“How are you?” Before 2020 this pretty run-of-the-mill question opened countless emails and office interactions – merely used as a platitude.
Over the past year, when things have become so alien, uncertain and frustrating, the power of those words has changed. The pressure Covid-19 has placed on everything we do – both professionally and personally – has been greater than we ever thought possible.
Travel has undoubtedly been one of the worst affected industries in the country, with those in the sector swiftly seeing their flourishing sales and enviable jet-setting morph into a bookings drought and near-constant restrictions and confusion from government.
And that’s easy for me to say as someone who hasn’t battled tooth and nail to keep their business alive, been forced to lay off loyal staff and deal with angry and disappointed customers day in day out.
Seeing the strains travel professionals were under led to TTG launching the Get Travel Talking initiative in September. We wanted to create a platform for frank and un-stigmatised conversations about mental health at a time when everyone could do with sharing their mental burden.
In my role organising and hosting our Get Travel Talking seminars, it’s been a privilege to speak to people across travel – from frontline agents to industry leaders – about how they’ve coped, what struggles they’ve faced and what mental wellbeing means to them.
We also launched a study into how the pandemic has impacted travel professionals’ mental health and their opinions on how the industry deals with it – with strong evidence there is still much to be done.
Those candid discussions – during which I’ve asked questions which as a B2B news reporter I never thought I would – has made it clear that we all share so many of the same stresses and fears but also a passion for supporting one another and getting through things together.
Our Get Travel Talking seminars are something we’ll be picking up again soon, but today (13 January) we’ve created a new mental health hub with news, advice pieces and links to external support resources, which we hope offers some help.