First, a bomb exploded at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester on May 22nd. Then on June 2nd, a coordinated attack in central London has left 8 more dead. While it is still too early to know if they are connected, it is not too early to start planning on how the travel industry will (once again) deal with the risk of a terror attack in a destination that is usually deemed pretty safe.
With situations like these, travel professionals will once again be faced with challenging days in the future. And while our governments and militaries map out strategies to combat the terrorism; as small business owners, we need to insure that our businesses continue to thrive.
Clients will be fearful of travelling outside of their comfort zones (home). The US State Department likely will be issuing some strongly worded advisories against travel. We may see some increased security measures at airports worldwide. And our European bookings will likely take a hit. But as an industry, we can pull through. We have in the past, and we will again.
Remember that we never want to assure the safety of our clients—anything can and does happen; here, there, or anywhere. But we must not cower. We must proceed with caution and love.
What has happened in the United Kingdom can happen anywhere–a Paris theater, a nightclub in Bali, a marathon in Boston, a train station in Madrid, or an office tower in New York City. The solution is NOT to stop traveling. The solution is NOT to avoid giant areas of the world for the perceived threats. The long game is to keep travelling and making friends around the world and being an good ambassador for our nation.
Generally speaking, the world is resilient. These attacks are relatively isolated. The United Kingdom is no more dangerous today than it was at the beginning of May. The law enforcement, military, and governments will likely heighten their response and preparations for any future attacks.
Remember back to any of the prior acts of terrorism–Madrid in 2004, London in 2005, America in 2001. We all tightened our security, got the bad guys, and carried on. London and Manchester will as well.
Many of your clients will likely look to cancel their trips to the UK with a population of 65 million to stay home in a country of 321 million where more and 92 people per day die from gun violence. There is some perspective for you!
The message is clear, and it is a message we need to convey to our clients. Because of an isolated act of terror, we cannot be held hostage. As travel professionals, we need to rise to the top and provide the guidance demanded by our clients. Help them make the best decision for themselves. Provide alternatives such as a different point of view or perhaps a different destination if needed. Of course, if their minds are made up–work with them. No one wants to be on a trip to where you add to your stress level.
Most clients will be influenced by social and traditional media, which likely will work to their (and our) disadvantage. The decision to travel is ultimately theirs—help them come to the right choice for theirselves.
Thoughts? Suggestions? Crystal balling? Any idea on what the future holds? Leave a comment!