Personal Travel and the Covid-19

By Darci Murray

The support is amazing!

Yoda checking in on Travel Agents


Over the last couple of weeks, it has been amazing to see how many people have come out of the woodwork to check in on their travel agent friends and those in the travel industry. On the 12th of March 2020 one of our travel agents was sent this YODA picture. On March 12th we truly needed checking in on. Thankfully, we were so obliviously busy helping our clients get home that the devastation of what was happening to our careers, our livelihood was not setting in. It started with Princess Cruise Lines stopping all ships from sailing and within 3 days it seemed like all travel had shut down completely. Clients were our top priority and they were extremely thankful for the help getting them back home, safe, even with the minute by minute border closings and increasing COVID-19 infections. This is what we do as travel agents.

Ridiculous wait times


On March 14th our agency was scheduled for a social media post and we simply had no words, ideas, hope or strategies, all we could come up with was a question mark with a note saying ‘Stay Tuned’. Our Travel Agents spent the entire weekend on the phone. Hold times to help clients were ridiculous. Agents were waiting over 5 hours only to be disconnected and having to start again. The most beautiful thing in all this chaos was the humor that was coming from agents on our What’s App chat group. Hold times turned into an agent competition as to who could accomplish the most while on hold. Agents were cleaning their fridges, freezers, washing baseboards, cooking meals all while anxiously waiting on hold to HELP. They were helping people that were not even their clients. Friends of friends that were stuck and panicking in a country that was foreign to them. Personal Travel Management was bringing people home.

Philips Q and A series


As the dust settled a bit, we had agents shining in their areas of expertise to help their colleagues out in time of need. Our agent Jenny Revesz is a talented public speaker who recently completed a Dale Carnegie course. Jenny took the challenge of speaking to news reporters on behalf of Personal Travel Management. Agent Christine Boecker who’s own personal trip to Africa was canceled due to the epidemic was also featured in a news article. Our agent Lisa Derby went live on the CBC to answer people's COVID-19 travel questions. On March 21st agent Robyn Bentley made our team proud with the newsletter she wrote to travelers explaining the situation from our perspective. Katie Webster, is one of the newer members to our Personal Travel Management team and with a background in coaching she graciously offered coaching services to her colleagues that were feeling the need to strategize. Someone on our team suggested that we take this time and ask clients for testimonials. What a difference positive affirmations make to our moral! If you are a client of Personal Travel Management and would like to make a testimonial, please do send this to the agent you worked with and express how they made your latest trip so much more enjoyable. Our agent Philip Beck recently executed a Q and A series that has received much attention. On March 23rd he published a beautiful piece focusing on the pandemic. Do yourself a favor and sign up for Philip’s Q and A series you won’t be disappointed.

Since starting to work from home Personal Travel Management is having staff meetings via Zoom. The meetings have been super inspirational! Our team has strongly bonded in the face of adversity through humor, videos, recipes, meme’s, updates, self-care challenges and simply checking in with one another. We are choosing not to live in the doom and gloom of the pandemic. We are choosing to see this as a time to improve our skills and take advantage of all the educational tools that are available and just make us even better at what we do! There are a couple of things we are certain will happen once the pandemic clears.

Travelers who prior to COVID-19 chose not to work with a Travel Professional, will be using a Travel Professional. They have witnessed first-hand the benefits of having a Travel Agent on their side.
Travelers will likely no longer be traveling without travel insurance. They now recognize the importance of all-inclusive travel insurance plans.
Once travel starts again the opportunities will be unbelievable.
Travelers will have cabin fever. Once this is all over they will be GRATEFUL and ready to take that trip of a lifetime.
Serious travelers will be taking advantage of the 'cancel up to 30 days prior with no penalties' offers that are coming out and WHY NOT! Book that perfect cabin on your dream cruise! Take advantage of the giveaways they are offering. There is nothing to lose!

COVID-19 has indirectly been a crash course educating the public on the value of using a Travel Professional. We are confident that society now sees just how important it is to work with a Travel Agent when traveling. We are there for our clients. We will pick up the phone or answer an email when clients need help in any and all situations. Don’t be surprised if you hear from our team to discuss future travel plans. Our agents are proudly wearing their TRAVEL – BECAUSE YOU CAN t-shirts while working with clients in this crazy time. TRAVEL – BECAUSE YOU CAN is our tag line, our slogan, it is an inspirational message that is multi-generational. You may not be traveling today but you will be soon, and our team is 100% available to help you with those travel plans.