Things might be slower for travel advisors during this time of quarantine, but many are still booking for future travel.
As travel advisor, Joyce Sterling Bosse says, “Overall, sales are sluggish, but not dead.”
Tammy Parran of Central Travel says she sold something every single day in the last week. She’s had new bookings to Kauai, Banff, Aruba, Maui, Hilton Head, and the Big Island, as well as lots of re-bookings for 2021 including sailings on Avalon and Viking. Travel advisor Yvonne Renee Dunlap is also getting new bookings—three new bookings in the last week alone—one to Cancun in October, plus two sailings for next summer.
“Just booked the final open slots of our 25 person group for Tauck’s Rocky Mountaineer in 2021. Our travel group has elected to add Tauck’s Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks tour to the itinerary,” says Rodney George, travel advisor, Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative. “I had to start bookings for a second group who were also interested in exploring Canada by rail but didn’t snag a spot on our first tour offering. PEOPLE STILL WANT TO TRAVEL…just not today,” he adds.
“I am finding people are worried things are going to sell out fast for Winter 2020/2021, so they want something to look forward to and want to secure their spots,” adds Parran.
Travel advisor Christine Aquilino Brown of Vacation Inspiration by Christine says she’s had clients reach out to her for bookings, but she’s also been reaching out to her roster as well. She says she had a new booking for September—“booked a Mediterranean cruise with Croatia land pre.”
For others, it’s the personal e-mail that make a difference. “The day started off with a personalized Happy Birthday e-mail sent on my behalf from CP Marketing to one of my clients, which resulted in an $11K Oceania booking for 2021,” says Adam Martindale, travel advisor, Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative.
Personal phone calls work too. “Just booked three cabins on Crystal today,” exclaims says Jay Paul, travel advisor, Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative. “I called my client and asked how he was doing. He said he was tired of being stuck home. I suggested he book a cruise to have something to look forward to. He and two of his neighbors are now booked.”
A travel advisor with Prestige Tours says, “We’re keeping constant communication with our clients via Facebook, e-mail, and phone calls.”
Bosse adds that she’s “working on three rooms for a past client” for travel to Jamaica in February during a school vacation. She’s also “moved four rooms in Walt Disney World from June to January.”
Jennifer Marshall Baptista, travel advisor with Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative says she, “Booked a 14-night Asia sailing for September! I didn’t see that coming, but people can’t be stopped from doing what they love.”
Though the quarantine might have halted plans for this year, it’s giving others time to plan upcoming events. Travel advisor Cindy Bebout Graves says she just booked a destination wedding with 16 rooms booked so far. They’re headed to Secrets Maroma at the end of 2020. She’s also working on a few re-bookings of cancelled cruises. “Clients are coming to me, I don’t go search for them,” she adds.
Jana Nickerson Williams didn’t lose a booking when a destination wedding was cancelled due to COVID-19. She says she moved the destination wedding group to 2021. “Wedding will take place locally in 2020 and a 1-year vow renewal celebration will take place in 2021 in the originally planned reservation.” Adding that she only lost two reservations with the date change.
PEOPLE STILL WANT TO TRAVEL…just not today.”
— Rodney George, Travel Advisor, Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative
Megan Austin also didn’t let a client go without celebrating a big milestone. Her client had an April 2020 sailing cancelled, so they booked a big one for 2021—booking a 40th anniversary cruise instead.
Christine Cribari Tribble with Londstrom Travel, says she had “one actual new booking and several re-bookings of cancelled trips.” Her new booking is a couple headed on an anniversary trip next May to an all-inclusive resort in Riviera Maya for five nights.
Parran also had milestone celebrations cancelled, but that’s not stopping her clients from celebrating. She says, “I had a big wedding in Cancun for May 7th and they have re-booked for Oct. 21st. I had a honeymoon booked in St. Lucia for May and they rebooked for end of July.”
Upgrades to Cancelled Trips
Others are using their FCC to upgrade their booking. Jennifer Honaker says she booked a client who had a cruise cancelled for a cruise in December, “and they upgraded to a Haven Suite,” she added. She is also working on a few other bookings for this fall and January, adding that her “clients are very excited.”
Audra Langton of Horizons Travel by Audra says she “booked back-to-back Celebrity cruises for January for a long time cruise client. Their back-to-back-to-back Mediterranean cruises for this month were cancelled and they were very eager to get on the ship,” she says.
Parran adds, “I also had lots of disappointed people who had to cancel in March and April, so they are rebooking for this fall. People want something to look forward to!”
Other advisors saved most of their bookings. Such as Danna Kimpel of Always Travel with Danna who says she has, “re-booked almost everyone from March, April, and May. I am working on three new bookings for November.” She also has a group looking forward to booking a trip for February. “I am hopeful things will keep improving,” she adds, “if we don’t get a second wave of illness.”
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