TravelManagers Ready for Vital Role When Borders Reopen

TravelManagers Ready for Vital Role When Borders Reopen

As Australia’s population inches ever closer to its goal of an 80 percent COVID vaccination rate, many companies that were hit hard by border closures eighteen months ago are hopeful that it may soon result in the easing of those restrictions. Among them is TravelManagers, who is anticipating a resurgence in the demand for the services of experienced travel professionals as the Australian travelling public starts to embrace international travel in a post-COVID era.

TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, says the company is realistic about the sense of uncertainty that customers will likely feel as the borders begin to reopen, but believes that its personal travel managers (PTMs) are ideally placed to help travellers negotiate the complex and ever-changing government and supplier regulations that are expected to be in place for the foreseeable future.

“We expect this uncertainty to last for at least the first twelve months as we become accustomed to travelling in a post-COVID world,” he explains. “However, our PTMs have demonstrated their worth many times over as they have assisted clients in unravelling pandemic-hit holiday plans; customers who are ready to venture beyond Australia’s borders are therefore highly likely to rely on the experience, expertise and support that only a PTM can provide.”

Townsville-based PTM Maria Pandalai has used her downtime during the pandemic to work on another passion: travel writing. She recently published a piece entitled “9 Travel Consultant Fun Facts”, outlining the nine reasons customers should work with a personal travel manager. It was published across Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn and resulted in an organic reach of more than 15,000 people.

“I was actually a little bit blown away by its reception,” she reports. “To me, it really proves that the Australian travelling public recognise the importance of working with a travel agent as they start to think about international travel.”

“A major learning for many travellers from the disruption caused by COVID-19 has been the benefit of booking with a live person who is dedicated to their wellbeing and protecting them against all eventualities,” Gazal agrees. “There have been stark differences in experiences between travellers who have booked directly with an airline or via an online travel agency (OTA), when compared to travellers who have had a PTM acting on their behalf to ensure the most convenient and cost-effective outcomes.”

According to Gazal, anecdotal evidence suggests that those learnings apply not just to travellers themselves, but also to their friends and family: they have been vocal about their positive experiences working with PTMs.

“This applies to all travellers but is most obviously beneficial to those people with major itineraries that have interconnecting components across several suppliers, and in some cases, various destinations,” Gazal explains. “Never has the value of an experienced travel agent, who knows and understands the needs of their individual customers, been more apparent.”

Pandalai’s opinion piece is an articulate and positive article that aims to alleviate the inevitable uncertainty that will accompany the reopening of our international borders. She spells out the many

benefits of working with a PTM: from avoiding long wait times on hold to airlines and tour operators to the reassurance of knowing they have 24/7 support should anything go wrong.

“Perhaps most significant is knowing that as reputable travel consultants, we have the skills, experience and, most importantly, empathy when it comes to dealing with our clients’ travel emergencies,” Pandalai points out. “Whether it’s missed flights, cancellations, natural disasters or medical situations, we are here for our customers, no matter what.”

“It’s a message that appears to be resonating with customers, and it leaves me feeling optimistic about the future of travel agents as we begin to head off into the world once more.”

For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Graciela Craig on 1800 019 599.