Travel partner for crises: how to choose the right one

Nowadays, whether if you work as an independent travel agent or as part of an agency, the best way to make sure you can offer the widest range of accommodations and services to your customers is to have a successful partnership with the correct brand or association. 

With the COVID-19 outbreak or other critical situations, when vacations aren’t on anyone’s priority list, the need for support, technology and advantages from a Travel Partner becomes more important than ever. But, what makes the best travel partner for a travel advisor?

The best partnership for travel agents

Working with a global travel partner can be a great way to help safeguard your business and stay up-to-date with official information and advice. They should provide you with the best travel agent benefits such as access to a global network, a wide range of services, personal discounts, FAM trips, easy or reliable quotation tools, among other advantages.

But, what can you expect from this partner when going through a crisis such as the current one?

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10 things every travel agent should expect from a partner during a crisis

From the first signs of a crisis, there are some exceptional measures and actions that need to be taken. Your partner should provide you with both customer service and business resilience. Let’s see in what form they could come in:  

1. Having a complete Communication and Action Plan for crises.

You should see that your partner is working on different actions, cohesively, using all communication channels smartly to inform and help you. If there is a plan, you will easily notice specific text and designs, new features and specific measures to help you face the crisis. 

2. A specific space to see all news related to the crisis.  

A travel partner is not only a service provider but also a source of expertise. There has to be a space where to update and compile all news, actions, initiatives and information related to the crisis and its possible solutions, linked to all customer service channels and the rest of corporate communications. Check out a good example during the Covid-19 Crisis.

Covid-19 Bedsonline Landing Page

3. Technology to monitor updates.

Your partner has to become your most important source of information about the industry and the crisis. But not just only through emails or social media channels, but also via on-demand services to keep you always up to date. The least you should expect is to be informed of updates via Whatsapp and Messenger.

4. A versatile booking engine to find quickly the best suitable offers.

When things go awry, whether in the wider world or just for a handful of your clients, a powerful booking engine for travel agents is essential and your partner should provide you the best one. You’ll want to use platforms with comparison tools, easy online modifications and cancellations, offering flexible options to enable your clients to get home safely when they need to.

5. A complete newsletter with a varied selection of news and educational content.

Sometimes our partners over-communicate and its messages get lost in our mail, especially if they need to send emails as part of the Crisis Management Plan and offers at the same time. 

The best thing your partner should do is, instead of sending many emails with different sorts of messages, merge all in an attractive and engaging newsletter including product updates, promotions, tips & resources, and news. 

6. A resource page monitoring valuable information about the situation 

You can’t keep your clients informed if you don’t know what’s going on, and you certainly can’t make the right decisions if you’re not clued up. And your partner should be able to gather all relevant information coming from institutions and Governments

For example, in the case of Global Force Majeure or a Global Closure, you need an updated country list with all the countries and periods. Your partner has to be tuned with all Government statements and should serve a feed to travel agents. 

7. Personal messages and Customer service.

Customer transparency and communications are essential and your partner should be able to use its data to provide you with personal messages, resources and actions to help you in every phase and step. 

It should be very clear how to contact the customer relationship center for urgent inquiries and, to make everything easier, a good partner always provides a complete list of Frequently Asked Questions with precise answers. Actually, during a crisis, it’s worth big brands to create a new list of questions and answers related to the current situation, so every travel agent can have answers and solutions without having to make a call. 

8. Educational and useful content to adapt to customer needs.

In times of crisis, it’s crucial to know how to manage everything on the Booking engine and, in general, to have general tips about the travel business, Crisis Management… Webinars, videos, ebooks, blog posts… More than ever, your partner should be concerned about your knowledge as a travel agent and as a user of their technology. 

Bedsonline Resources blog post and ebooks

9. Commercial campaigns with exclusive offers.

In every crisis there are opportunities, and during COVID-19 breakdown we’ve seen many examples of brands creating tailor-made offers aligned with the Crisis Management Plan. Offering special rates for the frontliners or essential workers during a crisis or including Free Cancellation and flexible rates are examples of how to be emphatic with the social and business challenges during a crisis.

10. A message from the CEO or Key Senior Managers of your Travel Partner. 

A message from the most senior person of your travel partner conveys the message that all the company staff is working together and under leadership to help you face the crisis. In addition, Chief executives are the most reliable voice when talking about financial health or reputation. For those reasons, every travel agent should expect, apart from the trustworthy communication with the employees, a clear statement from the CEO or Key Senior Managers

 

CONCLUSION

The best partnership for travel agents doesn’t have to only be about specific offers and features, but also to be part of a travel network connecting you to the newest and most valuable information. This is crucial under critical circumstances because every travel advisor needs a strong partner to be guided through the new difficulties, and that means to get a good source of information and expertise, the best technology and a proactive customer service team

 

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CRISIS MANAGEMENT FOR TRAVEL ADVISORS
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Download our guide to find out:

  • The five stages of every crisis
  • Why customer satisfaction still needs to be your #1 priority
  • How to adjust your marketing messages 
  • What to do when the crisis is over 
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