Nineteen years ago today we witnessed an event in the world, a horrific attack and there is not a single person on the planet that can’t remember where they were the day that happened. That changed the way we travel forever. It was also a roller coaster ride for the travel industry that we eventually overcame. Our thoughts go to the people that lost their lives, to all their family and friends and to the service men and women that helped that day.
We now face yet another rollercoaster and game changer for the travel industry. Although to say we are on a rollercoaster is a massive understatement. In fact, it’s closer to being inside a washing machine that is inside a cement mixer that is then only half strapped onto a roller coaster. Then for extra measure someone has turned up with a smoke machine and water jets and keeps blasting it at us.
At Flexi Reps we are not dealing with customers, we don’t have our own holidays to sell and we’re working hard to get people back out working. That does not mean we do not feel the pain everyone else is feeling. We talk to lots of business’s every week and we are still in touch with lots of retailers. Its so tough to watch from the side-lines as the industry is thrown from left to right at every twist and turn. There have been many failures already, and this week saw the closure of Destinology, a well loved business founded by Dominic Speakman and sold to Saga. This is another direct hit to a good business with great people. We continue to see more and more green circles appear on LinkedIn and it’s gut wrenching.
What more can be done? There is a petition gathering pace to extend furlough, the Save Travel campaign is rumbling on, many of us have written to our local MP’s. Lots of travel faces are appearing on TV pleading yet still no actual positive news or cracks of optimism from anywhere.
On the bright side the creativity shown by businesses to adapt, shape shift and pivot into offering new products and destinations has been great. Kuoni, Abercrombie and Kent, G Adventures, Intrepid and Elegant Resorts have all launched UK breaks. Travel agents need to know about these pivots and new products so please don’t forget them.
In Travel Weekly this week we heard how important travel agents are from leading suppliers. Phil Hullah, Riviera Travel chief executive, said his company has expanded its team of on-the-road reps meeting travel agents during the pandemic. “It has been more important than ever to work very closely with them,” he said. Niel Alobaidi, Newmarket’s chief executive, also highlighted the crucial role of agents in building customers’ confidence in travel. “We wouldn’t exist without that relationship,” he said.
Let’s get more folk back out to the trade to help them through this rollercoaster ride.