No doubt we have seen some pretty dark storm clouds hanging over travel the past few months. We have an economy that threatened to go comatose and the worst unemployment in decades. Worldwide, the news media seems bent on making Mexico, Thailand and Greece off limits. Then there’s that ash cloud and an oil slick in the Gulf the size of Connecticut. It’s still early in the year so no one is yet uttering the word “influenza,” but give them time. As Gilda Radner said, “It’s always something.”
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But when the going gets tough, the tough market harder. While I agree that the convergence of all this bad news seems biblical in proportion, there is also an almost ironic silver lining. This is a great time to travel. Pricing has never been better. Upgrades are plentiful. The crowds are thin and the locals appreciative. I think this is a situation you can sell.
True, we tend to be timid travelers. Lured into a state of fear by the news media, many of your clients are going to be leery of travel. However, there are a lot of people who will see through the media hype and understand that this is a great time to take advantage of a contrarian mentality. I assure you that wherever two are three are gathered, at least one of the three understands that now would be an excellent time to see Ireland, or Greece or any one of a dozen places they have been wanting to visit but were waiting for the right deal to come along.
Write an article for your local newspaper, or your newsletter. Look for a speaking engagement. Be the local expert for your community, a voice of reason. Don’t minimize the risk. Yes, you can get sick if you travel, but you can get sick if you stay at home, too. Greece is a bargain right now. If you want to go to Mexico, avoid Villanueva, if you can find it, but Cancun has seen no drug violence. If you want to stay in a Four Seasons, now is a good time. Your mission is to help people travel in the best of times and the worst of times. This is not the worst of times. It’s the flu, folks. Some of your clients will understand, and it’s your job to determine which clients see the silver lining and want to travel.