Agents feel they are “over the worst” of the pandemic’s impacts, with optimism for a strong late summer market and customers upgrading their 2021 holidays.
The three panellists for last week’s TTG Agent Matters all said they were working on getting their stores ready for normal service a little further down the line after likely offering an appointment-only service first and with PPE brought in and plans made for social distancing.
Joanne Dooey, owner of Love To Travel and president of the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association, said it was vital for customers to see agents in their shops, although Scotland was still waiting for a date on when this would be possible when TTG went to press on Friday (12 June).
“I think it’s really important the customers do see you, even if you’re in there doing training with staff. It reminds them you’re booking.”
Louise Thomas, head of sales for Tailor Made Travel, which recently reopened 15 stores, said returning to shops had been useful for “getting staff used to” the new way of doing things. “The tide’s turning and there’s a definite buzz,” she said. “We absolutely just want to pioneer and move forward.”
Tina Nason, managing director of Carrick Travel, agreed getting some staff back into offices was “making them feel better”, adding “some sort of normality” had returned.
The agents agreed there were strong signs of a 2020 summer yet, although they emphasised that confirmation on air bridges was needed as well as an update to the Foreign Office’s blanket advice against travel before clients could book with confidence.
They were hopeful these would come in the next week. “We need to look at getting a Europe-wide air bridge,” said Dooey.