Ready For Take Off
By Lee Zanello – General Manager of Independent by Flight Centre - March, 2021
March is shaping up to be a Pandemic PB for our agents at Independent by Flight Centre.
There are signs everywhere that the return to travel is imminent, even if several major policy and vaccination hurdles remain across Canada. Our agents are seeing a dramatic increase in both enquiry and bookings this month and we are set to have our best month since the pandemic began.
The tipping point is just ahead of us as travelers are securing the best rooms at the best resorts for the winter holidays and cruise enquiry and bookings for 2022 and 2023 are also on the rise.
For any agents who may have put their business on the back burner through the pandemic, now is the time to wake your business up or you could find yourself behind when it comes to availability once travel restrictions lift.
Independent by Flight Centre is committed to instilling our agents with the confidence they need to navigate travel in a COVID and post-COVID world and our “Ready, Set, Go” virtual education series throughout March and April is designed to help agents get their business back on track.
Ready, Set, Go starts off with our agents revisiting their branding, websites and marketing initiatives, helping them understand what tools they have at their fingertips to reach out and engage with their clients. We help agents understand how to make the most of their own brand, if they have one, and how to best position and leverage their business partnership with the strong, consumer-recognized brand of Flight Centre. Never has it been so important for a traveler to have faith in the strength and integrity of the business they choose for their travel needs, and the Flight Centre name provides our Independent agents with exactly that.
We will then be moving into sessions designed around navigating all the rules and precautions around COVID when booking product. Our centralized COVID-19 hub provides agents with all the up-to-date information they need at both a destination and supplier level. Ensuring this information is as accurate as it can be is our top priority as we come out of the pandemic.
How to use this information to book cruises, ITC and land packages is the primary focus of our April sessions, where agents will be benefit from our industry experts on these topics as well as the ability to form their own support group and networks through our internal social media channels.
Our agents have already been preparing themselves to revisit the fees they charge for their clients, with many agents formalizing a fee structure into their business for the very first time. Understanding and knowing your value is going to be key for agents moving forward and it is inspiring to see so many businesses stepping forward with confidence in this area.
The last section of the Ready, Set, Go series focuses on the new IFC systems we have been preparing behind the scenes throughout the pandemic. There are two key systems that we are launching that will help our agents run more efficient and profitable businesses than they have ever run before. The first is a new product booking engine, a global initiative across every Flight Centre business globally, that gives agents access to ten times the product they’ve had access to in the past and all in an easy to navigate, easily filtered environment, so they can get exactly what their clients want, at the right price, much quicker than before.
The second major system to launch is our IFC lead generation program which uses the strength of Flight Centre’s marketing and brand name recognition for the benefit of our Independent agents. This will be an absolute game changer for many of our businesses who have had to hustle for every lead, every enquiry, locally in the past. Bringing national attention to our network of Independent agents and connecting those agents with travelers who value the expertise that an agent brings to the table, will be one of the biggest success stories to come out of the pandemic for IFC.
We have not been sitting idly by waiting for travel to resume; Independent by Flight Centre has been committed to using this time to ensure that when travel comes back, we will be ready, and our agents will have everything they need to make their businesses fly.
We are far closer to the end of this thing than we are to the beginning. Our tray tables are closed, airplane mode is turned on, and we are ready for takeoff.