There are signs that things are starting to turn around for the travel industry.
According to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker, as of Thursday Feb. 18, 2021, more than 193 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered across 87 countries, amounting to more than 6 million doses per day. In the U.S., more Americans have in fact received a dose of one of the COVID-19 vaccines than have tested positive since the pandemic began and in Canada, 1.8% of the population has gotten at least one shot.
Now, with more vaccines slated to score regulatory approval and supply expected to increase into the spring, the light at the end of the tunnel of the pandemic is rapidly approaching. Travel advisors who have time on their hands now, need to prepare themselves for that light, as consumers with extra savings in their pocket begin putting their travel dreams into action.
Here are five steps that advisors can take today to prepare themselves for what lies ahead in 2021.
1. Set up your fee structure
The case for and against charging client fees has sparked more discussions ever over the last 12 months as the traditional revenue for most advisors got cut dramatically because of COVID-19’s impact on the industry.
While fees are nothing new to the industry or to advisors, more and more travel sellers who have not yet considered adopting the practice are starting to. While not all travel advisors are going to adopt fees, and the fees are not one-size-fit-all for everyone, COVID-19 has sped up the adoption process for many.
There is a lot to consider for advisors who want to start charging fees, including what type of fee they want to charge, how much they want to charge, and how they want to present the fee to longtime clients.
2. Get your terms and conditions straightened out
It’s not the most glamorous part of the job, but having a solid terms and conditions sheet is imperative for travel advisors and, according to Tom Carpenter, having the right language in your terms and condition will protect you even now with COVID-19 impacting travel.
While many advisors outsource this to a third party, it’s still important to know what components need to go into the terms and conditions to make sure you’re covered.
3. Get your elevator pitch ready
A lot of advisors remember the time they spent in March and April last year scrambling to get clients home or to cancel bookings as one of the busiest periods in their careers. And while that volume of work has since dropped off for many, the next few months as vaccines continue to be rolled out and travel starts to open up is expected to be another busy time.
Having a clear, concise pitch for clients ready and making sure your communication on the phone, on email, and on social media is streamlined is going to be imperative for advisors to take full advantage of the pent-up travel demand.
4. Make tough decisions and decide who you are going to work with
As the pent-up demand in travel starts to turn into bookings, and a higher workload for travel advisors, those who are successful in their marketing and their outreach are eventually going to have to make some tough decisions about who they want to work with.
Part of that will come in the form of screening clients before you start working with them by asking the proper qualifying questions to truly decide if you are a good fit or if they should start to try and find another travel advisor to work with.
Another part of that will come when a loyal client refers someone who you do not want to work with for whatever reason. Being able to have those conversations with people, and being able to trim your client list to the ones who you truly value for their loyalty or for the business they bring, is going to be more important than ever.
5. Get your marketing ready without breaking your budget
There are so many free or cheap tools advisors can use now to boost their marketing. They are tools that can really help advisors put their brand together ahead of the travel rebound.
With new tools, including Adobe Spark Post, Canva, and Later, advisors can create professional graphics and send them out on their social channels or email, right from their cell phone.
As more and more advisors start to really turn up their marketing to start to capture bookings from clients who have been stuck inside or longing to get away over the past year, sparking a conversation through new, clean, professional marketing is going to drive business.