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Hi! To everyone, and hope everyone is safe and healthy!
Times have been new and different lately, let me give you some updates and thoughts...
Will We Travel Again?
Short answer, YES! We will all have to decide based on the world as it is outside, and the world as it is inside out houses, and families, when the best time to get out and travel again will be. For some that may be relatively soon. For some that unfortunately may be never. There may be some new factors in your decision to travel, and how/where to travel. You health the health of the area you are going to, the size of the group, and more. Of course we am here to help, and guide, but in the end, its a personal decision. I can assure you that no one at TowPath Travel will push you where you don't want to be. In the end, this thing will be wrestled under control. There are many ways it could happen, but that is beyond the scope of this post. It will not last forever.
What has it been like for us?
I get this question from almost every client I speak with. It has been busy, and we will survive. While there is no doubt that this isn't a great situation, for us, we are getting by, and we have been very excited to have been there for our clients. This is what we are here for. No one wants to cancel their trip, but when the need arises, we are glad to take the stress out of it, and to take care of it. You have enough going on right now, you don't need the additional burden of worrying about your trip. Most cancellations were taken care of within minutes for the client. A single phone call is often all it took.
Clients working with other agencies, Expedia, Costco and many other online booking sites, resulted in 5-10 hour hold times.... and rarely did you get taken care of. Travelers who used a travel agent... especially TowPath Travel, all have been taken care of quickly...we dealt with any hold times, while they went back to taking care of their life.
Will it be cheaper to travel once things start to go back to normal?
We will never lie to you, or mislead you because we don't like the answer, or we think you won't like the answer.
First, no one knows for sure. These are uncharted waters, and no one knows where they will lead us. Until all of the damage is done, there is no way to accurately predict the recovery.
Second... going from what we have been seeing in bookings... and yes, people are still booking trips... prices will be going higher. Deep discount "fire sales" begging people to travel simply does not at the moment look like the way it will go. There are a lot of future travel credits that have been issued, all with some sort of expiration date. Capacity is flat, or even down in some cases... so when you squeeze regular paying travelers, in with the people trying to use their future travel credits, into limited capacity... you don't get empty tours, or empty ships... and when they are full, the prices go up. Well over 60% of clients are taking future travel credits over refunds, when refunds have been offered.
There will be some changes I am sure... I suspect shorter, closer to home cruises will be more popular than longer more exotic cruises.
Finally.... Will we be in business, will vendor X be in business, etc?
First, we will be here!! We have a financial plan that can take us through several years of no traveling if need be (though it certainly won't be several years of no travel!)
The vendors... we work with many hundreds of vendors. While its impossible to say for each one, and certainly, I am sure we will lose a few... the vast majority, especially of the popular and big ones, will be here. I suspect some small companies to be purchased by some bigger ones... but the major tour companies, and cruise lines will make it.
It's fun to watch the "experts" on TV tell us about how things are and what they will look like.. but they don't know. Either they are guessing, or are just not informed. We will always tell you what we know, the good, the bad and even the ugly. Honesty and service is critical, now more than ever.
When you are ready... we will be here
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