As travel starts to resume all over the world, your peers have been telling us they’re now bombarded with travel requests—great news, we know, but it can also cause a lot of stress. Throw in the added task of keeping up with destinations’, tour operators’ and hotels’ new protocols and it can become a lot. We reached out to a few advisors and asked, “How are you managing client expectation, the influx of travel requests, and all of the up-to-date entry requirements?” Here’s what they had to say; these tips might be helpful to you as you continue to book in this new travel landscape.
1. Overworked & Overwhelmed: Manage Time
“I know travel is back but us advisors are feeling back the way we did right before the pandemic. Overworked, overwhelmed and burned-out!
What has helped me is:
- Time blocking to make the most of my time in the office—and select things to do while on hold;
- Sticking to my process;
- Setting boundaries with my clients;
- Filling my own cup to recharge;
- Batch out my social media posts.”
—Lauren Doyle, president & senior travel advisor, The Travel Mechanic
2. Manage Client Expectations
“In order to manage client expectations better, we are having more conversations with them at the beginning of the sales cycle to ensure they understand that passports need to be in order (and valid!), they understand the requirements for various countries, including the U.S. CDC requirements that require a negative COVID test before returning. We also have detailed conversations with them about the “COVID experience” at various destinations—i.e, what it means to travel now and that everything may not be operational, and with limitations on travel and experiences (e.g., not every resort restaurant may be open every night or tours may be operating on a limited basis or with fewer passengers).
“We are trying very hard to keep up with the influx of travel requests primarily by prioritizing by date of departure, if they were a repeat client (and hence tend to be more serious), and in some cases, charging a plan-to-go fee for last-minute or complicated itineraries.
“Keeping up to date with all the various entry requirements has proved to be a daunting task. Some of the things we are doing to be more efficient is creating templates with the travel documents that we send out that have links to the destination websites and we encourage our clients to visit them to ensure they are meeting all protocols and requirements.”
—Tom Varghese, president, Travel Tom
3. Manage Responses
“The influx of travel requests needs to be responded to in a timely manner due to the lack of inventory. I also recommend they place a courtesy hold.
“With regard to up-to-date entry requirements, I am leaning on each cruise line’s website for the latest information. That said, sometimes you need to double check with them directly with a phone call just to be confident.”
—Mary Head, owner, Magic Memories LLC, independent affiliate of Avoya Travel/AMX