THE Travel Corporation’s (TTC) Global CEO, Brett Tollmann, believes that there is still a bright future for travel advisors, despite the massive disruption imposed by COVID-19 this year. Although booking patterns may change, he forecast that, particularly in the case of long-haul travellers from Australia and New Zealand to the USA and Europe, trips are actually likely to get longer in the future because coronavirus measures may necessitate complex procedures for crossing borders.
Although naturally the reduction in bricks and mortar outlets in Australia is a concern for TTC, he downplayed suggestions this would drive a major shift to direct-to-consumer distribution.
In contrast to recent years where there has been a trend to shorter, more frequent trips, the rise of extended overseas travel is going to mean the role of travel advisors is even more important. “There are so many moving parts — we can’t book all of that,” he said, suggesting travellers will be wanting to combine multiple packages such as guided holidays, river cruises, ocean voyages, car hire and more. “We’re not built to do that, and so we’re not going to be able to satisfy the consumer out there,” he told travelBulletin.
Tollmann, who presides over a 40-brand portfolio including Insight, Trafalgar, Uniworld, Contiki, Adventure World, AAT Kings and more, urged the industry to try to remain positive and look forward to 2021 with optimism. “We are expecting a literal tsunami of bookings once borders open,” he said, with consumers across the globe eager to travel as soon as they are able.