If two heads are better than one, then many minds working for a common cause can be a game-changer. Which is why when the load is especially heavy or challenging, engaging in partnerships can make all the difference.
Travel Market Report spoke to a number of travel advisors about why partnership is essential in the time of COVID-19 travel. Here are their thoughts:
Support … and More Support
Whether in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis or trying to work their way back from it, travel advisors sang the praises of suppliers who worked alongside them. From offering their clients rebooking incentives that kept their sales alive to engaging BDMs to help tackle the task of walking them through the red tape, partnerships were and still are at the forefront of agency survival.
“Partnerships are more important now than ever before,” said John Przywara, CEO of International Vacations in Plano, Texas. “We’ve never been through anything like this and we’re now going into recovery mode. No one can do it alone. It requires partnership. Suppliers are going to look towards the folks that supported them and we will do the same. You will see that those relationships that have been built over time will pan out and those will be the agencies that recover faster.”
Communication and Confidence
A travel advisor’s ability to emit confidence when it relates to their clients traveling comes largely from the faith they hold in their partners. When an advisor can trust in their relationships with resorts, destinations, and suppliers, to name just a few, the client wins. From narrowing down the vast and ever-changing amount of information on destination procedures and protocols to even offering seal of approval-type programs that provide security and assurance to travelers, partnerships have played a key role.
“Open communication is vital to providing clients with accurate and timely information. Knowing operators are looking out for our clients is huge. We can’t possibly know each property, so through partnership with suppliers, we are able to cover all the bases,” said Sara Davisson, a travel advisor with Beach Vacations and Beyond in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Selling the Safe Travel Message
In addition to some operators providing testimonials for properties that meet certain standards, hoteliers and suppliers have also been teaming up to offer another benefit: familiarization trips. As a result, not only have travel advisors averted digging deep into their own pockets to experience the new normal of travel during Covid-19, they are being afforded the opportunity to visit a dozen properties or more in just one visit. These fams are providing them with the ability to not only see and experience first-hand the safety measures in place, but also confidently share those accounts with their clients one-on-one and via social media.
Like many of his peers, Travis Paquin, owner of 417 Travel in Springfield, Missouri, proclaims the slogan “We’ve been there” when selling travel during Covid-19. “We want our clients to know we’ve seen the programs firsthand because that provides value to our customers. It’s great to have a document to show a protocol is in place, but it’s even better to experience it and believe in it. I am a firm believer in the programs being offered.”
That positivity is being echoed throughout the industry. In fact, when asked what role partnerships have played in her recovery process, Molly Friend, owner of Friendly Travel in Chickasha, Oklahoma, replied “morale.”
“More than anything else, just knowing that there are other people who love travel as much as I do and are wanting to continue to make travel as good as it’s ever been is why partnerships are valuable to me. Partnerships not only give you business backing, it gives you a sense of a shared purpose. It’s knowing you have someone you can pick up the phone and talk to who understands where you’re at.”
Friend noted that BDMs in particular were her first point of contact and remain integral to helping her move forward. She also credited suppliers with offering effective insurance policies and rebooking incentives that made all the difference in keeping her clients coming back.
“Being able to align myself with particular partners means that when things open fully, I’ll still be at a level where I’m going to be able to succeed!”
FROM THE SPONSOR: Introducing TripTrust™.
Safety Check Before You Go!
At ALG Vacations the health of our customers comes first and we prove it with TripTrust™, a new and exclusive initiative launched by ALG Vacations to ensure that our hotel and resort partners uphold the very highest standards of cleanliness, sanitation, and security. While still an ongoing process, ALG Vacations have identified more than 2,000 hotels in our portfolio that are observing the strict guidelines set by CDC and WHO, or are working with third-party suppliers that specialize in monitoring compliance to strict health, safety and sanitation protocols. Simply look for the TripTrust™ logo next to the hotel name and recommend with confidence, knowing that hotel/resort is going above and beyond to help ensure a safe, secure and healthy vacation environment for your valued clients.
The TripTrust™ badge is an easy, at-a-glance way to pinpoint hotels that are prioritizing your clients’ concerns during this unprecedented time, and one more way that ALG Vacations™ is making their health and safety our focus. Simply look for the TripTrust™ logo next to the hotel name, and recommend with confidence.