"As of mid-April I personally have had to cancel over $200,000 in vacations that I had helped my clients plan."
~ Karolyn Seice
As you are no doubt aware, there isn't a single industry in the country that hasn't been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and the shuttering of businesses that has gone along with it. Some of these businesses are considered "essential" according to the government and have been allowed to operate, while others have been deemed non-essential and forced to close. I continue to contend that while the services provided by these small businesses may not be life-sustaining, the businesses themselves are indeed essential AND life sustaining to the people who own them and those whom they employ, regardless of the industry.
But there is another side to consider. Contrary to what some politicians would have us believe, this hasn't simply been a "pause." We won't be able to hit the "play" button and simply pick up where we left off. There are long term consequences that have to be dealt with, and some of those are things that you wouldn't even think about unless it affects you personally.
Take the entertainment and recreation industry, for example. While some services like restaurants and salons are more likely to retain their clientele and have them return when they are able to open, places such as travel agencies and entertainment venues won't bounce back as quickly. There will be restrictions on travel and large gatherings for quite some time after quarantine is lifted, so these types of businesses will have to wait much longer to see a return of business.
Enchanted Destinations has been in business for the last 13 years and specializes in travel for couples and families, both small and multi-generational. The agency has home-based offices in Irwin/North Huntingdon, PA, Somerset, PA and also in Crest Hill, IL. Owner Karolyn Seice recently shared her perspective with me on the current state of her agency.
"As of mid-April I personally have had to cancel over $200,000 in vacations that I had helped my clients plan. This doesn't even include any of the trips secured by the other agents at Enchanted Destinations. This means a lot of disappointed guests, many who have planned their trip for the past several months, and some of them, for the past year. They are devastated and so are the children. All of these were cancelled due to the pandemic."
She continues: "While I expect that some clients will want to plan a trip as soon as possible, I also think that many people may be behind on their bills due to lack of work. Therefore, I am sure vacations will be put on hold until 2021, or possibly 2022. I also think that many will be wary of traveling right away, especially outside of the US. I believe that European and Caribbean travel will take a little while to rebound, but it is the cruise lines who are truly going to struggle for several months."
I asked Karolyn how she plans to deal with the aftermath: "We will continue to offer our complimentary, concierge travel planning services to all guests who book their travel with us. Yes, I said COMPLIMENTARY! We do not charge fees of any kind to our clients when they plan and secure their vacations with us. We only get compensated for our time and expertise after the client travels and returns home, and we get paid from the supplier, NOT the client. This means that Disney, Disney Cruise line, Universal, Royal Caribbean, Sandals, Beaches, Atlantis, Princess Cruise line, etc., are the ones who pay us for securing our clients with their product."
When asked what the public can do to support her business, she responded: "We love to have clients/ guests comment, interact, and share our posts, on our main Facebook and Instagram pages. However, the best way to support a local small travel agency is to give them a call before you call one of the suppliers directly to book your trip. Our prices are the same as the supplier since we do not add any fees. So really.... It is a WIN-WIN for the client. You get our personal contact information and we are the ones who help you with planning everything from the quoting process, the whole way through, until after you return home. However, if you really want to support us and our business..... WORD OF MOUTH is our best form of advertisement and it is the biggest compliment that you can give us!"
We do not charge fees of any kind to our clients when they plan and secure their vacations with us...we get paid from the supplier, NOT the client. It's a win-win!"
Please help to support Karolyn and her associates by visiting their website and by liking their Facebook page. Remember to bookmark the website so you can easily get in touch when you're ready for your next vacation!
For more info contact Karolyn by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 412-206-9477.
As always, remember to #SUPPORTLOCAL !
If you are a small business owner in Pennsylvania and would like to be featured in this project, please Contact Me.
Tracy Miller is a family, newborn, & fine art photographer serving Pittsburgh & surrounding communities in Pennsylvania including:
Greensburg, Latrobe, Irwin, North Huntingdon, Ligonier, Penn Township, Fox Chapel, Penn Hills, Monroeville, Penn-Trafford, Squirrel Hill, Wexford, Murrysville, and beyond.