Travel Agent NewsBrett Tollman, CEO of The Travel Corporation outlines four vital ways to rebuild trust among employees and industry partners.

Why trust is the way forward for travel businesses

Tollman believes the strong pent-up demand for travel globally indicates the industry's long-term prospects "remain very strong".
Tollman believes the strong pent-up demand for travel globally indicates the industry's long-term prospects "remain very strong".

What an unforgettable year 2020 has been. We were meant to celebrate our centennial this year as a family-owned and run business but, like many other plans, that has since been postponed to next year.

With holiday plans gone awry, and travel companies and airlines having had to pause operations during this Covid-19 pandemic, trust has become a much valued currency that will ensure companies can retain customers as we tide through these challenging times.

And with many people being laid off and jobs on the line, we also need to rebuild trust amongst employees and other stakeholders including our travel agent partners.

How then can we as a travel industry move forward? How do we get our collective businesses humming again and doing what we all love? We need to inform, engage and convince more fence sitters to take a holiday or start travelling for business again, knowing that the industry has done an outstanding job of enhancing their respective hygiene and distancing protocols to give them more peace of mind to make travel plans and book them.

I would suggest a 4 ‘R’ step to rebuild trust and get back on track to restarting travel.

It’s important to reflect on what matters most to us: as individuals, and as travel companies. From refining travel experiences, to getting the balance right between engaging our customers, staying profitable and attracting new business, we should see this current crisis as an opportunity to recognise that we can all do better.

In June this year, Prince Charles spoke at the World Economic Forum “The Great Reset” virtual event and warned that climate change has a potential to cause more impact on us than the pandemic. He described our planet as a patient whose immune system has been damaged, and appealed to everyone to embark on a more sustainable path and take direct action to protect our planet.

At TTC, we are working on a five-year sustainability plan to align our business goals with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and are also curating experiences that will allow more people to tread right when they travel with us.

This will be a collective effort as we find new ways to inform and inspire the travel community, as well as sell and deliver travel experiences in the new normal. TTC has invested in new virtual training tools to help inform and inspire our travel advisor partners to build their knowledge to sell with confidence our long-trusted brands.

Rebuilding trust with all our stakeholders is vital and it will take time. We have all had to balance and juggle focusing on ensuring the ongoing continuity of our respective businesses, while also working hard to maintain longstanding relationships with business partners and customers, and putting our customers and our staff at the heart of everything we do. This would mean creating unique and travel experiences, while ensuring new measures are in place to keep everyone safe as we deliver the best holidays.

Let’s all remain positive. With the strong pent-up demand for travel around the world, this reiterates that our industry’s long-term prospects remain very strong. Globally, our TTC brands have achieved a rebook rate of approximately 75% for postponing travel plans to next year.

Stay safe, stay strong – this too shall pass.

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