It has been impossible to escape the overwhelming news coverage of COVID-19. As a member of the global tourism community, Brownell is at the center of the storm. Last week, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell cited the effects on tourism and travel when he announced a rate cut. It was a “be careful what you wish for” moment, as travel and tourism leaders have longed for recognition of our industry’s importance to the global economy. Although COVID-19 is new, global threats and disruptions to our industry are not.
Brownell has been in continuous operations for more than 133 years. We have the benefit of drawing on the lessons learned from The Great Depression, two World Wars, 9/11, SARS, Ebola, The Great Recession and innumerable weather-related disasters. The most important lesson of all is: how you treat people matters.
How we treat our clients matters. Our community of Travel Advisors have been indefatigable in providing information, answering questions, making changes, re-routing, re-booking, and yes, cancelling travel arrangements. But what I am most impressed by is their stewardship and compassion in a time of unrelenting uncertainty. Without fail, they put their clients’ interests at the forefront of everything they do.
How we treat our travel partners matters. Brownell’s relationship with suppliers is a key asset because it is how we are able to create magic for our clients that can’t be duplicated by booking through any other channel. These relationships stretch back decades and many of them have been tested as we worked through prior crises together over the years. While we work with our clients to adjust plans and preserve their funds, we are also keeping an eye to treating our supplier partners in a manner that helps them remain in business. We want these guides, drivers, hotel staff, and others to be in business when our clients are ready to travel again. We also have learned over the years that they remember how well the Brownell team treated them during a crisis, and they extend that especially warm welcome to our clients when they return.
Despite the clouds of uncertainty, one thing remains crystal clear: how we treat each other will ultimately determine how our industry recovers. It is a privilege and a pleasure to navigate this beautiful, unpredictable world of ours with you.
NOTE: As media reports can often present a less-than-reliable and sensationalized understanding of a complex situation, Brownell has put together a resource for the most credible and relevant information. Please bookmark the page as the information is updated regularly: https://www.brownelltravel.com/covid-19-coronavirus-update/