There is no doubt that all travel advisors are going through some challenging times. With travel on pause and the imminent risk of catching COVID travellers are approaching travel with precaution. Itinza had the opportunity to speak to Tannis Dyrland about her thoughts on the industry, future implications, and share tips on making it through the pandemic. Tannis Dyrland, a travel agent on The Travel Agent Next Door has over 14 years of experience specializing in adventure travel and runs her own website with blogs about her travel adventures. She lives in Calgary, Alberta and has a deep rooted love for travelling and discovering new places. One of the most important lessons that the pandemic has taught her is that travel, the one thing she never thought could be taken away, was. Here are some key points all travel advisors should take in.
Future of the Travel Industry
While speaking to Tannis, we could feel the excitement in her voice as she spoke about her upcoming trip to Mexico with her family, which undoubtedly got excited at the idea of being able to lie on a bright sunny beach halfway across the world. Although travel can be risky, she is determined to show her followers and everyone else that travel is still here and that if the necessary precautions are taken, it is possible to have a short getaway. One of the key points Tannis mentioned was that Covid, in the grand scheme, could be beneficial for parts of the travel industry. It has forced strict cleaning guidelines on major airlines to look at the small details and ensure a higher standard “clean” and “safe” which has changed procedures and standards. All in all, these new guidelines have forced companies to do what they should have done long ago, which has positive implications for the cleanliness of travel.
What Can Travel Advisors do now
“Travel advisors are like insurance”- Tannis. More now than ever, it is important for travellers to consult a travel advisor for their upcoming trips, especially when travelling internationally. It cannot be stressed enough the important part you as a travel advisor must play for safe travel post-covid. Tannis recommends maintaining contact with your current clients and really fostering your relationships. This could mean reaching out, checking up how they are doing, or sending them important updates pertaining to their interests. Everyone is in the same place and showing genuine interest and concern for your travellers’ well-being is necessary to maintain and foster these relationships.
“I am not working on attracting new clients but rather making a point to check in with my clients not about travel, but how they really are.”
Currently she is leveraging her social media presence to expand her outreach while maintaining online engagement with her current clients. Travel advisors can document their past travels to inspire clients to start planning future travel ideas. Since travel has come to a stop, staying active and engaged on all forms on social media can help remind travellers that travelling isn’t gone, it's just around the corner.
The restoration of the travel industry
One of the many questions weighing heavily on the minds of travellers and travel professionals is how long until the travel industry can completely recover from the effects of Covid. According to Tannis it will take “a very, very, very long time” about “10 years” for the state of the travel industry to rehabilitate. Although sounds very discouraging, travel advisors will play a valuable part in aiding this process. It is important for travel advisors to show that travel can be safe by either documenting their personal travel or showing travellers examples of those current travellers. Furthermore, the more information a travel advisor can provide to their clients regarding the host country, travel restrictions, level of risk, etc. the more open your clients will be to exploring the option of travel. The role you play and your attitude towards travel will directly impact those of your clients, which once again stresses the importance of relationship building and social media engagement.
Insights into the travel industry
We concluded the interview by asking Tannis some of the important insights she had of the future of the travel industry to which she responded with optimism and hope for a better travelling quality and standards. “Companies can take a step back and say where did we come from? It has forced companies to look at what really matters and realize that bigger is not always better.” Holding especially true for bigger airlines, there has been a drastic change in their operating procedures to ensure the safety of their passengers by reducing the number of passengers and other cleanliness standards. Travel advisors should highlight these changes to travellers in order to reduce anxiety caused by travelling as most travellers will fail to notice the positives among all the negative consequences.
“Smaller quality is better than bigger quantity”
Itinza would like to extend a big thank you to Tannis for speaking to us and sharing her insights with other travel advisors. Be sure to check out Tannis' website here! Whether you are looking for travel advisors in the same industry or searching for new travel ideas and insights into the travel industry click here to read some of our other blogs, and here for our global travel directory to stay connected.