After seemingly endless months of social distancing, travel advisors are ready to hit the road again. The reason, however, isn’t simply wanderlust – but rather the opportunity to properly counsel clients on what it’s like to travel again.
“We need to lead by example,” said Cal Cheney of Bucket List Travel and Tours. “It is your personal decision, but if we show our clients that we are not afraid to travel, isn’t that a healthy thing?” he asked.
Similarly, Claire Schoeder of Elevations Travel, a Signature Travel Network agency, noted that “traveling post-pandemic is important, as it will show clients that we are comfortable with traveling.”
The upscale agency’s staff recently traveled to Florida from Atlanta on Delta Air Lines and stayed at the Acqualina Resort & Residences On The Beach in Sunny Isles Beach. “We wanted to share with our clients our first flight experience, as well as give an overview of what it will be like visiting a hotel or resort,” Schoeder said. “I shared that information with clients on social media, as well as via email. Response has been positive.”
For her part, Holly Lombardo of Classic Travel Advisors, an affiliate of Travel Experts, hopes to join a cruise fam when one becomes available. “I feel it is important to reassure the public that the sun did not fall from the sky because you sail on a cruise ship,” she said. “It’s going to be important to the traveling public to hear from those who are traveling – and who better to be the canary but us travel agents!”
At press time, Sarah Kline of Time for Travel was on her way to Riviera Maya, Cancun and Playa Mujeres for an 11-day stay. “Since the rebound of tourism seems to be strong in this area, I’m ready to go,” she said. “I want to show my clients that people are traveling, walk them though the airport and flying process and highlight the resorts’ safety protocols.”
In all, Kline will be staying at four different resorts and plans to visit multiple others. “The range of resorts will be from brand-new to old favorites,” she said. “I’m looking forward to seeing how different chains and boutique hotels handle dining, groups, mask requirements etc.”
Kline also has several excursions planned, including a sailing trip with a local adventure company and another to a new waterpark. “We will also use several ground handlers to compare services and protocol,” she said.
“I think showing my clients that I will travel – and that I will bring my family along – shows that it’s okay to start to resume normal life,” she said. “I think this is priceless to my business to show my clients what I know firsthand. I cannot teach what I haven’t learned.”
James Berglie of Be All-Inclusive couldn’t agree more. “For our clients, I think seeing us going on trips and traveling is extremely important. I myself would be considered a higher risk person for COVID due to an extensive medical history, so I’m especially more cautious to return to travel,” he said. “But for my clients, seeing me in a destination, seeing the safety protocols that are being put in place at the resort, through check-in and throughout the stay, gives them confidence that they, too, can consider returning to travel.”
Berglie urged travel advisors to get back out there. “No one can trust the advice of an arm-chair quarterback. For your clients, you need to get out there and experience travel, experience resorts and come back and be able to help your guests fully understand and be ready for what seems like unchartered territory for them in today’s world,” he said.
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