Travel agents work to rebook trips and boost traveler confidence
With amusement parks closed and cruise ships docked, many vacations are left in limbo. Travel agents are working overtime to make sure families have what they need.
COVID-19 has hit the travel industry hard. Thousands of flights have been canceled -- flights were down 40 percent at Toledo Express in March, and similar numbers are expected in April. Disney properties in the US remain closed, and many people are uncertain about travel.
Michelle Bork, who works for Travelmation, specializes in Disney vacations and cruises. Right now, she is working around the clock to help clients with trips that were canceled due to travel restrictions.
"I've probably cancelled or rebooked 30 to 40 families in the past couple months," says Bork.
Right now, everything is unknown. Bork says she follows all of the Disney blogs and travel sites to find out when the parks in Florida may reopen.
It's a popular spot for those living in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan to take a trip. For those hoping to go this summer, it's a waiting game.
Bork says seeing Shanghai Disney reopen this week was a light at the end of the tunnel, and she is hoping for news on the US Disney properties soon.
As for anyone who has a cruise still booked in the coming months, Bork recommends waiting it out instead of canceling now.
"I tell all my clients wait until the vendor, wait until Disney or Royal Caribbean cancel you and then we'll reschedule. Some of these cruise lines are offering good deals and they are getting better deals if they rebook if the cruise cancels them," says Bork.
Bork is confident the industry will rebound and is predicting a massive year for travel in 2021. Until then, she is encouraging people to take each day in stride and assuring clients that they will get to travel again.
She is working with those who are comfortable going now and encouraging those who want to hold off, that the decision is OK, too.
In fact, the company Bork works for is considering expanding the business model to offer shorter trips within driving distance this summer so families who don't want to hop on plane have something to enjoy.