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Pivoting For Travel Agents

Updated: Jan 29, 2022

What do you do as a Travel Agent now that the world of travel has changed? Here are some suggestions to move your business forward and pivot to success.

Pivoting; is described in the game of basketball as the action of stepping with one foot while keeping the other foot at its point of contact with the floor.

So how does pivoting relate to travel lovers and travel professionals? We can agree that the world has changed, and so has travel. Traveling provides respite from the day to day norm, something that we could all use right now. With the current situation, how do you obtain that same sense of relaxation and fun? How do travel professionals help clients get that in today’s world?

At the time of writing this article, countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, Bali and Barbados plus others are in lockdown, limiting the ability to venture very far outside your immediate bubble. As a travel professional, offering a service to your clients for some relaxation and fun, where it is considered safe, could be a welcome service as we navigate through the pandemic.

So how do you pivot? How do you keep one foot on the floor while pivoting in a new direction? Below are some basic ideas you could use to pivot your current travel business:

Local Outings. Are there families that may be interested in a day’s outing? Perhaps you could provide self-guided hikes in state/provincial parks, or scavenger hunt points they need to find on a trail or in that area? Find local restaurants open for take-out or dine in where the family can eat, preorder or make their reservation for them. Is there a couple looking for a date night for some alone time, what local hotels are open? Can you reserve a special dinner, a spa treatment, make suggestions on walks they can take, schedule cross-country skiing, bird watching?

Celebration Event Planning: Multi-generational celebrations are more important than ever, however, get-togethers are currently not safe. What can you organize virtually for your clients? If it’s a 50th Wedding Anniversary, can you organize a local restaurant to deliver food to the grandparents, while family members join safely from home with their own delivery? Can you have flowers or balloons sent to the anniversary couple to decorate their space? Maybe you virtually bring in a singer for some entertainment?

Organize Virtual Events: Do you know an author from whom you could organize a virtual reading for your clients? An artist who could organize a painting class for adults and/or children? A local brewery that could do a virtual tasting? Musicians who would be interested in doing a virtual concert? For those events needing equipment, make sure to organize the delivery of the products in advance. We recommend doing a test run with the presenter prior to the event to ensure they are comfortable speaking in public and are comfortable with Zoom, Google Teams or whatever platform you prefer to use.

Travel: For clients interested in making plans for future travel, what additional services can you offer to make it safer for them? Traveling is different now, with many new restrictions, but travel options are presenting themselves every day. Maybe that is private jet travel? There are several private jet operators working with adjusted pricing making this option viable. Private transfers, private villas, private retreats with chefs, and resorts that are spread out or with in-room amenities that keeps contact with others to a minimum (Jade Mountain Saint Lucia, Stillpoint Lodge Alaska). Maybe your clients are interested in working remotely in another country and need your advice and assistance with visa/passports, accommodations, COVID testing/quarantining and car rental. And remember to always insist on travel insurance.

*Since this blog was published I have heard from many Travel Agents that also suggest doing the research on Plan B for your clients. With daily changes to the situation, its a good idea to know where to send your clients if they test positive and need to isolate.

How Do You Charge For This Service? The question for many travel professionals is how can I feasibly develop these new areas for my travel business and pay my bills? Your time is valuable and as a travel professional, you are offering a service. Whether that’s a flat rate for scheduling a day’s excursion or you build a package with a service fee already included, you want to make it affordable while recognizing the value of your knowledge, time and contacts. You may even find some attractions/venues/artist that would be willing to pay you a commission for your services. Don’t be afraid to ask. In the wise words of Oprah, “When you undervalue what you do, the world will undervalue who you are.”

You have an opportunity to make a difference in your client’s life whether it’s booking their trips or organizing local excursions and virtual events for them. In return, you are helping them maintain their mental and physical health. It is time for us to pivot, while still keeping our foot on what we love to do.

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