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For the past few months, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced members of the travel industry to adapt to a new landscape while finding innovative ways to keep their businesses afloat.
Steven Gorga, who has held multiple leadership roles in the industry for the past 25 years, was recently named executive vice president of P. Jason King Associates Inc., an executive search and consulting firm dedicated to the travel industry. Here, he explains how Travel Matchmakers, part of the company’s consulting division, can help travel advisors who are interested in acquiring or selling an agency.
What does Travel Matchmakers do for travel advisors?Travel Matchmakers is [the part of the business] where we focus on buying and selling. Advisors can call, send an email or fill out a form about their company on our website if they’re interested in selling their agency, which will provide us all the information we need about the company, such as how large it is and the demographics of the business. For travel agents unsure of what to do, we offer a free consultation to help them think through the process. Is it a good time to sell? Is it a good time to buy? Then, we can talk through the options with the seller.
What happens after a buyer expresses interest in selling their travel agency?We literally matchmake. So, if we are talking to somebody who is interested in selling, and we find a buyer who is interested in buying a company like the one that’s selling, we introduce the two. It’s totally confidential; we don’t release any names until the seller is ready. We have spoken to hundreds of agencies over the past few months, and we know who is interested in selling, who may be interested in selling and what they are looking for. We also speak to the buyers and know what they are looking for, as well. So, we introduce them to each other and try to match the buyer to the seller as best as possible.
What advice do you have for advisors who may be thinking of selling their business?Keep your sanity and try to stay calm. Make sure the decisions you’re making won’t cause any regrets, and that you do what’s right for yourself, your family and your employees. At a time like this, a lot of people are frantic, emotionally distressed and upset. I want them to remember that the industry is going to come back — and their business is going to come back. It’s going to take some time, but they should remember to be patient and make sure they’re doing the right things that a company needs to do to be successful.
At a time like this, a lot of people are frantic, emotionally distressed and upset. I want them to remember that the industry is going to come back — and their business is going to come back.
What is important to keep in mind about the current market, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic?For most people, 2019 was a record-breaking year. From a travel industry point of view, things were going very well. I think most agencies and travel companies were having their best year ever. And in 2020, I assume, many people are having their worst year ever.
However, in a year like this, it’s a good time for buyers. Everyone wants a deal, but especially in the travel industry. Buyers certainly are not going to have to spend what they would have in 2019. For people who are selling, this could be the opportunity of a lifetime, because there’s a lot of people looking to buy.
However, in a year like this, it’s a good time for buyers. Everyone wants a deal, but especially in the travel industry.
If you’re selling, you need to remember not to worry too much about your performance in 2020, because everybody is in the same boat. Instead, show how your company did in the past few years.
Tell us a bit about P. Jason King’s newest initiative to help the industry recover from COVID-19.The goal with the COVID-19 recovery program will be to help travel agents recover from the impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on their business.
We’ll help advisors with their customers and their suppliers, and look at their entire business to help them bounce back as the travel industry returns. And we can help them get ready if in fact they want to sell in a year or two.
The DetailsTravel Matchmakerswww.travelmatchmakers.com