TRAVEL LEADERS GROUP SHARES GUIDANCE WITH TRAVEL ADVISORS DURING CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK
Advisors Prepared To Offer Clients Expert Guidance Through Industry Leading Training
NEW YORK (March 12, 2020) – To assist agency owners and advisors in dealing with the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Travel Leaders Group has been offering guidance, training, ongoing communications and other resources to its company brands worldwide. Travel advisors at Travel Leaders Network, Protravel International, Tzell Travel Group, ALTOUR, Nexion Travel Group and Travel Leaders Vacation Centers are tailoring information and responding to their individual clients’ needs.
Our customers are resilient, and they are going to travel
– Peter Vlitas, Senior Vice President of Airline Relations, Travel Leaders Group.
Travel Leaders Group companies have been providing the following to their advisors:
A series of webinars for advisors and corporate clients. A recent one, entitled COVID-19 Webinar: What You Should Know about Coronavirus and Insurance, featured discussions with John Rose, Chief Risk Officer at ALTOUR, Dr. Geoff Tothill, Chief Medical Officer of International Medical Group, George Taylor, SVP, Risk Solutions at Exlog Global.
Internal Presentation/Webinar with plan of action on crisis management and coronavirus. This includes information on how to maintain proactive communications with travelers and how to preserve bookings and encourage future bookings.
Supplier Updates, such as air waivers, cruise lines updates, travel insurance updates, are provided to travel advisors in real time, with notifications up to three times a day.
Talking Points directing travel advisors to resources for information and to help guide advisors through conversations with their clients and the media.
Client Communications including a flier offering tips on traveling during the coronavirus outbreak; advisors are encouraged to share this with their clients and to post on social media.
Videos from leaders and advisors across our businesses, which offer interesting perspectives and helpful suggestions, such as this with J.D. O’Hara, Chief Executive Officer for Travel Leaders Group
In addition, Travel Leaders Network offers an on-demand webinar led by Travel Leaders Network President Roger E. Block who offers recommendations specifically for agency owners, covering expense reduction suggestions, such as finetuning budgets to improve cash flow, negotiating with creditors, reexamining lease terms or cleaning services, holding off on equipment purchases, reviewing monthly costs such as printer paper and toner costs, having staff take unpaid time off or work shorter hours.
Also, Travel Leaders Network launched a series of sessions with industry consultant Mike Marchev for all advisors offering recommendations on handling rebookings and cancellations, how to keep business in the pipeline and maintaining a positive attitude.
During this time, Travel Leaders Group is recommending that travel advisors keep in touch with their clients who may be cancelling or rebooking to show they are there and ready to support them with travel when the time is right.
“Our customers are resilient, and they are going to travel,” said Peter Vlitas, Senior Vice President of Airline Relations, Travel Leaders Group. “However, there are other travelers that are apprehensive. It’s imperative to stay close to your client and stay in touch with them. Even if they cancel a trip, it’s necessary to be there for them and assist in changes. Show them the value and the service we deliver. They may not book today, but they will remember we were there with them and they will be there in the future.”
“Listen and understand travelers’ desires and be clear about the options available,” said Michael Heflin, Senior Vice President of the Hotel Division at Travel Leaders Group. “Support your travelers and educate them on their options. Explore outside the norms to make adapting to the changing environment easier, specifically consider “stay-cation” or drive market options. One of the recommendations we have been giving is evaluating villa and private property options. Villas provide travelers with the opportunity to get out of their home but in a more controlled environment, with the benefit of formal management structure and many of the service benefits of a hotel.”
“This industry is incredibly resilient,” said Monty Swaney, Co-President, Tzell Travel Group. “We recommend that travel advisors to stay in touch with their clients. Share information with one another and share best practices among the travel advisor community. Everything at the end of the day boils down to relationships and communication.”
“The updates from the cruise lines are changing on a daily basis,” said Marni Becker, Senior Director, Cruise Sales, Protravel International. “It’s important to check the supplier’s websites on the various policies. Keep plugging away and keep getting ideas for how your business can move forward beyond this in the future.”
“We recommend travelers explore less crowded destinations in more remote areas like an island destinations, national parks or mountain retreats,” said Karen Magee, Vice President, Partnerships & Leisure Services, Tzell Travel Group. “We also highly encourage our advisors to communicate internally with one another and lean on each other for support and best practices. We also recommend using the slower periods to strategize on your business plans, focus on future marketing efforts and build up destination and product education.”
“As a trusted travel advisor, encourage travelers to secure insurance,” said Eric Hrubant, CEO & Founder, CIRE Travel, a division of Tzell Travel Group. “I recommend that advisors stay informed by reading facts from airlines and partners. It’s imperative to be a leader for your staff, your clients and as business owners, we all need to make the best of this situation. I recommend having constant contact with your travelers to ensure they know you are there for them. This is our chance to shine and show our clients we care for them so they feel safe and secure. The internet will not do that, a travel advisor who cares will.”
Some other tips Travel Leaders Group recommends includes:
– Inform: Inform the client of supplier policies and any cancellation penalties. Let the client know that in some cases, suppliers are revising policies to be more flexible.
– Ask: Ask the client if they would like you to explore alternative destinations. Share alternatives other clients are considering such as Mexico, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Alaska, other US destinations.
– Offer: Offer the client the option of moving their trip to a future date.
– Guide & Recommend: Recommend travel insurance but be clear that only Cancel for Any Reason insurance will allow them to change their plans once the payment deadlines pass.
About Travel Leaders Group
Travel Leaders Group (www.TravelLeadersGroup.com) is transforming travel with a commitment to our vacation and business travel clients through our progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Having already assisted millions of travelers, Travel Leaders Group manages leisure, business and franchise travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands. With over 6,000 agency locations, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest travel agency companies. Travelers also have access to The Travel Collection by Travel Leaders Group, a portfolio of select travel offers including discounts on international and domestic flights, value-added benefits at lodging establishments, shipboard credits on cruises and savings on escorted and vacation packages. Membership to The Travel Collection is offered at no additional cost to U.S. American Express Gold Card, Business Gold Rewards Card, Platinum Card® and Business Platinum Card® Members. For more information visit www.TheTravelCollection.com.