The COVID-19 Questionnaire: Amélie Brouhard – Club Med

For travel agents still searching in the midst of COVID-19 for a light at the end of the tunnel, consider this: 50% of Club Med’s clients have expressed their desire to travel to its resorts by the end of the year.

Amélie Brouhard

Citing a recent client survey, Club Med’s Amélie Brouhard, Vice-President, Canada and Mexico, says that early figures are very encouraging, with many clients already willing to consider future travel.

With an eye to the future, the company is anticipating this pent-up demand with a renewed focus on the all-too-important Canadian market. And when global travel does resume and its properties reopen their doors, Club Med will be ready to welcome back guests with new protocols in place that will help ensure the health and safety of its guests and staff.


Q. How is morale and how is Club Med handling the crisis?

A.“Our brand was strongly affected by COVID-19, like all of our partners in travel and tourism, at such a quick pace. Each member of the Club Med team has shown an impressive level of resilience and remained calm and focused to navigate in these unprecedented times. Our team spirit and cooperation are stronger than ever, which I am very proud of and grateful for.

“During the first stages of the crisis, we worked diligently to repatriate our clients and employees back home as quickly as we could, as well as offer flexible cancellation policies and deal with each client’s situation, one file at a time.

“Additionally, we quickly followed health recommendations of local authorities and temporarily suspended operations in all our resorts. We also brought support to local communities where our resorts are located, with masks and food donations.

“Club Med has entered the crisis strong, with a 2019 record year in the Canadian market as well as major novelties adding new capacity in the American zone: the new resort of Club Med Miches Playa Esmeralda, Dominican Republic, and the renovated Club Med La Caravelle in Guadeloupe.

“This crisis is unprecedented by its magnitude but we have taken measures to protect our activities and remain strongly equipped to get through it. In 70 years of our brand’s existence, closing all of our resorts was a first and an unfortunate moment. But we already see some light at the end of the tunnel; in the past weeks we were able to reopen four resorts in China, and we are planning to resume operations in our America’s zone as quickly as the conditions allow.”


Q. What do you think travel will look like in a post-COVID 19 world?

A. “In a post COVID-19 world, we believe that the desire to travel will be stronger than ever. Travellers will look to recover for a certain feeling of freedom and emotion, with a quality over quantity mindset.

“Health and safety will be top of travellers’ minds. These aspects will be a cornerstone of our client experience definition, and we will be communicating shortly further details on that. Club Med holds the advantage to offer low-density, preserved sites integrated into nature, naturally allowing social distancing as a new norm of travel.”


Q. What do you think will rebound most quickly, and what might take some time?

A. “Local and short-haul destinations will likely be the first ones to recover from the crisis, but it won’t be instant. For instance, we think our Canadian clients will prefer to enjoy our Caribbean or Mexican destinations, closer to home, rather than long haul destinations. That’s why the diversity of international guests will take some time to get back at the levels we knew before the crisis.

“We also took the initiative, early May, to send a survey to our client database to understand what their travel plans will be in a post-COVID-19 world. We found that there is a strong desire to travel again soon. In fact, more than 50% of our clients wish to travel to our resorts before the end of the year. We registered as well that two-thirds of our clients want to go to a beach vacation as their first travel plan. These are very encouraging figures, showing that our clients are really willing to consider their future travel plans soon!”


Q. With travel at a standstill, how should agents be marketing themselves and keeping themselves in front of clients?

A. “Thanks to their incredible work and commitment across the board through the crisis, travel advisors have demonstrated how valuable they are to travellers. More than ever their key role is undeniable, in providing information, finding solutions to every case, and empathizing with their clients. Keeping a great level of communication with their clients will make a difference, who will more than ever need their professional eye in the post COVID-19 travel picture.

“Also, as travel brands are presenting new hygiene and safety protocols as well new commercial policies, there is lot of information to digest for travel advisors. This is a good time to enroll in webinars classes and develop new skills.”


Q. What new destinations are you really excited about for when this is over, and ideally where will your own first trip be?

A. “The next destination we are excited to discover is actually close to home – our Quebec Charlevoix resort, set to open in December 2021. More than ever, in a post-COVID-19 crisis, travellers will wish to discover accessible hidden gems. Our Canadian clients will enjoy a remarkable all-inclusive Quebec ski vacation experience with their family and friends.

“The Quebec Charlevoix project remains more than ever a priority for Club Med, and construction is on schedule. Then, personally, I wish to go to one of our North American resorts, to enjoy and reconnect with our brand. I particularly appreciate our resort in Cancun; the experience is very complete for families, with regard to the kids clubs, the sports offer and the dining experience. We are also so close to beautiful historical and natural sites to discover there, and I feel like it offers the perfect getaway to disconnect.”


Q. What do you like most, and least, about working from home?

A. “We were able to organize and ensure business continuity with a 100% home office. Every one of us quickly adapted to new routines, conference meetings, and keeping a good level of communication between teams despite the distance. However, we all miss the human contact, informal moments, and the emotions that we all share for our common passion, travel.

“On a more personal note, working from home with two kids below five years old is an everyday juggle. It has its good moments though, and the family has never been as bonded as now.”


Q. The travel industry is showing its strength and resilience as it rallies to take on the unprecedented impact from the coronavirus pandemic. What message do you want to get out to travel agents?

A. “I want to thank our travel partners for their incredible work and resilience. Travel partners are on the front line to communicate with clients and we know the past weeks were not made easy by ever changing contexts, policies and processes.”

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