As the world begins to open, I find this is very much like rebuilding a house after a hurricane. The structure is only as good as the foundation. So now is the time for us to share some tools for our advisor partners in order to rebuild with a solid foundation. Part of any good foundation is having a vision of what that house will look like.
We recently posted a letter entitled Our Work is Not Done because, frankly, it never is. In it, we share the vision for Big Five as we navigate towards the future, showcasing examples of our commitment to humanizing the soul yesterday, today, tomorrow.
Another aspect of this foundation is sharing the schematic blueprint with you, our advisor partners. I admit that I am not a contractor as you can plainly tell (so let the jokes begin and make them good). But below are links to four housekeeping documents to help your partnership with Big Five have the same level of assurance as that well-built house. These include our updated terms – Big Five Coronavirus Update – with guidance consistent with earlier posts in March. Another document is about our corporate hygiene procedures addressing the steps we have taken in our company. This also works well with hygiene protocols now coming out of the various countries we operate in.
We will be resuming our mailings later this year once a disinfectant UV light arrives that all documents will be passed through before being sent out to our agency partners. You can imagine the look on the retailer’s face when we shopped for this. Most thought we were getting ready to throw a rave, until we explained what it was for. The specific model we ordered turns off automatically when it is turned towards the user to ensure safe use.
We already had careful procedures in place to ensure clean vehicles and well-groomed personnel every day, so for us, this is second nature. One thing you will see missing from this is hand sanitizer bottles handed to guests in their packet. You see, over the last few years and especially in 2019, and the beginning for 2020, we were making great strides in eliminating all single use plastics from our operation, and that goal is not being cast aside. Handing out plastic bottles of sanitizer goes against our mission of plastic reduction and goes against the work already done. Besides, we know our guests all have their preferred sanitizer they travel with.
The other two documents on this page, which complete the foundation our partnership is built on, are likely the most powerful. The first is our No Gimmicks letter many of you have seen, which essentially restates our position from day one 47 years go. Pay us the deposit when you are ready, and understand where that money goes. The other is a trust document, Big Five Financial Stability, I am especially proud of and I want to thank the various travel advisors that helped us shape this. Your input was so valuable. This document spells out our financial stability in a user-friendly document that advisers can combine with the No Gimmicks explanation on deposits and share with clients. Both documents are loaded on to the Axus Travel App in the public library for advisors to share with their clients.
We want advisors to book their clients with confidence. We believe in partnerships with our advisor community and chose this time to strengthen that.
Speaking of our work not being done, you will see a link both in this blog and also on Vimeo with a zoom invite for a very different kind of event on June 5th. We talk about the power of tourism to support communities, and, last week, we decided to have a virtual ride along to show those philanthropic efforts as they happen in the remote communities around Cartagena. Cartagena Unida was established as a movement made up of people who decided to get together, regardless of social status to focus on helping those less privileged, and without a voice, delivering food, medical supplies, and necessary aid to the most impoverished of communities. As the son of the mayor of Cartagena, Abraham Dau, a local business owner is using those connections to do great work. We want you to ride along on one of those journeys to experience, live, the great work Abraham and his team are doing on ground.
The response was overwhelmingly positive, so we decided to start this ride along on a regular basis. Sign up below to join Abraham and I, and experience compassion in action.
So, remember, stay positive and keep flying.
In very first of these messages in the beginning of March, I talked about the strategy going forward for Big Five, and the three avenues we were using. The first was Live with Five, including more than 50 video strategy guidance calls and client events we have completed with you in the last 45 days, and the economic webinars when we talked about the metrics to look for in a recovery. I smile when I think that we considered doing a dozen or so originally.
The second was Faces of Five, our portal to invite you to meet our guides from around the world through brief videos and introducing them to you and your clients through virtual events. There is so much intellectual property with our guides, many of whom have advanced degrees, from archaeology in Peru, an MBA in Colombia, a former accountant in Tanzania, a former cricket player in India, and a PhD in Morocco. They are waiting to welcome you and your clients when travel resumes.
The third outlet is Stories of Five that include the message you are reading right now encompass the accelerated product development these stories are about, which we implemented at the beginning of this period. That is what today’s story is about – new products.
Every year towards the end of the year, I sit down with members of our team representing all facets of Big Five from operations, to regional product development, to branding and marketing. We develop a set of company goals to aspire to in the coming year. Every member of our team has a copy of that finalized list. My copy is highlighted in bright colors, ticking off accomplishments as they are achieved.
These goals are well thought out and designed to help us grow; however, not too fast. They are intended to have us chasing the same trophy. We believe our clients and advisor partners are on the same page as Big Five so we don’t need sell them on anything. In fact, our letter from last week, No Gimmicks, reinforces that. These goals are also designed to keep us on task in the face of the unexpected, so as the conditions change rapidly like they are currently, we can prioritize and keep moving forward.
One of the overriding goals for 2020 was launching an alternative energy collection with programs featuring properties working towards energy independence using innovative technologies and methods such as an electric safari vehicle in Africa.
We chose to call this the New Energies Collection because it seems a new energy is rising in the world. We are seeing cleaner air in various parts of Asia, rain where there was a drought in Africa, healing where there was fire in Latin America and Australia. The new energy also refers to people across the globe who are striving to make those energies work for all of us. You can view the first two journeys of this collection in India, featuring one of our favorite properties in India in the Nagarhole Forest, and, in Australia, one of our favorite coast experiences Thala Beach. Coming soon are adventures in Kenya and in the Andean region of Latin America.
Learn more about the New Energies Collection here.