This topic is more than the elephant in the room; it’s the entire zoo in the room. It is all anyone is talking about, thinking about, and frankly worrying about.
Is there reason to worry? YES?
Of course, you must be cautious and aware of what is happening (not like we have a choice).
Some say all we need to do to avoid the spread of this virus is to wash our hands… a lot. So, that is what we’ll do.
When it comes to our business, though, the mass hysteria has a much more significant impact. People are so fearful they are buying every package of toilet paper available and they are canceling ANY and ALL future travel plans into the fall. Great for toilet paper companies, terrible for us travel agents. Agents are losing thousands of dollars worth of commission that they worked very hard to earn and for no fault of their own, watching it fly out the door, and out of their bank accounts.
When looking at social media, it is a blend of messages: “Calm down and wash your hands” to “More people die of obesity every minute than have died from corona” and “This is a serious threat to humanity, and you better not leave your house.” The crazy “ Corona beer sales are suffering because of this virus”… How are our clients supposed to know what to do? Understandably, a lot of them are going to error on the side of caution. After all, people are dying from this.
But this is our livelihood; this is how we make our living, this is the industry that despite this we love. So, what can we do to help save this situation? We are in this together, and with team efforts, hopefully, we can salvage this.
Here are some ideas to help us all get through this time with our sanity, our clients, and our livelihood.
1) Remain calm yourself. Take precautions to keep yourself healthy, of course, but try to remain calm and be realistic with the information. Don’t let the media cause you to panic.
2) Don’t act like nothing is happening. It would be silly if we keep sending messages of travel without the acknowledgment of what is happening. If you do that, people will think 1) you are clueless 2) just trying to pretend it isn’t happening. Be honest and upfront, but don’t perpetuate the hysteria.
3) A lot of suppliers are trying to mediate the losses for everyone and make the reality of this situation ending one day an opportunity for people who are willing to overlook their fear right now. They are offering flexible fares, flexible deposits, and sales. Get to know these offers and talk about them with your clients. Be realistic that this will end eventually, and wouldn’t they want to be able to take advantage of these amazing once in a lifetime offers?
4) Dare I say, keep traveling yourself? We mean, stay away from certain areas where this virus is at its worst, but if your clients still see YOU traveling, maybe they will start to wonder and start to believe that the hype and hysteria is being blown slightly out of proportion.
5) Believe that this WILL pass, one day. This whole situation will not be a cause for concern for forever. This too shall pass…. So hang onto that. Hang on to the belief that with some time, they will figure this out, and at this point, we don’t have control over any of this. Stay realistic but positive.