I’m seeing some great signs post COVID, YRMV* | TravelResearchOnline

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I’m seeing some great signs post COVID, YRMV*

Good news is on the horizon. And you have no idea how happy I am to type that out after nearly 9 months of suffering the fiscal ramifications of COVID-19. As we have all likely heard, there are not one; but three vaccines which should be available to the general public within the next several months. The trick will be making sure our practices remain viable during what might be the most challenging period. But I am bullish and here’s why.

President-Elect Biden seems anxious to get another stimulus out. I am not sure the $1200 individual stimulus will be the difference between life and death for struggling agencies, but an additional round of business stimulus will be just what the business doctor ordered.

As part of the fallout from the Biden victory, the stock markets seem to have calmed down a bit and wild swings are no longer the norm, and they seem to be trending up—fingers crossed here since 2020 was a zero-sum game for most.

Cruises have been given a green light to sail—sort of.  The restrictions from the CDC are onerous, and most cruise lines have elected to delay until the new year. But according to the sales figures from Carnival and Royal Caribbean, there is significant demand to begin cruising. Personally, I am not seeing it in my practice but if the cruise lines can make a go of it, that is an encouraging sign.

Another (perhaps non-kosher) metric I have been watching is the open rates and click through rates on my newsletters. As most of us have, I have been keeping in touch with my clients and prospects over the past nine months. My newsletters have been mostly COVID informative and less travel centric. My goal was for them to simply remember who I was.  The last two newsletters have seen a 20% increase in open rates and an 18% increase in click through rates. Notably most of the click throughs are to travel links and not COVID info links. I will take that as a good sign.

And, my email account and voicemail have been indicators of good things to come.  I am not suggesting that my phone is ringing off the hook (as if phones today even ring or have hooks) and my inbox is flooded with travel requests. They aren’t. But I am getting inquiries about when we are going to start to do our groups again and when do I feel it will be safe to travel again.  People are thinking about it!  And that is a good sign.

Finally, I looked a bit deeper into the content of the emails and voicemails and what I am finding (*and here is where your results may vary) is that there is very little interest in international travel, cruising, or flying in general.  There does seem to be a significant push for group trips that are drivable in under 8 hours and (oddly enough) train travel. Eight hours in a car can cover a lot of ground.  And while that does not bode particularly well for the airlines or cruise lines from my clients, it does give me hope that things will turn the corner soon.

The signs are there. Look for them. Try to figure out what your clients are thinking in terms of travel and see how you can adapt your practice to accommodate those needs and desires.  Make no bones about it, travel on the other side of this will be markedly different than we have ever seen. We need to be sharp and laser focused to make sure we are in a position to seize whatever it may look like and make it work for us!

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and if you get a moment, click here –>and send Richard Earls an email to congratulate him on his first grandbaby–now THAT’S something to be thankful for!  Do that, and then go wash your hands!

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