How to run a travel business when people can’t actually travel… and what you can do to help!

Mark Taylor on 24 March 2020

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The current global pandemic has given me a lot of free time and one positive is that I finally got around to writing my first blog. I always wanted my blogs to be personal to me and my travel experiences, and I suppose this one is, but not in the way I had hoped!

So how do you run a travel business when people can’t actually travel?

Firstly, you need a good sense of humour, a decent dose of positivity a dash of patience and ration of resilience – luckily, I have all four in abundance (well most of the time).

You also need money – I am self-employed and I’m very proud of the business I have built, but at the moment I am earning nothing. With cancellations and amendments over the coming weeks and months I could be in a position where I lose money – but, time will tell on that. It is what it is and it’s out of my control, so I don’t dwell on that too much.

You have to be flexible and agile - everyone in the travel industry is constantly reacting to the changing government & FCO advice. Information is changing so quickly and from multiple sources so I’ve always got know what’s going on so I can provide the best help and advice for my customers first and then help others wherever possible.

You need some help – I can honestly say every single Travel Counsellor I have spoken to has been in amazing spirits and they have been so helpful, head office staff have been brilliant and so responsive, they have allowed me to give the best possible service to my customers during these quite testing times.

You remember why you started this business in the first place – anyone who knows me knows I love to travel. From a young age, I was very fortunate to travel to some fantastic places with my grandparents, at the age of 19 I did my first season working away in Italy and since then have worked, back-packed and travelled to some beautiful and inspiring places, creating amazing memories along the way.

You inspire people wherever possible - in a time where we are going to be stuck in the house, my message must be one of positivity and inspiration and that's exactly what I'm going to do. Every day I am going to share beautiful images and experiences that transport you to far-flung places, exotic locations and idyllic destinations.

You focus on the future – this situation will pass and when it does everyone will be desperate to get away on holiday, my business will be booming – it is just a matter of when not if.

So, what can you do to help me?

Like, comment and share my marketing wherever possible – I’d like to think that I put decent content out that’s a mix of great offers, destination inspiration and good personal travel advice. At this time, I need to stay in my current and potential customers minds, so when all this blows over and they are desperate to get away on holiday they think of me first. Some great examples of this include… · I post a picture of a beautiful beach; you think ‘I’d much rather be there than stuck in my house’ – Like and comment saying as much

· You notice a friend/connection complaining about being stuck in and that they are desperate for a holiday – Like and tag me in their post

· If I find a great deal to a destination, resort or hotel that you or someone you know would love to visit – Like and share, even tag that person Facebook and other social media platforms limit the organic reach of business posts in favour of ‘paid for advertising’, so these small things can have a huge boost on my business without costing me a fortune while I earn very little. Where you can, do not cancel, please rebook or accept credit and keep on booking holidays for late 2020 and 2021. Do it all with a Travel Agent… preferably myself of course, as I will go out of my way to be here and support you when the going gets tough. Next time you are looking to book a holiday, please come to me first. A lot of the time I can match and beat the online and direct prices with my exclusive agent discounts and on the occasions where I can’t, you will be paying any difference to receive unrivalled personal service, care and attention to detail.

And finally, when talk of travel comes up in conversation please keep me in mind and refer me to anyone and everyone you know. My business is built on referrals and word of mouth, and even if you have never booked with me you can still help by telling others about me, my experience and how I can help with any type of travel planning.

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