“Move your dates, don’t cancel.”
Move it, don’t lose it from Travel Weekly
That has been the mantra of late at VIP Vacations in Bethlehem, Pa., where president Jennifer Doncsecz said advisors are doing their best to encourage clients not to cancel trips.
“Thankfully, we are very busy doing that instead of simply canceling everything,” Doncsecz said.
As the Covid-19 coronavirus has spread, most advisors have reported at least some impact to their business and to forward bookings.
Doncsecz has been trying to mitigate that by encouraging clients to move their travel dates. Many suppliers are waiving change costs, she said, making it an attractive option for travelers.
It’s also attractive for advisors. In addition to maintaining the booking, it could save a phone call down the road, Doncsecz said. Instead of calling to cancel and then potentially spending time rebooking the client down the road, when they agree to change their dates, it becomes one phone call.
Doncsecz is particularly encouraging advisors to urge changes, not cancellations, so travel remains within the grasp of most.
She recalled the travel industry post-9/11, when companies from airlines to tour operators went out of business.
“The fewer options, the less competitive and the more expensive it gets,” she said.
Deals are good now, but “the only time it’s a good deal is in the middle of a crisis.”
In recent years, baby boomers have proven to be the more lavish spenders, Doncsecz said. That will change as a result of the virus, as their stocks and other investments are likely decreasing in value.
“This is affecting every business,” Doncsecz said.
While she believes industries, including travel, will rebound, it won’t happen immediately.
Hence, VIP Vacations’ new mantra: “Move your dates, don’t cancel.”
One particularly useful tool for Doncsecz has been a Facebook video she posted more than a week ago.
In the video, she addresses clients directly, talking about the benefits of moving travel dates (or waiting to make a decision altogether for trips after May 2020). As of last week, the video had almost 5,000 views and great feedback, according to Doncsecz.
In fact, it even spurred a booking: A client who had been thinking about a trip to Germany in October saw it, called and booked her trip.
She encouraged advisors to create similar resources for clients. It’s beneficial for them, and it saves the agency time.
If you would like more information please contact a VIP Vacations specialist.