Time to plan again
Date: October 15, 2020 | By: Brenda Lee | Category: Travel Blog
Dear Agency Partners,
Well, things are starting to show signs of picking up, finally. It’s so great speaking to some of you and getting back to planning life-changing journeys. Earlier this year, while booking conditions were being rewritten on a temporary basis, we noticed a lot of ambiguity and gimmicks in the new terms. Learning from that, we reiterated our No Gimmicks approach, which is not temporary, but rather it’s a way of doing business. No Gimmicks essentially has three parts. You can read the whole document here.
- Be up front about the situation on ground. Borders are opening up, however, improved protocols are in place. We don’t want to paint a false picture of the current ground situation. The smiling faces and a great experience away are still waiting as long as we set the proper expectations. I have always believed that selling is about trust, not about convincing. This is why Big Five TV broadcasts live on location every Tuesday at 2:00pm EST. So far, we have broadcast from Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Egypt, with many more to come in the weeks ahead. Big Five TV was just live from Costa Rica this past Tuesday. Enjoy that video here.
- Be clear about deposit requirements. We cannot help our hotels, guides, drivers and others in the supply chain get back on their feet if we offer a deposit that can be taken back. No Gimmicks means that if we have to make a deposit refundable, we probably shouldn’t have asked for it in the first place. As a financially stable company, we want to generate cash flow like everyone else, but it cannot be at the expense of you or your clients. So that means when you make a booking with us, if you want us to hold it longer than normal, we are happy to, and we will extend as far as possible without a deposit. So when you make the payment, you and your clients are ready. That means in some cases, we are holding space without a deposit until November or even December in extreme cases because the guests want to be sure the border is opening. There is nothing temporary about building trust.
- Speaking of borders opening, how do we know when is it safe to claim the border is open? For Big Five, we don’t go by social media proclamations for obvious reasons. We only consider a destination open once we receive the official documents from the government with official arrival protocols. This is one race where we don’t want to come in first. We need to be certain first that everything is in place. Every opening document is uploaded to the library section of Axus travel app and Travefy, and the original pdf can be shared upon request. If the opening document is in a foreign language, we won’t translate it, rather we will combine it with the English declaration made by the respective tourist board. This is to ensure you, our travel advisor partner, always have the original document, not an edited copy. As a side note, did you know most airports are managed by private for-profit entities? That means that an airport can announce that it is open, even if the border remains closed. The official documents we wait for prevent you from being in that kind of situation with your clients.
We talk you out of working with us, until we don’t need to talk you into working with us. That’s part of our collaborative process. If we aren’t the right fit, we will do the best to recommend you to someone who is. And if we are the right fit, our process works with you, our advisor partner, at the center. We want to know as much as possible about likes and dislikes, past trips, interests etc. The most minute detail is of paramount importance. We want a million questions and a million more. This is about sustainability, about unique experiences, and most importantly, about a lifestyle.
Warren Buffet correctly says, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation, and 5 minutes to ruin it.” There is nothing temporary about that.