What a Long Strange Week It's Been
Whew! What a week! Unless you've been vacationing under a rock (on Mars, in which case you should have stayed there!), you know what's been happening here on this planet. I hope that you have not been seriously affected by the pandemic - nothing beyond inconvenience, some concern, strategic planning and re-thinking, preventative actions, that's it. I hereby declare, "not a single cough shall you emit, nor infected droplet approach thee". If you are a business owner, hang in there; if you are an hourly worker, or someone who has job that cannot be done from home, I deeply empathize with your situation.
Travel advisors have been twisted and pulled in every direction this week. Clients canceling, suppliers (i.e., cruise lines, tour operators, etc.) shutting down, emergency rescheduling of itineraries, receiving fearful phone calls, making insurance claims, hours on hold (yes we have to do that too), complete closures of venues all over the world - it's all so apocalyptic, frustrating, and income-reducing. At the same time, it has never been easier to get itineraries adjusted, as my supplier partners are bending over backwards to accommodate my clients. Airlines in particular have been great to work with, eliminating cancellation fees and granting refunds without penalty.
The folks I feel badly for are those who made a major investment in spring breaks and early summertime vacation plans, but who do not have an advisor to help them navigate this situation. It's not that I think they are incapable of making a flight change or canceling a hotel stay. However, knowing that my clients (and those of my travel advisor colleagues) are deeply stressed, worried, and are unsure of what steps to take, or which to take first (collectively known as 'freaking out'), I have to wonder how the do-it-yourselfers are coping. Did they have the right kind travel insurance? Did the know to notify their carriers, hotels, etc., BEFORE they try to make a claim? Do they know their cruise line's cancellation policy? Which of the rumors they're hearing is the most misleading? Are their costs for hotels/tours and activities refundable? Should they cancel or re-schedule? Even if they are able to have exactly the outcome the want, they had to use their own precious time, patience, energy, and their last nerve getting it done amidst all the other "to do's" on their list.
If you follow Global Exotic Adventures' Facebook page you probably saw my post with this article from Forbes magazine, wherein the author quotes his source as saying “Travel agents are a thing of the past - they primarily booked tickets and beds. Travel advisors have taken on a much more complex role - part psychologist, life coach, executive producer, concierge, fixer, dream maker, and ‘Blink Blink’ genie, with the multitude of services that they provide.” He goes on to list the five biggest reasons to use a travel advisor, with number one reason: EMERGENCIES!! The exclamation signs are mine, by the way. For effect. You get my point. Click on the link to read the article and share this with your friends. Then remember to wipe down your phone and wash your hands. Wishing you all the best in this crazy time, my friends. 'til next week.