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On April 30, Travel Leaders Network (TLN) hosted a virtual briefing on recent developments for the company and the outlook for the travel industry. John Lovell, president of Travel Leaders Group; Roger Block, president of Travel Leaders Network; Stephen McGillivray, chief marketing officer of Travel Leaders Group; and Lindsay Pearlman, senior vice president of international leisure for Travel Leaders Network, were all on hand to offer insight.
A key takeaway from the briefing was the noteworthy growth that Travel Leaders Group experienced in 2020, with 64 new agencies joining year to date. What’s more, the pandemic resulted in increased engagement and education among advisors, with TLN seeing record numbers of attendance in webinars and workshops (with more than 22,000 registrations in 2020), as well as enrollment in specialist certifications (with 514 new enrollments for the year).
While the executives acknowledged the hardships that the travel industry continues to face, they also noted a number of positive signs for the return of travel.
While speaking about the outlook for the resumption of cruising, Lovell said that while passenger count is still down 86%, he sees a light at the end of the tunnel now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released updates to the Conditional Sailing Order that could allow for cruises from the U.S. to restart as soon as July.
“I think it begs the question: How quickly can we get up and going?” he said of the recent announcement, adding that he believes many cruise lines have been working toward the July goal and “are ready to go.”
McGillivray, meanwhile, delivered the welcome news that TLN is seeing signs of an impending uptick in travel, as well as increasing demand for travel advisors. Year-to-date organic search traffic to TLN’s website rose 10 percent compared to 2020, and over the past 30 days, began coming back to 2019 levels.
“Customers are back to looking, searching and wanting help [with travel planning],” McGillivray said.
When discussing ongoing efforts to support TLN members, the speakers highlighted some recent initiatives that help provide clients with peace of mind as they plan their next trips. The Book With Confidence program, which was introduced in Q2 of 2020, includes the 57-page Vacation Health and Safety Guide, which advisors can reference as well as share with clients; the Advisor Protocols Checklist tool, which helps advisors with documentation of all the health and safety protocols being implemented by suppliers; and marketing assets, such as the Book with Confidence logo.
TLN is also featuring Sharecare and Forbes Travel Guide’s Verified hotels through its Stay With Confidence initiative, highlighting properties that have been assessed for compliance with global health security standards.
The ultimate message for the travel industry at this time, according to Lovell?
“We all need to stick together,” he said. “We are in this together; we’ve always been in it together.”
The DetailsTravel Leaders Networkwww.travelleadersnetwork.com