Wallace Pierson Travel
Ange Wallace, CTC
May 4, 2020
May 6, has been designated as Travel Advisor Appreciation Day. This year has been a true test of the core values of the professional travel advisor. In January the industry was in full steam ahead as a majority of the year’s travel is booked in November to March each year. By the end of January whispers of COVID-19 in China began to disrupt the travel industry. In February the travel industry was in emergency mode trying to get clients home where necessary, trying to help other clients decide to travel or not while travel insurance companies distanced themselves from any coverage of the now pending pandemic.
By the first of March it felt like whiplash trying to keep up with the warp speed of travel changes as country after country began closing their borders and trip after trip began to cancel. First order of business was to get all the clients home across closed borders! Then began the task of “trip triage”! Travel professionals were now placed in the role of staying up on every companies cancellation policies, insurance issues, health issues and more as they carefully assisted clients in deconstructing the trips they so had carefully built. Timing was everything in maximizing the refund/future travel credits for each client. For some it meant counseling patience while waiting for the trips to be cancelled by the travel provider. This often meant negotiating with the cruise or tour company to delay final payment to avoid investing more money yet avoid cancelling in a penalty phase before the cruise/tour company cancelled the departure. Calling on relationships forged through years in the industry allowed many more successful outcomes.
All of this work was being done by professionals who knew that their own pay check was going down to near nothing with each cancelled trip. Most of a travel advisor’s compensation has traditionally come from the travel company upon completion of their clients travels. This year as we celebrate these travel professionals, I especially want to recognize our staff at Wallace Pierson for the many times I have seen them go above and beyond for their valued clients. I applaud Lynann, Tracy, Debbie, and Angela not only for their professionalism under fire, but for the beautiful, caring people they are everyday.