Docked cruise ships, flight cancellations, tour refunds—when the travel industry went into free fall in March 2020, Debbie Fiorino saw the chaos up close. As the chief operating officer of travel agency Dream Vacations, Fiorino worked tirelessly to support the company’s more than 1,500 franchisees, who were scrambling to assist thousands of panicked clients with abruptly canceled plans.
A year and a half of lockdowns later, those clients are ready for a vacation, and they’re returning to the agents who helped them in their time of need. With constantly changing COVID-19 testing and vaccine requirements, travel agents have become a vital source of information for many confused travelers. Plus, being stuck at home gave new franchisees time to set up shop. Fiorino discusses what it’s been like keeping Dream Vacations afloat and preparing for travel’s big comeback.
How has the pandemic impacted demand for travel agents?
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