Travel Webcast
Canadian Travel Press
Issue Date: Dec 10, 2018
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It’s all about being prepared

Pictured above: Flemming Friisdahl, Founder
The Travel Agent Next Door

I think that most of us who have worked in the travel industry know for certain that there will always be disruptors. My mom and dad started in travel back in 1975 – so a few years ago – and even back then, there were many disruptors.

One of the major disruptors to their business was the hijacking of a cruise ship called the Achille Lauro. A 69-year-old man was pushed overboard in his wheelchair by the hijackers and drowned. This single act made many people very uncomfortable to travel to the Eastern Mediterranean and almost bankrupted my parents’ company because they were so focused on this one area.

So, we all know there will be disruptors to our business – whether it be a hijacking, or a plane crash or natural disasters such as hurricanes, tsunamis or flooding. The one thing I have learned is you must be agile and not so focused that you can’t change direction if required.

Ready or not
Imagine if you ONLY sell weddings to Mexico, and some horrible act happens in Mexico where there are thousands of Canadian weddings every year. Would you be ready to move those nervous brides to other places like a cruise or a snow wedding? Or be prepared if they cancel? If they cancel would you charge the customer “both” the supplier non-refundable, as well as your commission up front, so as to make sure you get compensated? It is important to be prepared for emergencies.

We have all heard the only thing we can count on to be certain is that there will be disruptors, so how are you set up to deal with them when they happen?

So how am I personally set up to deal with disruptors?

Well, when it comes to emergencies affecting our business partners – our agents – let’s say some major tragedy happens in a destination. We would employ our Emergency Response plan. First, we would provide a list to all agents of the customers they have in that destination. Secondly, we would deal with the people booked to travel in the near future, and we would have a plan in place for people who would want to cancel. Lastly, we would figure out where we start promoting as alternative destinations. We know that Canadians will always travel, so we have to guide them to that next vacation so they do not stay home.

Working to be better
At The Travel Agent Next Door, we know for sure that there will be new players in the IC space, so we keep working on getting better and having the most tools. This way if someone comes in and offers everything for free, we know that they would not be able to offer what we offer as it has taken years to build it.