Travel advisors make the most out of a challenging time

By: Ann Rupppenstein

Igniting a spark

Feeling “dead in the water” during the pandemic as no trips were being booked and clients were staying close to home, Jane and Jason Beck filled the void by starting a travel YouTube channel.

We saw around us that families were going stir crazy and small business was hurting,” says Jane Beck of Camrose, Alta.-based At Your Beck and Call. “On the suggestion of our daughter, who walked around the house with a homemade Lego ‘camera’ filming everything, we started a travel YouTube channel. Crazy? Probably. But we have had so much fun getting out with our kids, exploring our own backyard, and promoting small businesses. We have high hopes that one day soon we will be able to film us having family fun and supporting a Caribbean community and culture and other destinations around the world.”

The TPI advisors also redesigned the At Your Beck And Call website to give a more professional first impression and added an online calendar booking system for a free travel consultation.

“Our clients can book a time to meet with us virtually, to see if it is a good partnership for both sides, including an upfront conversation on our fees and what is included,” she explains. “We have released a fun lead magnet quiz to attract our ideal client and grow our email list. We have had tremendous feedback from our email newsletters that we started earlier this year. Our clients have expressed that they are looking to connect and dream of traveling again with us.”

Ready for the future

Acknowledging that domestic travel will rebound before international travel, the team at Kemp Travel Group dedicated time to educate themselves and increase its offerings within Canada.

“This past year has been difficult for the industry as a whole,” says Erin Kemp, co-owner and travel advisor at Kemp Travel Group in Bowmanville, Ont. “We live in such a beautiful country and we want to let our clients know that we can help plan their vacation, no matter how close to home.” 

At the same time, the agency also started to arrange more unique, private and small group experiences than ever before. 

“We have found that because people haven’t been able to travel for so long, they are willing to book longer, more expensive vacations to make up for lost time and we are able to curate each itinerary to provide a superior, tailored experience,” she adds. 

Kemp Travel Group is also gearing up for the future, preparing to mark the 40th anniversary of when Kemp’s mother Sheila founded the agency in 1982 with a luxury cruise through Vietnam and Cambodia on the Mekong River.

Echoing values

Toronto-based Shalene Dudley, the founder of Latitude Concierge Travels is utilizing this time to reshuffle business practices.

“We are moving from the plan-to-go fee to a complete table and range of fees depending on the itinerary and scope of travel,” says Dudley. “We are also implementing cancellation service fees to cover the costs of admins and the time spent managing files post-travel and beyond. We have shuffled a lot of our re-booked files to other suppliers and wholesalers and looked at alternatives to pre-packaged tours when available.”

Dudley is also working on re-branding the agency and expanding its golf division, reviewing a business plan she completed while applying for the Rise Up Pitch Competition earlier this year. 

“I am evaluating my partnerships and innovating our process for 2021 and beyond,” she says. “I want to be sure that my morals, hard work, and dedication are of value to those I choose to represent. Their ethics and contributions must parallel my own.”

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