I've been through 9/11 (it was extremely tough), then I've been through the Economic Crash of 2008, which saw revenue for 2 years+ drop off by around 25-30% before recovering fully. Then H1N1, SARS, MERS, Zika. I've been through it all and have always come out the other side stronger. This of course is my hope and desire yet again in 2020. I'm waiting for the bounce back!
The Travel Industry is in a crisis the likes that it has never been in before. During 9/11, people still traveled but in lesser numbers and only to certain destinations they felt it was safe to go. Today with COVID-19 the whole industry has stalled in what basically equates to 100% right now. I feared a week or so ago, what Avenue Two Travel actually acted on just yesterday. I'll go more into that next. But first even before this action I sensed it.
Last week I emailed my local and federal representatives making them aware (I'm sure they were already), just how bad the travel agency industry was hurting. We are in Crisis Mode.
Yesterday in the company's web meeting which was specially called for full time advisors with the agency. The result of this meeting with ownership was a company wide policy to change all advisors to $0 salary. Yes you heard right $0 salary. They bumped my commission revenue up by +24%, and left my fees split in tact. What does this mean?
Any commission revenue that comes in to the agency during this crisis policy I'll be paid on at a higher rate. But my monthly fixed income is $0. I'm only needing to work as I need to, no official hours are required and I must handle all my wonderful clients on the books for year and future potential client bookings. Most of my clients set to travel this year are for the summer and fall, so immediate incoming revenue could almost be nil. A little buffer is that they pay revenue for previous earned month in current month. So in a few days I receive my earnings for February. Then in the first week of April they close out March, and my earnings for April will be based on what I earned this month.
This gives me about a one month buffer in fixed income & revenue right now.
With no one really set to travel in the current COVID-19 world climate in April, my May earnings outlook could turn very bleak. The company has promised soon as they can everything will be reinstated back to normal. I really understand what the company is going through, truly, and love working for Avenue Two Travel. but +24% Commission revenue for 0% in revenue = $0 DOLLARS.
I wasn't working with this company when 9/11 happened, but they said this is exactly what they did in 9/11 and it kept everyone employed and the company in business. While I could also request being furloughed (job safe) so I can claim unemployment, but by doing so I lose control of all my hard earned clientele and cannot service & communicate with them until I come back on. So either I risk bleak earnings and keep servicing my clientele or walk away from my clients and keep my job secure and claim unemployment. I hate this decision, but I'm so passionate about this profession and my clients, at this time I know my decision, TO STAY ON, in hopes this all goes away in next month or two!
If all my clients for 2020 travel as planned.
If no one cancels trips.
If this policy last through all 2020. (God I hope not)
Then my potential revenue losses over 2019, would be around 50-60% currently.
If this COVID-19 world crisis were to push into summer or fall, then even worse losses could be foreseen as clients will not be able to travel as planned and forced into trip delays or cancellations.
Now, if travel returns in next month or so, then I can also forsee clients starting to plan trips for the late summer & fall, and create new revenue in addition to that earned on currently booked trips. Right now revenue has come to a halt for nearly a month so far through March, with a likelihood this goes through April.
With talk of the economic stimulus bill likely to pass today, the agency as well as I await what the outcome of that stimulus is. The company hopes to apply for the rumored $500 billion small business forgiveness loan. Based on what I've heard in order for them to qualify for it, they would have to reinstate payroll as it was in mid March completely. If that holds true then my fixed salary income could be reinstated within a matter of days or week or two, as long as the company gets approved for the loan.
On the workers side of things the stimulus plan is rumored to include instant payouts per couple of around $2,400.00. Will that be per month? Will that be a one time payout? That amount is approx about a 1 month buffer for my wife & I, under normal monthly expenses & bills. If this is per month then I'll breath a sigh of relief for a few months.
There is also rumor it could include a national mortgage freeze for a few months. This would also be a great help to my wife & I. Speaking with our mortgage company, we found they are already regardless of federal decision accepting a 3 month mortgage freeze. So we will almost certainly take advantage of this in the coming days. We are going to need it. Several credit card banks are also offering freezes on balances and balance transfer balances for a few months, which we may also look into in the coming days. Because, we are going to need it.
To wrap up as I write this, Congress is in session and every one is saying that within hours the stimulus plan will be known and approved. We can all only hope.
I know everyone, in every industry, everywhere in the US and the world is hurting right now.
I hope all my readers stay safe, stay home and avoid exposure as much as possible to any possibility of COVID-19. To all the medical professionals and volunteers out there trying to save lives, I personally thank you for everything you are doing in these trying times, while we all Stay at Home.
My email & direct phone is active as usual for all my clientele, I'm here for you.
If I can help anyone, any potential client or reader plan travel for late 2020 or into 2021, I'm here for you, give me a chance. I would love bringing you on as a client.
I'm here for you. I'm not going anywhere.
(No seriously & literally, I'm sitting at home and not going anywhere)
All the best to all of you,
Avenue Two Travel
Luxury Travel Advisor
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