While there has been plenty of doom and gloom surrounding the travel industry amid the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, some bright spots are shining through. Luxury Travel Advisor spoke with Michael Johnson, EVP at Travel Edge, to get his take. Fortunately, he says that Travel Edge travel advisors are still booking—and Johnson even expects luxury travelers to pick up where they left off before the near-global lockdown.
When it comes to client sentiment and their outlook on travel, Johnson says they are “certainly” more relaxed now than they were initially. “Advisors are touching base, sometimes daily and weekly, to start planning for a brighter tomorrow,” Johnson says. “There is so much excitement generated through the careful crafting of a trip and our advisors and clients are excited to get back to that. These clients want to travel. They want to dream of travel. They want to plan travel. They are very optimistic for when our world finally opens back up again.”
Even better: They’re booking. Johnson adds that Travel Edge is starting to see bookings for fall and holiday 2020. As far as cruising, clients are currently booking trips for 2021. Some concern, however, does remain. To help quell this, Johnson says Travel Edge is “working closely with our luxury partners to create bookings with flexible terms and conditions to remove all risk of booking at this time.”
When stay-at-home orders and travel restrictions are lifted, Johnson expects the buying and travel patterns of luxury clients to be nearly identical to before the crisis. The biggest change, he says, will be the effort of being more “conscious travelers.” He tells Luxury Travel Advisor, “With the world being shut down, we are all becoming more aware of what is most valuable to us: Community, connection and love. These will need to be at the core of our service—and a common thread from the start of a client’s trip until the end of it. We expect the luxury sectors of travel to be stronger than ever, but with a true focus on heart and soul.”