Personal Travel manager Janelle Beucker shares her story on what it’s like to be a home-based agent trying to make a living (and stay sane) through challenging times.
Explain to a home-based travel agent what self-isolation is and they will probably tell you that is what they do every day.
One thing we tend to be very good at is managing our time alone effectively.
On any given day you will find a home-based agent multitasking their way around a load of washing, school drop of and/or pick up, a meet up for a quick coffee with clients, putting together a complex itinerary or doing their own little happy dance because they’ve just sourced their client an AMAZING airfare.
Those alone times that are so often spent grooving away in our office chairs to our favourite 80’s playlist are now fraught with anxiety and concern for our clients, their current movements, if they’re aware of the situation at hand and, most importantly, how we can help them.
Heck, I’m even wondering if they’ll have enough loo paper when they get home!
It is in times like this that you will find these home-based agents united as we often share not only our experience and knowledge but our care for one another as we face an uncertain future with financial losses that are playing heavily on our mind. This time like many other times before we are no different.
Our love of all things travel is so great that we WAN’T to help, not only our regular clients but also by trying to provide solutions to those gorgeous google warriors that insisted they could do it themselves 6 months ago, only to now discover now that the amazing website they booked with only provides a robot chat function.
Now would also be a good time to give a SHOUT OUT to the partners and children of all travel agents, who, most likely, are sitting on the couch flicking through tv channels to entertain themselves while their respective other halves tap away at their computer trying to get their beloved clients and friends home.
Or they’re wading through pages and pages of policies and advice from wholesalers and airlines.
“The infamous C-word has shown us that you might not know how valuable a travel agent is until you’re 4 pages deep into the terms and conditions of a travel insurance PDS or Smart Traveller changes their travel advice to Level 4 – Do Not Travel.”
Meanwhile, the “powers that be” have press conferences and social media spirals out of control with rumours, hacks, solutions, and conspiracy theories we will be right where we need to be.
At our desks finding seats on planes to get our travellers home or sit on hold for hours negotiating with wholesalers and airlines the best outcome for you. As well as that we will ALWAYS be here to assist you with your next holiday, wherever and whenever that may be.
Together we will recover and I’m sure in time that the desire to travel will again flood through our inboxes with anticipation of far-flung adventures.
If you have made it to the end of my soapbox, I would like to thank you and ask you to consider the following:
With a young family of millennials, I know that the internet world loves to spread a good hashtag, so if you are able please spread the #togetherintravel hashtag as far and wide as you can and when ready again, find yourself a travel professional that will take great pride in looking after all your travel needs.
Never mind the panic cancelling. Where you are able, please be patient.
The situation is fluid and policies are being updated daily. Our aim is to watch and wait to get you the best possible outcome, and if we are able to keep your booking in place ready for the holiday of a lifetime after this bad Hollywood production you will be one of the first ones packing your bags.
Support comes in many forms.
When everybody is told not to travel overseas you might wonder how you can still support your travel agent or think there is no way you can support the local coffee shop with social isolation.
So may I suggest you ask if you can buy a gift voucher for future use or help by recommending them to a friend or sharing their website links or social media accounts.
It all helps.
Anyone who loves to travel usually also loves to share their stories predominantly with uninterested family members or an unsuspecting checkout operator who doesn’t care that you just spent 3 weeks exploring Europe by rail.
BUT, we do care and with your help, we can rise up through this challenging time and show the world (or at least everyone on our “friends” list) that we stand together.
The budget backpackers, the corporate highflyers, the sales reps, the hoteliers, the cruisers and the crew. The CEO’s 5-star pros and the domestic daredevils all together FOR and IN travel.
Together in travel, always.
Email: [email protected]
Got a story to share too? Get involved by writing a story, sharing a video, sending us a photo and telling us what you’re up to and how you are working through this challenging time.
Got tips and tricks to share, learnings and successes you have had? Lovely feedback from clients? We want to hear about it.
Use the #togetherintravel hashtag in your social media and share away to start a wave of goodwill.
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