Travel Advisors Important Now, More Than Ever In Post-Pandemic World
Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw
Travel is radically and almost unrecognizably different after the COVID-19 pandemic, and a competent travel agent can help navigate this strange new world of airlines, hotels and rental cars. That is why advisors are incredibly valuable now, more than ever, say experts.
It's a discovery a lot of travellers made at the start of the pandemic, when consumers who purchased travel through an online travel agency received no support when travel restrictions took over the globe.
Forbeswriter and consumer advocate Christopher Elliott rounded up the top advantages of using an advisor, especially now after the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some of those compelling reasons:
They understand where you're going The world will not open up all at once as the pandemic begins to subside. Advisors spend significant time becoming experts on specific destinations, says Sherry Sutton, the VP of marketing at Travel Insured International, so their detailed knowledge of countries, cities and processes will be "critical" for anyone looking to travel while restrictions are still in place.
They can hold your hand Even the most experienced globetrotters may be worried about travel while the coronavirus is still making the rounds. A travel agent can offer sound advice on destinations, travel requirements, quarantine measures in place, and safety. On top of that, "we know which vendors have been reliable at refunding clients," says Hilary Stockton, CEO of TravelSort.
They help you navigate the rules of travel A competent travel advisor is an expert on the rules and can help travellers navigate the ins and outs of post-coronavirus travel. "I've been asked questions on insurance, cancellation, and refund policies more than ever," says Andrea Norfolk, owner of Shoreline Destinations. "Our clients have shifted their focus from the bottom line cost of a trip to ensuring they are protected if they need to cancel or change their trip dates."
They're here for you 24/7 When you have a travel advisor, you're not travelling alone. "That is one of the things that really distinguishes a travel professional from the internet," says David Harris, CEO of Ensemble. "Whether it's a flight cancellation, problems at a hotel, or unexpected illness, a travel professional can quickly jump in and assess the situation and then navigate all the roadblocks to find a solution. And that has never been more apparent than during this current crisis."
They are problem solvers That's never been more important than now, when the travel industry is filled with problems. "The advisor's ability to listen and to lead with empathy is unmatched by the transactional nature of online booking platforms," says Michael Johnson, executive vice president of Travel Edge.
They can help you get a no-hassle refund if necessary "In the COVID situation, our expertise and attention to detail is of even more value. We took the pain of uncertainty from them by taking care of all their cancellations swiftly and putting their refund amount back in their bank," says Sangeeta Sadarangani, CEO of Crossing Travel.
Anna Kroupina Journalist
Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.