SYDNEY – COVID-19 has had a seismic impact on people’s travel aspirations – the holidays they have dreamed about, planned and booked. While those well-deserved breaks may seem to be swimming in uncertainty, Virtuoso says you should get some expert advice from the best travel advisors in the industry before you ditch your precious plans.
“COVID-19 is a global concern for tourism businesses but trusted advisors with years of first-hand experience, strong industry relationships and access to real-time information can help people navigate this crisis and make the best possible decisions,” says Virtuoso Asia Pacific Managing Director Michael Londregan.
“It’s in times of crisis that the value of travel advisors, and particularly our expert advisors in the Virtuoso network, comes to the fore. They can collaborate and help guide you through this exceptionally complex travel landscape.
“Facts are getting mixed in with lots of misinformation, so having a great advisor in your corner as a strong advocate for you and who can help you make decisions that align with your own personal needs, brings a great deal of assurance.
“Virtuoso advisors are exceptional in their understanding of the travel industry – their personal relationships with hotels, airlines, cruise lines and destinations give them an advantage in manoeuvring through fluid situations like this, helping to protect your travel investment. This is when their professional expertise is unrivalled.”
Seven Virtuoso travel agency members have come together to provide their best advice for people with 2020 travel plans:
Anthony Goldman – Goldman Travel Group
We have clients who we see rushing to make decisions before they need to, and before all the relevant facts have been revealed. So if you’ve got plans, you’ve made bookings and you’re concerned about global travel uncertainty, make decisions based on the timeline, not the headline.
We are working with our clients on aligning decision-making to the relevant terms and conditions – if you don’t need to decide now, why make a decision that could see you missing out on a trip you had planned?
Michael Nolan – Bayview Travel
Virtuoso has exclusive deals with over 1400 hotels and resorts worldwide. These properties offer clients the security of being able to change or cancel a booking up to 48 hours before your planned stay. This flexibility allows our clients to realign the risk in their favour.
Melinda Gregor – Gregor Lewis Bespoke Travel
The best cruise companies have been very generous in allowing clients flexibility in order to move or postpone their cruise. These cruise companies want both the travel agency and the clients to stay loyal to their brands, so working together we are delivering good outcomes from rethinking current plans.
Sharyn Kitchener – Mosman Travel
There is no reason to stop travelling – you still deserve it. If you’ve planned to go to a destination but feel you can’t, think about what it was about that destination that made you choose it. Was it a great cultural immersion, the adventure, a place to relax and unwind? A great advisor can help you discover a similar experience in a new destination – cancel the destination, not the holiday.
Leith Sisson – North Shore Business Travel
This is a collaborative process and we spend a lot of time researching to be able to give factual and balanced information so clients can make well informed decisions around their travel plans. We encourage people to sit tight while we work to find the best solutions, as often the suppliers will make the necessary changes before we need to.
Tina Killeen – Spencer Travel
Right now there is a lot of room to move with airlines around rebooking, credit and cancellation fees and knowing how to navigate this takes a lot of experience and understanding of the fine print. Play that game with a professional who understands how airlines work.
Claudia Rossi Hudson – Managing Director Mary Rossi Travel
We are getting calls from some people who have booked themselves and are struggling to understand all the cancellation terms and conditions. Don’t feel too embarrassed to reach out to a travel advisor. We never want to see someone’s travel dream die just because they didn’t get the right guidance, support or advice at the outset.
Virtuoso.com has a comprehensive list of trusted professional travel advisors willing to help people in these turbulent times. Remember, it’s never too late to call in a professional.