Canadian Travel Press
Issue Date: Oct 26, 2020
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Down time? What down time?

Advisors are keeping busy during these challenging times


Although bookings have come to a virtual standstill, Mike Allard of Mallard Travel in Sudbury is doing anything but standing still.

“I am really using the down time to up my training,” Allard tells Canadian Travel Press. “Suppliers have been exceptional in providing unique opportunities for personal growth and development and I am taking full advantage. I have also secured my Certified Travel Counsellor designation during this time.”

In order to remain top of mind for clients when they are ready to book trips again, Allard is staying on top of the latest news to ensure he knows the most relevant and useful information. In the instances where he knows his clients have a preferred brand, he also makes sure they’re aware of the latest news from those suppliers and destinations.

“Many clients have reached out to me over the past few months or I have reached out to each of them, after all we are in this together. More than anything, just providing a reassuring voice as best as I can in such uncertain times,” he says. “Many destinations, suppliers, on sites, hotel chains and airlines have really enhanced their safety and cleaning protocols and that is so reassuring.”

Meanwhile, Linda Toth-Winterkorn and Lynda Dennis of Northstar Travel & Associates in Kitchener-Waterloo have been busy focusing on their new business venture The Lily Collection. Taking its name from a play on their first names, the collaboration focuses on groups, wellness and European river cruises.

“We have curated a collection of selected travel experiences with our clients in mind. We each have our own brands and niches but that’s part of what makes us a great team — Linda Toth-Winterkorn is The Trip Goddess and Lynda Dennis is the InnerNomad,” says Toth-Winterkorn. “We’ve been getting enquiries for our Bali Yoga Retreat slated for next year. Clearly the wellness travel niche is one that continues to attract travellers and our group has been growing steadily. What we find most interesting is that the type of group travel we chose to focus on and planned for pre-pandemic turned out to be the winners.”

While they haven’t been selling a lot of travel since the onset of the pandemic, Dennis says along with focusing on a collaborative website for The Lily Collection, which will launch soon, the pair have been busy with education and staying connected with clients.

“We keep our clients up to date with all of the changes and updates,” Dennis says. “We believe that the new insurance offerings from airlines will be very helpful.

We’ve received very favourable feedback from clients on this. Anything to boost client confidence right now is extremely important and helpful.”

During the early months of the pandemic, Sheila Kemp of Kemp Travel Group says all of their consultants were working from home assisting clients.

“In June, we opened our offices on an appointment only basis with shortened hours to assist our clients with refunds, future travel credits and new bookings,” she says. “We have also started a series of webinars with preferred suppliers to stay connected with our clients and help them to keep dreaming for that next big trip.”

On the East Coast, travel advisor Kim Hartlen has been hosting virtual events to let clients know “when the time is right for them to travel they will know where their next adventure will be.”

Hartlen even held a wellness and wine retreat to PEI during this time and has been actively using the hashtag #bookwithatraveladvisor to encourage clients to use a travel advisor for future bookings.