Jamie Biesiada While the ongoing coronavirus crisis has stopped nearly all free time travel for now, some travel advisors are using time to put the pieces in place to shift from being a major cruise ship seller to adding several types of trips in the mix. Jack Richards, CEO Pleasant Holidays, said a number of advisers had completed (or completed) Pleasant Pro Academy since it was launched at the end of February. By mid-May, Pleasant had seen more than 2,100 graduates become holiday vacation specialists, with more than 500 still in the process of getting certified. “Now the interesting part of it is that some of these are what we call cruise-only or shipping-focused agencies that have decided to diversify their portfolios to the FIT side, the land side, which I think is highly recommended,” Richards said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s No Sail Order has forced shipping lines to stop operating until mid-July or until the Covid-19 coronavirus is no longer a threat to public health. Richard said, Pleasant Holidays hopes to return quickly for that cruise. the market but travel advisors diversifying their portfolio are a smart idea; No Sail Order has been extended, and it can happen again. Richard said he was sure the academy saw a high level of advisors taking courses because they were stuck at home without much work to do. “I don’t think we will do it hoping to see the same numbers in a normal business environment,” he said, “but we will utilize what we have.” Managing expenses Meanwhile, outside of applying for federal aid sources, expenditure management is one thing major that will help travel agencies survive through a crisis, according to Jack Mannix, founder and head of school Jack E. Mannix and Associates. “Even if it’s a relatively small expense, that’s something, because right now your goal must be to survive from a cash point of view, and there aren’t many opportunities to generate income,” Mannix said. “That’s why the expenditure side is very important.” For agencies with employees, that might mean laying off or faking employees, Mannix said. All other costs, including things like franchise fees, must be negotiated, Mannix said. Many travel companies proactively offer trip advisor breaks. For example, a travel agent, a travel agent, like many others, has reduced her monthly fees. One of the biggest benefits of expense management, Mannix said, is that the results have almost “instant benefits for your profits.” Jeri Clausing contributed to this report.
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