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In the latest Need to Know research from TravelAge West, 40% of travel advisors report knowing a colleague who has left the industry due to the current pandemic, highlighting the devastating effect that COVID-19 has had on advisors. In addition, according to the online survey (which was conducted July 6-12 and included more than 600 responses), a little more than one-third of respondents (34%) have considered leaving the industry themselves.
Steve Orens, president of Plaza Travel in Woodland Hills, Calif., says he is surprised by the survey results.
“My staff and I know people who have been terminated, but I don’t think we know anyone who has left by their choice,” he said.
Certainly, a cause of concern for advisors is when they can expect business to get back to normal. About two-thirds (64%) of advisors expect that to happen in 2021, with a significant number (29%) not expecting a rebound until 2022 or beyond.
Dealing with the current business environment is clearly top of mind for many advisors. When asked what information would be most useful in keeping them in business, the top response is “reducing overhead costs/managing your business” (37%) followed by “finding new customers” (24%).
Advisors are also looking for help from their supplier partners. Approximately seven in 10 (71%) say that suppliers should be doing more to help advisors stay in business. But when asked how suppliers can help, the answers are split, with 22% saying they need less rigid cancellation or refund policies and 22% wanting more joint marketing funds. These responses are followed by “more detailed health and safety information” (19%); “reduced rates and special promotions” (19%); and “bigger commissions/commissions paid upon final payment” (18%).
Orens says that, for the most part, he feels companies are doing the best they can in a difficult situation.
“While I do know of some troubling examples of suppliers falling short, I think overall most of them have been accommodating,” he said. “This is just my point of view, but so many supplier policies have been adjusted to be more flexible.”
“Need to Know” is a new weekly research series from TravelAge West that tracks the responses of advisors as they relate to various travel trends and topics. This survey recorded the responses of 636 advisors across the U.S. Click here to see more Need to Know stories.