What's it like being a travel advisor during the COVID-19 pandemic?
This week Travel Courier checks in with Jennifer Chedore, travel advisor at Blowes & Stewart Travel Group Ltd., to find out how she’s managing during the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic.
1) Tell us a little bit about what it’s been like being a travel agent over the past few weeks?
I have heard it described as being the band on the Titanic and playing until the ship goes down. I thought this was a great analogy. It is such a unique situation and therefore no cut and dry way to deal with anything but we need to carry on and our clients are priority number one. I think things will get worse before they get better for us but I do believe it will get better.
2) What kind of impact has this had on your income?
That is to be determined in the months to come.
3) Have you had a client or supplier do something nice for you during this time?
I have to say each and every one of my clients have taken the disruption of their long awaited vacations with compassion and grace. This is the best that I could ever ask for.
4) Do you have any strategies to get through the next few months?
Because of the number of Future Travel Credits being offered to clients, we will need to see about getting these set up as some have time limits on them. We need to keep positive and give clients something to look forward to.
5) If there’s one positive thing that’s come out of this, it’s been that people have seen the value of using a travel agent firsthand.
Our business has always based on word of mouth and referral and many have always seen the value of using a travel agent. More will now depending on their individual experiences handling cancellations on their own.
6) Do you have any advice to other agents during this time?
Talk to others in the field for advice, join some Facebook pages to deal with some unique situations and step away often to take time for yourself to decompress.
I have heard [being a travel agent during COVID-19] described as being the band on the Titanic and playing until the ship goes down. I thought this was a great analogy.