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Reply To: Hi Travel & Business Experts!I have a boutique travel agency in Australia and expanded into New Zealand about 8 months ago – I am based in New Zealand. Due to the nature of COVID-19, I have lost all business (income) until at least December 2020. I still have a few inquiries coming through for next year, but certainly not at capacity of what I am used to.. My people (Clients) are uncertain about future travel at this time because of the issues that have come up with cancellation terms and conditions through airlines/suppliers, time-due of refunds, which for most of my AU database, is upwards of 9 months, and with these changing every day, and insurance not covering, they are not confident in placing funds down.. What I am thinking of doing, is posting some ‘pre-registration’ options for some holidays for 2021. I am thinking of basing these packages on the usual travel spots, inc; Bali, Fiji, New Zealand. I am then thinking of contacting Intrepid / Scenic / Royal, to start working on some deals for next year. I was just wondering if anyone can please advise me on the best way to do this and if I even should do it? How should I notify my people of these awesome 2021 programs I can create? How much do I charge for a ‘pre-reg’ deposit – to ensure a financial commitment? What should my rules around this be?Any assistance here would be greatly appreciated. I am trying my best to stay positive, but with all income down the drain, I am just as nervous as my clients are around where the industry is heading.. Thanks in advance, Soleil

Hi Soleil
Andy and Leslie have provided absolutely solid advice and I agree with them.
For the short-medium term I would also look at following the AirNZ lead on this.
If they are clearly signalling they will be positioning themselves as a domestic airline with future international options as the world eases travel restrictions then I think it would be fair to assume that would be a good mindset for you to look at how to position your business over the next 12-24 months.

The silver lining for travellers is that local tourism sector will be screaming out for cashflow and offering killer deals.

Look at aligning yourself now with local operators and getting the message to your existing clients that they have an incredible opportunity to see their own country like never before and experience things that the originally thought were way out of their price range.

This is a great way to look at reinventing domestic travel and those that sell this opportunity to the existing client base that traditionally took overseas trips will have a much greater chance of thriving.

Domestic travellers also tend to have a shorter lead time so this could improve cashflow.

Start talks with operators as early as you can so when NZ comes out of Level 4 and things start relaxing you are well positioned to take advantage of the timing when people will be looking at getting away from a home they have been cooped up in for weeks.

You could also start showcasing local travel destinations and operators now (without the hard sell) to get your existing audience thinking about local options and show that you are supporting the industry.

In short – be a leader not a follower and be ready to move ahead of the competition