Although it’s familiar at this point – a new variant announced, voicemails and inboxes flooded with concerned messages, possible cancelations and much hesitation – it’s still just as frustrating as the first time COVID-19 introduced itself to the travel industry in the spring of 2020.
The Omicron variant is the newest COVID variant, making its appearance just over a month ago, and it brought with it more disruption to the struggling travel industry. Some destinations have updated entry requirements; several cruise itineraries have been canceled, and concerns have crept into the minds of people hoping to plan trips this winter.
Amid all of this Omicron chaos, what are travel advisors supposed to do? While hanging up your boots and finding another profession might seem like the solution, just remember you’ve made it through other stages of this pandemic, and you’ll make it through this one too.
The first step in selling travel amid the new variant is having patience. It’s not easy, but just remember that everyone processes new information differently – and what might seem minuscule to you could be life-changing for a client.
Even if a new prospect is calling you with concerns prior to planning a trip, it doesn’t mean they aren’t going to book. They are contacting you, which means they want to travel.
Another crucial step to travel planning right now is staying up to date with the ever-changing travel restrictions and protocols. Have go-to COVID-19 resources bookmarked in your browser to easily access during conversations.
Make sure you’re familiar with the protocols and be sure not to belittle or exaggerate. If you’re sharing accurate information, your clients will be able to make informed decisions regarding their travel plans. If there’s something you’re not sure about, be honest and assist in gathering the correct info.
When it comes time to book travel, preplanning is also vital in this era. Make sure your clients have a travel insurance policy attached to their trip and that they’re familiar with what it does and does not include. Also, ensure they know what they need to do if cancelation is necessary as the trip gets closer.
Finally, don’t lose hope. A lot has been thrown at the travel industry, and travel advisors in particular, over the past two years. This is just another hurdle in the overall path to recovery. People are still traveling. There are still plenty of safe ways for your clients to vacation right now, and now more than ever they are looking to you to help them get there.