We’re all impatient to get on the road and be off with our tours – trips that have been planned and cancelled while we all wrestled with COVID-19 and its worldwide fallout. So, while we’re waiting for the gates to open so we can jump in with our trips to wherever, here are some things we should be doing in preparation.

  1. Update your mailing list of potential travelers, verifying that addresses are correct so you can roll out your travel announcement virtually the minute it’s all systems go.
  2. Create a special bank account ready to receive deposits the minute you’re able to announce trip availability to your potential clientele.
  3. Have an acknowledgement letter ready and waiting in your computer that you can personalize for each new client, acknowledging their booking the minute it comes in, ready to mail the very day you receive their booking.
  4. Have some sort of special referral program ready and available to send to each new booking so every individual who enrolls in your travel project can help you publicize the trip with his/her friends to expand potential trip enrollments. Such a “bring along family and friends” promotion should be ready to go to each new booking as soon as they book their reservations.
  5. Plan for subsequent mailings you’re going to send to each enrolled client, keeping up their enthusiasm about the coming trip. Tell them you still have room for any of their friends and additional family members who might care to come along.
  6. Report any new exciting events you’ve just added to the trip at no additional cost to the clients – maybe somebody special they’re now going to meet or some new site that just reopened they’re going to get to visit along the way.
  7. Start this same kind of planning ahead for handling perhaps a dozen different future trips, understanding that all of them will probably not operate – that you’ll be fortunate if only one or two materialize with a strong number of enrollments and others may not materialize at all. Space them out so you’re not competing with yourself but are offering a variety, perhaps scheduled for different times of year and as different types of trips – some short, some longer, some in different price categories.
  8. Be on the lookout for potential group leaders who might be interested in earning a free trip or partially-free trip from you by selling the trip to his/her friends or colleagues.
  9. Find ways to make the coming trip or program of trips more visible in the community where you are promoting, living or working.
  10. Think far ahead. Yes, plan for a trip that will depart soon, but also plan for a trip for a year from now. There will be those who feel they’ve been unjustly locked down for a year or more due to the pandemic and are anxious to get away N-O-W! And then there will be those who need some time to plan for a future trip when they’ve had time to prepare, perhaps to save the money. But whatever you do – go for it! You’ll never succeed until you try.

By Marty Sarbey de Souto