away but waiting to see what happens when U.S. citizens will be allowed to travel to other countries. We had to cancel a group cruise but rebooked it for next year and most of the group moved their deposits to the new cruise instead of asking for refunds. I’m hopeful!”
- Helen Prochilo, Promal Vacations
9. Advisors are learning from the COVID-19 experience.
“I am very optimistic! I think this industry is resilient, people love travel- it’s something that’s eye-opening and I think that people will travel again for sure. People in their minds are already thinking about when this is over, where can we go? I’m optimistic with my team, even if we had to make some changes moving forward to prevent a situation like this and protect us as an agency, it’s something that we’re working on now.”
- Ann Sadie, Sadie’s Global Travel
10. Absence of travel has made consumers want more.
“I can honestly say that 100% of clients have expressed that they cannot wait to travel again. I still have a lot of open summer trips for hopeful clients that want to wait and see and not yet cancel. Only time will tell.”
- Sylvia Lebovitch, Ovation Travel
11. Travel is the best escape.
“Over the years I've discovered that people travel for different reasons, but most travelers fall into two main categories. Some people travel to relax and unwind. And others travel to explore and discover. As I talk with clients all day, I am hearing concerns and reservations, but I'm also hearing a clear need for travel. My clients who travel to relax are stressed and anxious and need that trip more than ever. My clients who travel to explore are sick of staying home and are craving new and exciting experiences. I have been a full-time travel agent for more than 14 years. I've learned that no matter what obstacles we face, whether it be economic concerns, weather events, political unrest, etc., people will always continue to travel.”
- Darci Upham, CruiseOne Franchise Owner and Vacation Specialist
12. Change will come, but clients are loyal.
“While current times are tough, we are confident business will be back. People love to travel and now there is a pent-up demand because they haven't been able to. Prior to the pandemic, our business was trending towards small ship, luxury and river cruising in general. I believe this is a market that will see growth as people are looking to travel in smaller groups and they will find value in these types of experiences. Many of our cruise clients are excited to get back on the ships to see how things will be different regarding boarding, muster drills, dining, and more. Cruisers are loyal and they will be back.”
- Amy Madson, Dream Vacations Franchise Owner and Vacation Specialist