Like most of the travel agent community, TravelManagers’ Kerrin Poupos worked tirelessly through the first half of this year to bring clients home, cancel or postpone future bookings and generally redress the chaos created by COVID.
Now, she has shifted her focus to rebuilding her business with a domestic lens and a fresh mindset that’s all about growth, learning and reigniting her passion for the industry and career she has loved for more than 16 years.
“It has been a tough year for agents,” Poupos said.
“Back in April and May, it just hit me like a wave that our whole world was crashing down around us – to be honest I was really struggling for quite a few weeks.
“Then, I decided it was a case of sink or swim, so I started to think about what I could do to rebuild and get back to what I love: selling travel.”
The TravelManagers PTM began by focusing on product training, working her way through the steady stream of suppliers’ emails which, in the past, she said she had always skimmed over.
Poupos also worked with TravelManagers’ marketing team, learning how to improve her website and create her own e-newsletters while researching products, working with suppliers and putting together her own packages to offer to clients.
“It’s been a lot of work, and I still dedicate one day a week to marketing and training, but it’s working,” she said.
Working indeed: Poupos is thrilled to report that she has taken a steady number of bookings in recent months. These include a variety of walking tours and cruise holidays within Australia and, in anticipation of international borders reopening some time in 2021, further afield.
“My advertising on social media has resulted in two bookings to Uluru, two Contiki Australia bookings and a group on a Bay of Fires walking tour,” she said.
“I’ve also sold three cabins on a 43-night Cunard world cruise, seven cabins on a Cunard domestic cruise for 2022 and three cabins on a Ponant luxury small-ship cruise to the Kimberly,”
Although Poupos believes 2021 will be predominantly a domestic market, the TravelManagers PTM is looking forward to the time when she is once again selling and travelling internationally.
For now though, her focus is on ensuring that she keeps up to date with what is on offer within Australia.
“I love hiking, so I have developed and printed my own brochure on Aussie walking tours,” Poupos said.
“I am also working on my own personal newsletters, the first of which went out to clients last week showcasing a variety of amazing Aussie travel experiences.”
Like many of her agents, Poupos has expressed her gratitude for the ongoing support of her clients, many of whom call her regularly to check in.
“Many of my clients have become friends over the years, thanks to a mutual love of travel and many shared experiences,” she said.
“For now, it’s lovely to meet up for coffee or lunch and a chat, but I know that once the borders open, many of them are itching to book their next holiday!”
With sales on the books for well into 2022, Poupos is happy to report that she’s got her mojo back and has a positive outlook for her future in travel.
“We have so many dedicated and passionate PTMs, and such a supportive and helpful national partnership fffice team, that I am confident TravelManagers will not just survive this, but re-emerge stronger than ever,” she said.