We are counting down the last weeks of 2020, and it is sure to be one that none of us will forget in a hurry. Usually, I try to be upbeat and keep my articles reasonably light, but I would be remiss in failing to acknowledge those who have genuinely suffered in the last twelve months. We hear about many working in strained professions such as medical staff, first responders, and, in specific forums such as ours, Disney cast members. However, one particular group of people has had a pretty dark year, and most of us are still taking them for granted.
Our travel agents. And by our, I don’t just mean the outstanding crew at Dreams Unlimited Travel, but all the travel agents we come across in our adventures worldwide.
COVID-19 has hit the travel industry harder than most, with international and domestic travel coming to a screaming halt at a moment’s notice earlier in the year. While most of us found disappointment and frustration in our canceled vacations, the stories from friends of mine in the industry tell me that not many took the time to sympathize with their friendly travel agent.
Think about it: they take our calls every day, hearing our concerns, answering our questions, and in some cases, taking the brunt of client aggression. What isn’t always apparent to their customers is that this type of phone call is what now makes up their entire day. While we express dissatisfaction about changed plans or limited entertainment options, all of the magic they love about their role has disappeared. Their job description has been turned on its head from making dreams come true to working through angry emails and trying to make us feel better.
Often the bearer of bad news, your agent is the one that lets you know when guidelines have shifted. With continually evolving restrictions and circumstances, that can be a daily exercise. When things get even worse, like for those of you unable to board your planned Disney Cruise Line voyages, they are the ones that help you to make alternative arrangements, finding the best options available to suit your future availability.
At the moment, theirs is a thankless job. In some instances, I’ve even heard stories of verbal abuse, which is outright revolting. Instead of going home, excited for their clients to experience what they have created together, many agents leave overwhelmed by the negativity clouding their days. Now, we can’t change the current state of travel, but we can collectively make their jobs easier by thanking them for all of their hard work, even if some of it doesn’t come to fruition.
As this year draws to a close, I think it is essential to reflect on our experiences and extract any positivity from them. For me, that includes reaching out to those that made the hard times a little easier and sharing my appreciation. It goes further than you realize.
My challenge for you is to call your travel agent, send an email, reach out to them in any way you can, and say thank you. Thank them for taking call after call, all with the same concerns. Thank them for looking after your feelings while undoing months of their own work they had invested in your vacation.
We’ve all had a rough year; one that will undoubtedly go down in the history books as better behind us. I do understand that sometimes that common courtesy can go by the wayside when we are preoccupied with so many stressful aspects of life, but now is the time of year where we can correct those moments with a heart-felt call or email to simply say thank you.
To all of you agents out there feeling defeated, whether we know each other or not, you have my sincerest gratitude for what you do. We need you, and we appreciate you.
Thank you for all the memories you have created for us over the years, and all of those ones still to come. Your magic touch might come from behind the scenes, but the effect your efforts have on our precious moments is priceless.