When you are neck-deep in cancellations, rescheduling, and dozens (or hundreds) of questions from clients, you may start to feel like things will always be this way. That’s not the case. The travel industry has seen lots of crises come and go from 9/11 to SARS and Ebola to cross-border tensions around the globe. I don’t know statistics on how many millions of dollars in travel plans have been affected by Covid-19, but I am sure to many agents it feels like a substantial part of their business. Depending on their specialty, it might even be a majority of their business.
While it is easy to get dragged down agonizing over cancellations and the monetary impact this will have on your business, please remember this:
You are making a difference in your clients’ lives.
The service you are providing your clients won’t be forgotten.
Right now, there are thousands of people stuck on phone lines waiting hours to get through to Costco and online travel agencies (OTAs). They are thinking about how that OTA was all too happy to book their trip, but not interested in – or capable of – serving them when they so desperately need it.
But that’s not your clients – they have a secret weapon – you!
When all this is over, those clients will remember how you took care of them. And they will tell their friends. And family. And coworkers. When people are relating what a nightmare it was to rebook their vacation, they will talk about how amazing you were. How you took care of everything and reduced their stress level significantly.
Some of those clients who didn’t book with you because they were lured away by that $300 Costco gift card will come back. They get it now.
And rest assured they are going to want to travel again. After 9/11 there were many who believed that Americans would stop traveling. Quite the opposite happened. People were reminded that life is short, and that it is important to take the trip and make the memories.
When your clients are ready to travel, they will call you because of the work you are doing right now. You are making a difference in the lives of your clients every single day. They will remember that. The business will come back. It’s going to be tough for a while, but it will come back stronger than ever.
In the short-term, be kind to yourself. Be OK with being frustrated, but don’t camp out there. Ask for help when you need it. Lean on others and let them help you. Surround yourself with people who aren’t all doom-and-gloom. Sure, we all need to vent sometimes, but constant negativity is exhausting.
You’ve got this! You are a travel professional. Not a hobbyist, but a PRO. And you make a difference in the lives of your clients every. single. day. Be proud of that and let that pride help carry you through these tough times. The business will come back and travel agents will be recognized as heroes and get the rewards they so richly deserve.