The travel advisors that survived the pandemic are now thriving in their new careers. They share how they found success and what advice they would give to anyone considering a career change.
The travel consultants are a group of people who have found success during the pandemic. They have been able to find ways to keep their clients safe, and they are also making money.
These four travel advisers not only survived but, to some degree, won over the epidemic thanks to their courage, drive, and astute business tactics.
Jennifer Doncsecz, President of VIP Vacations, stated, “Having gone through various unexpected catastrophes over the last 25 years, I was lucky to have saved money for a rainy day.” “With these savings, VIP was able to keep its employees, which I believe was one of the major reasons in our ability to stay afloat.”
“We worked hard to change bookings for our customers and spent a lot of time talking to them about modifying their reservations rather than canceling them completely,” she said.
She said that VIP Vacations “got back to what we think sets us different from customers booking online alone, and that is the one-on-one relationship we have with our clients.”
Instead of sending emails or messages, the agency set up Zoom conversations with destination wedding couples. “We empathized with the stress and sorrow of having to reschedule their whole wedding, and I really believe we became closer to our wedding couples than we had in years,” Doncsecz added.
“This paid off handsomely since couples recommended future wedding couples to VIP at a higher rate than we usually see before weddings even leave the country.”
In terms of marketing, VIP Vacations launched a campaign in the autumn of 2024 with the slogan “The Caribbean Is Open, and So Are We.”
The firm spent money on two large billboards, as well as social media and Christmas mailings, to emphasize its message.
“We wanted customers to know that VIP Vacations was open for business so that they would come to us when they were ready to travel,” Doncsecz added.
Sarah Kline, president of Time for Travel, ramped up her social media activities and looked forward.
“I concentrated on the future, booking groups and weddings for 2024-23,” she said. “By a long shot, 2024 is shaping up to be our greatest year ever.”
Working by appointment is now a top priority for Time for Travel, she said. “For all new groups and weddings, we need a Zoom meeting before giving any estimates or details.”
Richard Turen, managing director of Churchill & Turen, improved his client relationships by telling it like it is.
“The best way to deal with a situation like this is to double down on open and honest communication with your customers,” he added.
“We cemented our status as valued confidants by honestly advising our customers not to travel for a year or two. It was critical for our customers to understand that we were not interested in ‘growing our company.’”
Churchill & Turen also eliminated all service costs and promised customers that “we would be available for them day and night as we attempt to negotiate this continuously shifting travel landscape,” according to Turen.
“Since March of last year, we’ve handed out ad-free, hype-free 50-page updates to our visitors twice a month. We check in with our customers on a regular basis to see how they’re doing. We do not hire commission-based sales representatives since selling has no place in our environment.”
Claire Schoeder, an independent contractor with Elevations Travel, went on a series of domestic excursions during the epidemic and shared her experiences with her customers.
“When I got back from those travels, I shared trip journals with a few customers who I felt would be interested in similar experiences,” she said. “For example, I drove through national parks in Colorado and Utah before arriving in Las Vegas on my own. Clients received pictures, as well as highlights and a handful of lowlights.
“I indicated which parks were the least busy, when to go to more crowded parks, and that we should avoid one entirely since there was no way to maintain social distance in the park’s most popular section.
“I also posted images from domestic resorts, which prompted customers to consider road vacations. In the last year, I’ve scheduled more of them than I’ve ever had before.”
Schoeder’s ability to solidify her connections with customers was also aided by her ability to communicate.
She said, “The greatest step I did was keeping in contact with my customers through cards, emails, and phone conversations.” “I sent birthday and anniversary wishes, and simply inquired about their well-being and how they were dealing with the isolation – and made it clear that I was available to assist them when they were ready to travel once more.”
Although these messages did not have an immediate impact, they have subsequently shown to be beneficial. “My clients understood I was in the same situation as them and that I would be there when the time came to travel again,” Schoeder said. “Sometimes the simplest and most straightforward solutions provide the greatest results.”
The best travel agency near me is a blog post written by the founders of a travel agency. They share how they managed to succeed during the pandemic, even though many other companies were not as lucky.