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As the travel industry struggles to adapt and pivot with the uncertain and changing times we are facing, consortia and host agencies are working overtime to support travel advisors.
With this series (check out parts one and two), TravelAge West is highlighting just how these organizations are aiding agents during the COVID-19 crisis.
In the third installment, Roger E. Block, president of Travel Leaders Network, discusses how the group is assisting its agency owners and encouraging the industry to get involved to solve each day’s new challenges.
How is the organization supporting members during the coronavirus pandemic? Some of the things we have been doing at Travel Leaders Network for our advisors include providing them with talking points on — and links to — the latest information that can assist them in conversations with clients and the media; compiling supplier updates across all sectors and distributing those several times a day; organizing webinars and town halls featuring top experts in travel medicine, risk management and travel insurance, as well as our business leaders and industry consultants; increasing training opportunities for advisors; and establishing a high-profile area on our intranets where all pertinent information is posted.
We are also providing sample client communications for advisors to send; compiling an agency toolkit with resources such as scripts, on-hold messages, social media graphics and more; sending video messages from leaders; working with the American Society of Travel Advisors to get assistance for advisors, submit congressional testimony, send several letters to key government officials for agency relief and contacting state government officials; and providing a resource guide about the Small Business Association and other loans, grants and financial assistance programs.
Additionally, our field staff is staying in close contact with our agency owners to provide whatever resources or information we have available. We are also sending regular messages to all our advisors with any information we think may be helpful.
Why are advisors so crucial right now?People are very concerned about their businesses, but I have been impressed by the extent to which our advisors will go to assist their clients throughout all the travel disruptions. At times like these, the value of booking with an agent becomes increasingly apparent. Right now, while some travelers may be Googling the right contacts or waiting on hold, our advisors are handling all the arrangements with airlines, cruise lines, tour operators, hotels and ground transportation companies on behalf of their clients. In addition, throughout our network, we see a lot of advisors tapping each other for inspiration and support.
Travel Leaders Group is requesting immediate assistance for the tens of thousands of travel agency businesses around the country in danger of shutting down. Without the survival of this essential element of the distribution channel, a travel industry recovery would be next to impossible.
We understand that our advisors are very nervous, and we are doing everything to support them by staying in constant communication. In addition, at Travel Leaders Group, we submitted letters to the Trump administration and are lobbying Congress about why travel agencies need to be among the industries receiving direct financial assistance from the government.
How can advisors stay informed and get involved?We encourage agents to keep in touch with their consortium or franchise network and take advantage of the materials and resources they are providing. Our financial resources guide helps advisors find loans and grants to help them manage their cash flow and operate their businesses. We also urge advisors to contact public officials directly to request assistance for travel agencies by visiting ASTA.org.
We all know that travel suppliers are highly dependent on advisors. As the government takes action on a relief package for the travel industry, Travel Leaders Group is requesting immediate assistance for the tens of thousands of travel agency businesses around the country in danger of shutting down. Without the survival of this essential element of the distribution channel, a travel industry recovery would be next to impossible. Please help us get the word out.
The DetailsTravel Leaders Networkwww.travelleadersnetwork.com