The year 2022 started off on a sour note for the Canadian travel industry as the COVID-19 pandemic, bolstered by the highly-contagious Omicron variant, plunged onwards with high infection rates and fresh travel restrictions, pummelling consumer demand.
Many travel advisors, faced with cancellations, are once again the glue holding this hardest-hit sector together as they field questions from clients, process refunds and rebook files – without pay, more often than not – while simultaneously advocating for a safe and responsible reopening of the industry.
It’s a stressful and frustrating situation, especially as travel, in the latter half of 2021, seemed to be picking up after months of strict border rules, grounded flights and overall global uncertainty. Vaccinations were once viewed as the beginning of the end, and while that fact still stands, the introduction of Omicron is a harsh reminder that COVID-19 is an unpredictable beast. A real ugly beast at that.
What’s important is that members of the industry continue to support each other. And often, that support is found within the pages of Facebook, where travel professionals, throughout the pandemic, have formed alliances and have shared sincere messages that can have a positive impact on one’s day.
Below is one post that many travel advisors have recently shared with their online followers. While its origin is unknown, having been modified several times by agents to reflect their situation, its message is clear: running a travel business is hard, especially now, and a little compassion and understanding can go a long way.
Here’s one version of the post that has appeared in our news feed several times. Feel free to share it with your Facebook community, if it applies to you.
Running a travel business is really hard.
What they don’t tell you is that it can cause severe anxiety, and drains you mentally to the point of depression in even the most laid-back people.
People will talk about you, compare you to others, use you, they will view you as a service and not a person anymore. Friends will value you and your hard work less than a big chain store.
You have to worry about if you forget to email/message someone back, are they going to think it was on purpose? Did you disappoint them? Will they hold that against you? When in reality you just can’t get to everyone’s messages and emails.
Starting up and running a successful business puts incredible strain on personal lives and relationships, many of which fail because there is just often no work-life balance. You need to be the director, the worker, the admin, the teacher, the trainer, the marketing team, the accountant, the cleaner, the advocate. All whilst being a parent, a husband or a wife, family support, friend.
There’s a reason you don’t see many people succeed in small businesses after 5-10 years. It takes dedication and sometimes it takes a toll. It’s freaking exhausting. Especially this past year.
Here’s a small reminder that we are just normal people with hectic lives.
Travel advisors have been working massive hours for no revenue since the beginning of the pandemic. Cancelling, moving trips, refunds, insurance claims, future travel credits, rebooking and rebooking again. But we can’t just walk away, turn off our caring buttons and leave our clients stranded. It’s a tough spot, but we do it because we love our industry, our clients and travelling.
Please be kind, be patient, and book with a travel advisor.