In the midst of a pandemic, face-to-face in-person meetings are challenging, and closing on-the-fence travelers equally so. Here’s how we can help.
Great communication has always been the cornerstone of successful small businesses—it’s the customer service factor that sets them apart. However, with COVID-19 in our midst, it’s been challenging to provide excellent, attentive service when you’re being pulled in every direction during simultaneous emergencies, and to provide the information your customers are accustomed to getting when everything in the literal world is unclear.
ALG Vacations™ understands this challenge, which is why this Small Business Saturday article is dedicated to how you can add value and that signature personal touch of yours even during a pandemic.
Face to Face to Help You See Eye to Eye
Travel professionals are amazing at their jobs because they take the time to get to know and understand their clients. But when you can’t meet in person, it’s hard to make sure that warm smile of yours makes it through the phone lines. Luckily, technology has raced ahead to provide us with solutions.
Zoom has taken off in 2020, allowing multiple groups of people to meet via video conference and allowing them to personalize their environment. It’s easy to set up and use, and fun with backgrounds like the one we created just for Small Business Saturday, available on ALGV360⁰. This is a great solution for trying to coordinate groups or even small sets of friends, and we highly recommend it for those bookings, creating a convivial setting for an open forum that isn’t formal or stuffy. In fact, it’s so great that Google and Facebook were quick to jump in with their own platforms, Google Meetings and Facebook Rooms!
However, many of your consultations might just be with one couple or one family. Zoom works for one-on-ones, too, but video phone calls are also an option.
Skype is a classic provider for online video calls, and you can use it on your computer or via app on your phone. Facetime has also long been a favorite—and key selling point—for iPhone users, too, while Google Duo is an excellent app for Android users. Then there are newcomers like Marco Polo, which, like Duo, lets you leave video messages, but also adds fun filters to the mix.
… And these are just the tip of the iceberg. As our virtual world keeps getting bigger, more and more diverse solutions on visually connecting crop up on the scene. Ask your customers what app they like to use for video chatting, and set up your consultations on that platform to make them feel extra catered to.
No OTA can possibly do that!
Solidifying Consumer Confidence
One of the primary focuses of our recent Ascend 2020 virtual conference was on working together to reestablish consumer confidence in travel. Our industry has taken its biggest hit in history, and to build it back up, setting customers at ease is critical.
ALG Vacations™ has created programs that support this effort, a headliner being TripTrust™. This exclusive initiative makes it easy to quickly identify properties via easily identifiable badge that have self-certified as taking measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by complying with the guidelines of trusted government agencies like the CDC and WHO, and/or private companies that specialize in consulting on health, safety, and sanitation protocols.
We’ve also done the research for you, and created resources that back up why your customers should feel more at ease and safer than ever taking the vacation they’re all saying they need. For example:
- Sun, Sand & Safety: How All-Inclusives Are Leading the Way to Healthier Travel
- Making a Clean Getaway: New Health & Safety Standards at AMResorts
- On the Ground in Cancun: Vacation Expectations with Mark Murphy
Safeguarding Their Investment
ALG Vacations™ has also taken measures to prioritize our travel advisor partners’ businesses by implementing policies that are flexible and forgiving, and extending these more lenient terms into bookings made by January 3, 2021. This includes waiving our brand change fees!
You can view all our current policies at www.VAXVacationAccess.com/ALGVAdvisorUpdate.
That’s in addition to expanding our Travel Protection Plus program (still with Cancel for Any Reason coverage) to offer three different refund type options at three different price points, to allow flexibility for any budget: full travel credit, full cash back, or a 50/50 split. Not only does this guarantee your customers that their investment is secure no matter what happens, every option also comes with agent commission protection—up to $200 per reservation for the 100% travel credit refund plan! An added benefit is that they’ll come back to you to use that credit, turning into a repeat customer instead of a one-time cancellation.
As if that weren’t enough, to make this choice even more attractive for vacationers, we also reintroduced lower deposits for Travel Impressions, Funjet Vacations, and Apple Vacations for those who add on this version of Travel Protection Plus.
Just as tempting as that low initial deposit? Our Uplift Pay Monthly program, which lets customers pay for their vacation over time in installments. With only a soft credit check needed and easy payment plans based on the date of your clients’ purchase, it easily illustrates how the vacation of their dreams is also the one they can afford.
As you can see, there’s a lot to communicate and a lot to offer—even in a pandemic. We’ve thought outside the box to provide solutions, products, programs, and resources to guide you through it this Small Business Saturday … and the many months we’ve been “doing it TOGETHER” leading up to it.
Catch up on our Small Business Saturdays TravelBlogue series by clicking Work in the top navigation! With only one more article — and just a little more than a week to go until the big day — the time to brush up on how to leverage Small Business Saturday 2020 is now.