We chatted with Gary C. Sadler, executive v.p. of sales & industry relations at Unique Vacations, Inc, about lessons learned from the pandemic and how travel advisors can move their business forward in this new travel landscape. One of the questions we asked was about the takeaways that travel advisors should always have top of mind from this crisis. Here’s his response:
- Engage your customers in conversation and prompt them with frank questions about what they are seeking in a vacation, why they are traveling, what they like to do and do not be coy about their budget. You cannot provide meaningful solutions if you do not understand what the challenges—and opportunities—are.
- Which leads me to making sure that everyone in the industry makes ongoing education a priority of their business. Education is the single most important factor in understanding and being able to take advantage of current trends and the inevitable changes in the marketplace. It’s why we invest heavily in agent education and why we encourage agents to become Certified Sandals Specialists and attend other travel advisor programs including workshops, familiarization trips—whether in person or virtually–and unveilings throughout the year. The more you know, the better prepared you will be to meet travel’s next big moment.
- And finally, as the great saying goes—never waste a good crisis. We never stand still very long. This summer, we unveil 66 new suites at Sandals Royal Barbados and we’re excited to begin planning for planting our flag in new destinations including Curacao and St. Vincent and at home in Jamaica, we’re adding three new hotels. During a crisis, there’s often a ‘wait and see’ mentality; that has never been our model. And so, we encourage travel advisors to take calculated risks too—build the new website, attend the next conference, focus on the business; you’ll never regret investing in yourself.
For the rest of the interview, click here.