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For the past two weeks, small travel agents have literally spent hours on hold for clients to make things right for their vacations, rescheduling for a future date, working on all their details, and going to bat for them. Trying to solve problems and get future credits, these agents are trying to make it so their clients do not have to do any of these challenges. The agents know what their clients want and know the questions to ask. All the while airlines and Online Travel Agencies (think big box travel companies that are online) actually told people to stop calling them. Or hung up on them after three hours on hold. It makes me so sad for people. Some have even asked for my assistance, but unfortunately, only the original agency can handle a booking, and my limited time is reserved for those who are already our clients.

These Online Travel Agencies are not your friend or your advocate, they do not care about your disappointments or your dreams, they will not be able to offer suggestions and alternatives to help you, they just take your order and move on to the next caller.

Making a Plan to Return to Normal

These last three weeks have been anything but business as normal, and one of the industries the hardest hit has been travel. When it comes time to rebook that plan for an evening carriage tour in Charleston, South Carolina or the buggy rides for the kids out in the country, it is important to know that you have someone who will listen to your concerns. It is for these very reasons that small travel agencies who provide individual services want you to know why you book with a travel agency like theirs. The small family owned business run by mostly the ones, one with back office help from a husband or occasional tech or social media help from the kids. Your dreams for your vacation matter to these small businesses because they are more closely connected to your experience. Getting all your details right matters to these smaller agents. Finding the right itinerary for you matters to them. You matter to them.
These small businesses, especially those that cater to local opportunities like an evening carriage tour in Charleston, South Carolina or Savannah, Georgia, know the hidden secrets about what your family will enjoy when you travel.

Although the national travel news may focus on the airlines and international cruise ships, these small travel agencies have taken quite a hit on their spring plans. These small businesses that offer horse drawn carriage rides with drivers they know by name understand the short term cancellations, but they are busy on helping their clients plan for the future. For now, as they look forward to a brighter summer, they are busy working on things they can like getting that blog up and running, email campaigns, and marketing options that can sometimes be put on the back burner while travel season is bursting.
When this pandemic turns around, and it will, these small agencies hope that many people will consider supporting all of the small business owners you can. These businesses feed their families and have kids in college and are creeping closer to retirement. They depend on you, their valued clients.

On those darkest of days when it seems like the sheltering in place will never end, it is important to look back on those favorite trips that your family has had in the past. Create that online scrapbook of the evening carriage tour in Charleston that you took on your honeymoon, the one you want your children to experience. As many as 37% of families indicate that vacations make them happy, making it the activity that makes families most happy. So why not spend some of your shelter in place time reliving those best evening carriage tour in Charleston memories, and planning for your next outing, an outing that contributes to the fact that one out of nine U.S. jobs depend on travel and tourism. This current health situation is serious, but so will the celebrations be when this is over.

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