Ohhh, we’ve all been there. The Zoom meeting with one person face-down over their keyboard, invisible. Someone sitting with their back to a window so you see them only in shadow. Or the person sitting three feet away from the camera, a wee head in the distance.
“A high tide floats all boats.” I love that: when conditions are great, everyone reaps the benefits. It’s when times are tough (like right now) that in any industry, ours included, the players with deep roots and deep pockets will survive.
This is a very uncertain time for travel agency owners. What is certain is that all the ongoing costs of running an agency don’t go away at a time like this and can be crippling when revenue isn’t coming in.
There has never been a time like this one – and we all hope there never will be again. COVID-19 has dealt an unfathomable blow to our industry. But thousands of us are toughing it out. I have been in self-isolation for six weeks and like many of you am struggling with the confinement.
When and how will tourism rebound? A difficult question because of so many outside factors – when will borders open up and which ones? When and where will airlines operate to again? When will hotels and resorts open up? Will travel insurance be available and when? And of course, when will people feel safe to travel again and where will they want to go?
Those of us who have been in the industry a long time thought we had “seen it all”: 9/11, SARS, various financial meltdowns and tanking loonies. But, very sad to say, they all pale in comparison with COVID-19.
Travel agents are nimble thinkers and highly adaptable to new challenges. And while the coronavirus pandemic and the fallout for the travel industry are testing the retail travel industry’s resolve and resources like never before, the current crisis won’t get the best of us, says Heather Baker, Director of Acquisitions & Social Media for host agency Independent by Flight Centre.
The travel industry is living through the most precarious period in its history. Many companies may not survive this crisis and some of the most vulnerable in the industry right now are small agencies.
No doubt about it, the past six months have been unbelievably tough. It’s times like these that trusted brands shine through. “Collette has been in business for 102 years,” says Ron Lonsdale, Collette’s Vice President, Canada. “We have seen so many trying times in our industry. The learnings from the past apply today.”