Restarting travel has been a rocky road. I just hope the traffic light system avoids unnecessary crashes, says David Walker, a homeworker for Not Just Travel based in Nottingham.

I have never paid so much attention to traffic lights in my life, not even when I took my driving test!

Sales were going really well for the year – to behonest they were going through the roof; I’ve never had such a good first quarter – and then Boris made his Easter Monday announcement, confirming the new system, and things have really quietened down since.

People are waiting, queuing at the lights. Regardless of how many people are honking at them to move, they won’t budge until they see destinations go green – and none of us know when that will be, or what countries are likely to get the green light.

Cancellations

With the recent surge of Jet2holidays cancellations until June 23, I am encouraging those clients who are desperate to get away to take the refund then book something when we know when and where we can travel.


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I have, where possible, encouraged rebookings. But to rebook this last wave is pretty impossible as they all want to go as soon as possible. It’s getting so disheartening to book something for them again, to have it cancel or have it changed, again, and complete another round of additional paperwork. It’s just getting too much.

“It’s getting so disheartening to book something again, to have it cancel or have it changed, and complete another round of additional paperwork.”

How long is this going to go on for? Are we actually going to have people travelling at substantial levels this summer? And, if we don’t know the answer to this question, how do we know how to advise our clients with bookings set to depart this summer with balances due in the next week few weeks?

Rebookings

Testing, quarantine, red, amber, green…did we really think this year could potentially be even more complicated than last? All those clients that paid for a holiday back in 2019, for a trip in 2020, and moved it to 2021, now have to consider if they need to be rebooking it yet again – for 2022.

“I discovered the other day that a family who book with me had three, yes three, properties booked with Airbnb that can be cancelled 48 hours before they visit.”

I have been asked for lots of UK breaks for this summer, but with pricing, availability and the lack of suppliers wanting to deal with agents, I’m finding I’m turning both new and regular customers away. I discovered the other day that a family who book with me had three, yes three, properties booked with Airbnb that can be cancelled 48 hours before they visit. They will choose which property they want based on the weather. This at least partially explains the lack of availability, I guess.

Renewed hope

I’ve continued to push 2022 and 2023 bookings and promote these on social media, and I have been pleasantly surprised on the number I have taken. My forward order book remains very healthy indeed.

“I’ve continued to push 2022 and 2023 bookings and promote these on social media, and I have been pleasantly surprised on the number I have taken.”

I am, of course, worried about the 72 bookings I have that are due to depart up until August 31 this year – but I’m feeling a little more positive on the 188 bookings I have between September 1 and the end of the year. But my eyes will be firmly fixed on the traffic lights.

Our businesses depend on a system which, in its original form, is designed to lower the risk of crashes. Let’s hope the traffic light system means the industry will crash no more.


traffic-lights

Where will Japan stand in the traffic light system? 

As the only country in the world to have a red, amber and blue system – does that mean we will never be able to go to Japan again? It’s weird what you remember when you visit places – I’ve been to Japan a few times and one of the things I recall is the blue traffic lights and how highly professional mature people have a troll or Hello Kitty rammed onto the end of their pens. I remember feeling really tall everywhere, and the food, wow, how fresh and amazing.

“It’s weird what you remember when you visit places – I’ve been to Japan a few times and one of the things I recall is the blue traffic lights.”

It does help to know different countries, I’ve recently sold two cruises to Japan, and being able to talk about your own experiences not only helps to put the client’s mind at rest, but manage their expectations too.


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