Maple Grove Travel Agent: COVID-19 Putting Major Dent in Business
The novel coronavirus has been catastrophic to the travel industry. So says a Maple Grove travel agent.
The pandemic has put a major dent into business locally, nationally and globally. Ann Martin of the The Travel Source in Maple Grove says she has felt the sting of the pandemic.
“We really haven’t had any bookings since mid-March,” Martin said. “Pretty much right now, we’re just working with all of our customers to make sure sure they get their refunds. All bookings were canceled from end of March through mid-June. We do have some travelers that are hoping to go. We are monitoring their bookings, seeing when is the best time to cancel if they have to, and making sure they get the most money back and credit.”
Travel Agent: COVID-19 More Devastating than 9/11
Ann Martin has also experienced the industry getting through the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“It’s worse,” Martin said. “It’s the biggest nightmare really any independent travel agent can imagine. Everybody’s in the same boat with small businesses. We’re like a small business.”
Magnifying the problem is no one knows when the pandemic will finally be over. Martin can only hope things return to normal someday.
“We don’t know,” Martin said. “I think that’s kind of the scary part, can we go back to traveling? Will all of our customers travel again next year? There’s a lot of scared people out there, scared to travel and leave the house. It’s very devastating. It’s nothing I would have ever thought would happen.”
Popular tourist spots are closed. Martin says even if someone flew to a destination, no one knows what would be open when they arrived. Ballparks, theme parks, water parks, national parks, downtown entertainment areas and lots of beaches are currently off limits.
The COVID-19 rules also change from location to location. What you can do in one city, state or country might be far different than in other places.
“You can get on a domestic flight, but what hotels are going to be open and what is going to be open to do?” said Martin. “I’ve noticed that myself checking hotels I had planned. Is the pool going to be open, is the restaurant?”
No demand to fly means most major carriers have cut back flights. There are less options now for travelers and not as many nonstop flights from the Twin Cities. Delta, which has a hub at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, recently announced that it would stop flying to 10 airports. Those include Chicago Midway; Long Beach, Calif.; and Westchester County, NY.
“If you have tickets domestically this summer, definitely check your flight continuously,” Martin said. “There’s lots of schedule changes. Make sure your hotels are open.”
Martin says she’s getting inquiries about the fall, but right now everyone is holding off booking.