The 'Monday Minute' is a weekly feature at PAX dedicated to highlighting the movers, shakers, leaders and rule-breakers in Canada's travel agent community. Wanna be profiled? Wanna nominate someone? Email firstname.lastname@example.org!
Name: Pam Macey
Business: Travel Trends
Where do you live? Calgary, Alberta
How long have you been a travel advisor? 27 years
What is your specialty? Luxury travel, group travel, niche travel
What has the COVID-19 pandemic taught you about yourself and the travel industry?
As with many industry disasters/interruptions in the past, I have learned that I am resilient and very patient. The need/want to travel is not going anywhere. With each of these things, the industry changes for the better and adapts to still provide people with their vacation dreams.
Seeing all of the suppliers prove themselves as reliable and trustworthy is also of interest to me. I think that this slow down has really shown me who can step up to plate for both the industry partners and the consumer. Being a part of TL Network has proved to be extremely beneficial when dealing with problem files.
What has been your biggest challenge during the pandemic?
Having to answer the unknown, or even guarantee it. Customers want assurance that if they take the plunge and decide to travel, that their expectations will be met. I am finding that I am having to describe more and more everyday on the ‘new normal’ at resorts, on airlines etc. Driving the point home to people that the vacation they were used to in the past, looks a whole lot different now.
What challenges lie ahead as the travel economy gradually re-opens?
As an agent, I believe that getting a handle on all of the Covid-19 protocols with all suppliers will be challenging. We, as agents will need to stay current to the best of our ability to properly consult our clients.
Agency waivers should and will be a reality on all transactions as we are the connection between client and suppliers, but cannot be held liable for safety measures not being adhered to. We also worry about the future of some of our suppliers like airlines, hotels and tour companies.
What does the travel industry need to do restore consumer confidence?
I believe that there should be a lot of transparency on COVID-19 protocols. The industry needs to take a strong presence in the media to convey the importance of using a travel advisor, buying travel insurance and trusting in the suppliers to deliver on safety while still offering a great vacation.
What other travel trends do you think may emerge from the COVID-19 crisis?
I believe that a lot of people will travel for the next while in their own backyards. Seeing parts of their own country they have never given a second thought to. If they do travel afar, I believe people will trend towards eco-tourism or more nature/ remote travel to ensure safety and social distancing until a vaccine comes out.
What's one good thing that has come out of this situation?
To be fair, not a lot of good has come out of the crisis for our industry. It has however; given us a greater sense of community. We all have the same ups and downs to deal with and can always get a helpful opinion from someone else in the industry.
What advice do you have for travel advisors who are struggling during this tough time?
Take this time to determine whether or not you need to take a more direct approach in offering a certain type of travel. Rather than offering all that is out there, specialize in one area. Use the time to get well educated on that type of travel with webinars, industry publications, etc.
This will give you the confidence to push your specialty once restrictions are lifted. Use the time as well to streamline your day to day operations. You may find there are things that are redundant or not effective. Getting these things in order before things get busy will help.
When border restrictions are lifted and the risk is low, where are you travelling first?
I think after surviving through all of this, a beach is in order. The Whitsundays or Mauritius. This will allow me to totally destress and get ready for hopefully a busy – yet still a bit challenging, winter season ahead.
Don't miss a single travel story: subscribe to PAX today!