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Comment: Fortune favours the bold this year

Let’s target our most resilient clients, says Aito Specialist Agents chair Gemma Antrobus

Like everyone in the travel industry, my mind was blown last week when we received the news that there would be no new ‘green’ countries added to the traffic light list and that Portugal and her islands would move to ‘amber’.

I hadn’t thought it could get any worse, but with this news it did.

The irony was that I was standing in line, waiting for my second Covid jab, when this all happened.

I was tempted to throw my hands in the air with despair and scream ‘what is the point?’ Instead, like a good Brit who loves a queue, I proceeded forwarded and had my second vaccination, still in the hope that things would get better.

As I got in the car, my phone rang. It was a new client asking where they could travel to this summer that was guaranteed to be green. I had to laugh because the timing was just ironic.

As always, I discussed all the options with the client and made her aware of the ever-changing situation. I also gave her a hefty dose of reality, pointing out it’s possible that, even if you book last minute and your destination is green on the day that you travel, the country could still turn amber during your stay. Déjà vu, anyone?

So, this is where we are . . . again! All of the safety nets that we were promised, with the ‘green watch list’ and the two weeks’ grace period, have gone at the very first international travel update.

I’m beginning to wonder if the green list ever existed, or if we were just given some ‘fake news’?

Take stock

So what do we do now? First, we don’t start navel‑gazing. We hold our heads up high and we take stock of just how far we’ve come, making a firm decision not to give up, not now, not when we’ve come so far through this crisis.

Then we target our most resilient clients, the ones who might not have a problem with self-isolating on their return from an amber destination.

Sometimes they don’t realise that they are the ones, so pick up the phone, email them, plan a marketing campaign – whatever you feel works best for your target audience.

Do they work from home or not at all, are they retired or do they have additional annual leave they can use?

Normalise ‘amber’

We need to make travelling to an amber destination seem far more straightforward than the government has deemed it to be. After all, we now have no guarantees about anything that is listed green.

Normalising amber is the way forward, as long as the Foreign Office (FCDO) advice says that we can travel to that destination.
You’d be amazed at how many people, when faced with another summer without an overseas trip and yet another date change, would happily self-isolate on their return from a lovely summer holiday in the sun.

Last summer, it wasn’t so essential to leave these shores, but many clients now tell me that it is this time round.
For those used to taking their holidays overseas, the thought of a holiday in the UK doesn’t quite tick the same boxes. Plus, if they haven’t booked already, they won’t find anything much available in the UK.

And, on the up side, if they book something overseas, there are still some great prices for those making new bookings to Europe right now.

While those who don’t want to self-isolate are very, very vocal (you know the ones), you will find that many who are happy to self-isolate don’t quite shout so loudly, so you will need to seek them out.

This will be the summer where fortune favours the bold, so make sure the boldest of travellers are your clients.

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