Perspective and Lessons Learned through the COVID-19 Pandemic as a Travel Professional
An Interview by Andy Ogg, CTIE, Co-Owner – Travel Professional News
Would you mind sharing a bit about yourself and your Agency with our readers?
I’m an avid traveler and share my love of travel through GoPro videos. I’m a proud Cruise Planner franchise owner and operate as https://www.mrcruising.com/.
Where are you located?
How did you become a Travel Professional?
I love to cruise! I started out taking GoPro videos on cruise ships and posting them on my personal social media accounts. I got a call one day from a top franchise travel owner who had seen my videos, and eventually, he hired me as his associate to work under his franchise. After about a year-and-a-half, I had built up a solid client base and decided to open my own franchise. I ultimately left my original franchise company and went to Cruise Planners because of their excellent technology and support.
How long have you been in the travel industry?
Since June 2018
How long have you been running your Agency?
After working about a year-and-a-half as an associate, I switched over to Cruise Planners in and started my own agency in January 2020
Do you work with a Host Agency? If so, which Host Agency?
I own and operate my own Cruise Planners franchise, which gives me even more benefits than a host agency model.
2020 started off with a bang with WAVE season followed by the COVID-19 pandemic. What a year it has been already! Can you share a bit about how the recent situation has affected your business?
It hasn’t been the easiest time to be in travel, but we all need to keep client’s best interest in mind. I’ve been focused on walking them through their options to postpone versus cancel out right. Now more than ever it’s important to think about the lifetime value you offer your clients, it’s not about making a short-term sale.
As much as I want to have a profitable business, I must do the right thing for my clients even if that means postponing or rebooking itineraries.
With cancellations (hopefully) behind you, how are you spending your time during this time of Travel Bans and “stay at home” warnings?
I’ve spent my time making the most from all the resources Cruise Planners offers its franchise owners. I’ve been able to tune into Tech Live webinars led by Brian Shultz, Chief Information Officer. I also participate in biweekly senior-level webinars with Michelle Fee (CEO) and Vicky Garcia (COO) who host guest speakers from major travel suppliers like Norwegian Cruise Lines, Globus Family of Brands, and Celebrity Cruises. I am so impressed with the level of communication and support from the entire Home Office Team. I’m also constantly in touch with my clients who may need assistance or just some emotional support.
As an experienced Travel Professional, do you have any advice or tips for other Travel Professionals during this challenging time?
It’s important to address each clients’ needs individually. What may be a good solution for one client may not be the best answer for another. By fully understanding all the options, you can advise your client and help them make the best decision, whatever that may be. Now more than ever, it’s important to think about the lifetime value you can offer your clients not make a short-term sale.
Can you share a few suppliers / partners that have truly helped you and your clients in this challenging time?
All partners have truly helped make this challenging time a bit easier by posting updates to their policies online as well as participating in Cruise Planners webinars to share their latest internal updates.
Through these times, we all learn a lot about ourselves and our businesses, can you share a few things that you’ve learned through this current pandemic either personally, professionally or both?
The most important thing I’ve learned through this situation is the value of trust. My clients trust me to advise them in making difficult decisions. I trust my franchise Home Office Team to give me the most up to date supplier partner information as well as the latest tools to make my business sustainable such as e–newsletters, pre-drafted social media posts, and thoughtful messaging for my clients. I have trust in myself to make this business successful even during this difficult time because of my expertise and passion for travel.
Before we conclude, I personally want to thank you for your time and information shared today. We appreciate your involvement in our publication!