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By Mikael Frank Audebert, Art In Voyage Founder & CEO

How To Support Your Travel Professionals

July 24, 2020

It has been a few months since I reached out to all of you with a special message of hope and patience through these trying times. Yet, who would have ever thought that we would still be battling to survive both the virus and the extraordinary economical impact it has on all of us. All countries are in the same boat, but not all are equal in this fight. All industries are struggling, but here again, not all are equal in what is one of the biggest challenges of the past 100 years…

South Africa at a Glance, by Art In Voyage
A Thousand and One Nights, by Art In Voyage
Book Hocking Hills Cabins & support the Tourism Industry - This is How To Support Your Travel Professionals during these trying times
A Thousand and One Nights, by Art In Voyage
Galapagos Islands Private Expedition with Art In Voyage

Hear From Mikael Frank Audebert, Art In Voyage CEO

As much as I would love to start counting down the days until my next flight, until the next boarding of our guests, until the next hosting of our curated journeys, I think we’d be better served by mutually acknowledging our shared feelings at the moment. This is an incredibly exhausting, uncomfortable, and for many, a somber moment in time.

In the past few months, I’ve heard from so many about canceled vacations, anniversaries, and honeymoons. We have had our fair share of postponed journeys, not just once – as we thought this would be over in a matter of weeks -but twice, thrice. As a tourism industry leader, it has been devastating to see how many travelers around the USA and worldwide had planned these amazing trips for 2020, only to have to spend an incredible amount of time canceling their arrangements, not even knowing when to reschedule these for.┬áSo, yes, We Get It!

While all of this is happening, we have also witnessed a tremendous amount of community support for their favorite bars, restaurants, groomer, grocery store, and neighbors. Many of you made sure you kept on ordering while stuck at home, others bought gift certificates to be used in the future. That sort of generosity and community support is exactly why there are no doubts in my mind that we will come out OK on the other side.

In that same process, many asked us how they could help people in the tourism industry. That answer is a bit more complicated than buying a gift certificate or ordering a take-away. The travel and tourism industry is certain to generate billions of dollars for economies around the world, more importantly, it is the lifeline for many communities in every country. One may think of the bed and breakfast in the heart of Tuscany, or the Mom and Pop artisan in the heart of Cappadocia. Yet, before your money gets to them, it has to start with a reservation, the building of an itinerary, and a package. And that is done by your travel professional, your tour operator, or your online booking facilitator. Without them, there can’t be trickle-down economics to harder hit communities around the world, but also here at home.

And if the resumption of travel remains an unknown, how can one support the tourism industry at large, and all the small proprietors it, in turn, utilizes for the execution of your travel plans?
Below are a few thoughts on how you can help your travel professionals.
These may not be the complete answer to this complex chain that tourism and travel can be, but they are a start.
At the very least, to keep people employed here at home, and to keep small businesses afloat while this storm passes.

South Africa at a Glance, by Art In Voyage
A Thousand and One Nights, by Art In Voyage
Book Hocking Hills Cabins & support the Tourism Industry - This is How To Support Your Travel Professionals during these trying times
A Thousand and One Nights, by Art In Voyage
Galapagos Islands Private Expedition with Art In Voyage

Share Your Travel Planning

We know many of you love planning trips, and how can we not understand that? This is, after all, why many of us are in this field.

However, one of the things that you can do, is to let a travel professional handle your logistics and bookings. Keep researching, keep getting excited if that is what you enjoy doing, yet, when it’s time to book, reach out to a travel professional. You will not necessarily pay more for it, and your agent will make sure to get you the best offer, but also the best property. In the process, that travel agent will make a commission paid by the property or activities booked. You, on the other end, will not receive such commission as a non-professional. So, why not move some of the burdens off of your shoulders, and let a travel professional make these reservations for you, as small as these might be? You’d be surprised how many people wished they had done that when COVID-19 hit and they found themselves alone battling airlines, hotels and other suppliers for refunds; many of which may never be issued.

DID YOU KNOW?
When booking online through the likes of Expedia or Booking.com, the property only gets 65%.
When booking through a travel agent, the same property, for the same price paid by you, retains 90% of that!

Victoria Falls, Behind the Lens: Africa, with Art In Voyage
Highlights and Delights of Croatia, by Art In Voyage
Road Trip Planner - This is How To Support Your Travel Professionals during these trying times
The Best American Road Trip Ideas, By Art In Voyage
Luxury Sailing, by Art In Voyage

Subscribe, Read and Share

For travel professionals, small and big, the best way to communicate is via email. While social media has literally taken over our daily lives, the amount of noise on these platforms makes the messaging less likely to be seen, unless one has the tremendous budget to spend. Many small operations within the tourism industry do not have the luxury of the Expedias or Marriotts of the world. Thus, a direct and more targeted email message remains, quite often, the most effective. Subscribe to your favorite travel professional’s newsletter, and invite others to do the same. In the process, you are giving said travel professional valuable information to formulate offers, re-visit product line-up and even create last minute specials you may enjoy benefiting from. Remember, you can always unsubscribe should you need to.

 

Art in Voyage
Mikael Frank Audebert, Art In Voyage
South Africa at A Glance, with Art In Voyage
Under the Umbrian Spell, with Art In Voyage
Umbria, by Art In Voyage

Share The Love and Let Others Know

Start liking or following the social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) of your favorite travel professionals. Following them will give them an incredible boost – the more followers they have, the more visible their posts, offers, and products will be seen across these platforms. You may think you are just “ONE”, yet, you may actually be that one that takes them over the threshold of complicated algorithms deciding whether a company’s post will be widely seen!

If you have traveled with such company previously, why not share some of your favorite pictures and moments on their page, or even on yours. Tag them for better exposure. Not a big fan of leaving reviews? So am I. That said, they do play an extremely important role in the marketing of a travel professional’s products and services. Other guests will value and consider the opinions of former travelers before making a decision. Remember, one + one + one quickly leads to 10, then 20. Numbers do matter in the ever evolving game of online marketing!

Desert Camp Sekina, by Art In Voyage
Art in Voyage
Highlights & Delights of Morocco, Luxury Travel Package, with Art In Voyage
7 Night Itinerary to The Maldives, with Art In Voyage - November 2021
Azalea Yacht - Cruises of Distinction: The Maldives,

Look Ahead and Start Booking

Traveling is (or should be) in everyone’s blood. We have become curious creatures, and even more so now that we get such easy access, online, to the marvels offered by the rest of the world.
So, traveling WILL come back, there is no doubt about it.

Many travel professionals and tour operators, such as Art In Voyage, have considerably reduced the required deposits on journeys. In our case, be it for an exclusive journey (private a la carte) or curated journey (small group departures), we have adjusted, very rapidly, our terms and conditions to meet market requirements and help our guests in the process. We have also implemented a “force majeure” policy should journeys not be able to depart, all of which are very advantageous to travelers. Booking for 2021 or even 2022 will only cost you a small deposit, but more importantly, it will keep a travel professional busy, and employed. Then, should things not pan out as planned ,you’d still get most of your deposit back. Any monies retained should bring you comfort that it has helped save a job and kept food on the table for a member of the community during these trying times.