What Travel Trade Needs From Us Right Now
Travel advisors across the U.S. are just beginning to emerge from the madness of rebooking and cancelling trips, but the future still remains unclear.
Travel advisors across the U.S. are just beginning to emerge from the madness of rebooking and canceling trips, but the future still remains unclear. As destinations pivot to inspirational and plan-ahead messaging, we need to engage with members of the travel trade to instill confidence in our future together.
Travel advisors are an essential part of our industry, and we cannot overlook their value. In 2019, travel agencies sold more than $76.5 billion in airline tickets covering more than 302 million passenger trips. Travel agencies sell over two-thirds of cruises and 68% of tours.
One of the best opportunities available right now is leveraging their time for further training. But what exactly do they need?
This is a chance for destinations to present content to advisors who were focused on selling cruises – they will be hardest hit in these challenging times. Destinations should strengthen relationships with advisors who have traveled with them in the past and with those who have expressed interest at events and in sales calls. Advisors will rely on tools they can reference on demand when clients are able to travel again.
Our tried-and-true methods are needed now more than ever: humor, fun approach to learning (we all need that right now), engaging content and presenters who can drive the message home.
This week, we joined a virtual roundtable with AFAR advisors, and we have gathered insights from several other valuable resources in the marketplace. Some key takeaways:
- The benefits of using a travel advisor are now clear. As a human being on the other end of the line, an advisor is a client’s biggest advocate.
- Advisors are working learning opportunities they didn’t have time for before, including training sessions and webinars.
- The majority of bookings have been shifted to July and beyond, rather than cancellations.
- Passengers are being encouraged to take future credits rather than full refunds, so that they may travel in the future.
- Virtual tours and interviews with expedition leaders will be effective content.
- It’s important that we engage clients through social media and maintain a positive tone.