Travel Agents

Tips for navigating your travel agency teams through COVID-19

Nicole O'Sullivan

Nicole O'Sullivan

There’s no doubt that the travel industry won’t be the same post-COVID-19. However, travel is not going to become extinct.

This is the time to really elevate our relationships with our customers and really play on the front foot with reaching out and engaging them now as travel starts to open back up slowly.

You see, COVID-19 has created a bit of a reactionary zone for the majority of businesses. Loads of travel itineraries that were locked and loaded for travel throughout the year are now suddenly needing to be either postponed or just straight out cancelled. So, as much as we sat back and watched the horror unfold, how could we have been proactive in contacting our customers first before the panic happened?

The new age of travel is going to be changed yet again, and this time, travel experts must step up to face the change front-on, and potentially change the way we engage our customers.

What businesses need to think about now is how to re-engage their customers and build trust that they are still very much valued, and that travel experts are not a step to skip when planning future travel.

With borders within Australia looking like they will lift soon, and travel between Australia and New Zealand could commence before July, travel businesses need to be proactive and really leverage their customer database and strengthen existing connections more than ever before.

The time is now to build on your own personal growth and skills. In my opinion, we need to invest in growing our emotional intelligence. Some of us have been feeling a flood of emotions through this pandemic, and when you learn how to control our emotions, you can derive more positive, productive meanings, even from seemingly negative situations.

You’ll also need to read the emotions of your customers, especially during these turbulent periods with frequent outbursts. So, being able to deal with these issues in a peaceful manner will be essential to keeping your business afloat during this chaotic flood and for building future business.

It’s also the time to upskill on domestic and New Zealand travel. Why would a customer need you to help them plan this sort of trip when they can do it online? This is why relationships, empathy and trust are going to be key to rebuilding post-coronavirus.

Staying connected is so important through these lockdowns. The majority of employees are focused solely on survival mode; the most basic level of our human needs. Bare necessities such as food, water, shelter, and money are the priority right now.

You need to embed a set of motivators if you want your leadership to remain effective throughout the global health issue. If you want to get results, then you need to have a deep understanding of what the individual employee is going through right now and show them ongoing support. So, more than ever, your actions are going to speak the loudest and mean the most to your people. Investing in your team’s growth is the best thing that you can do to prepare for the return of travel.

Be proactive and be ready for the boom, because it’s coming soon, and you want your business and people to be ready both mentally and professionally then help them navigate their feelings and emotions, and really elevate the support so they can help support your business for the future.

Nicole O’Sullivan is the director of travel industry consultancy Birds Eye View Consulting.


Featured image: iStock/blackred

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