Mix Tape For The Travel Industry
...and other destination based jams.
Good hedgerows make for good neighbors... or so the expression goes. I would argue that it should be,
"Good hedgerows make good neighbors but music has no bounds."
This is what I found out a few weeks ago working in my Oxford in the garden.
Suddenly, I heard my name. I turned around and there was my neighbor Charlie poking his head over the garden fence. Perched in the most precarious position, wobbling with large gadren shears in hands, while balanced on his kid's trampoline... He asked who created the music playlist. Radiohead had come on and he pleasantly sang along while he too worked on his plot. Charlie remarked that several band members live in Oxford. (It's true I checked.)
The conversation turned to mix tapes, the aural love letters of the 90's. We reminisced over the process of making them, receiving them and most importantly choosing the right songs. Then it sparked an idea inside me. The travel industry, a workplace that has been kind to me, my guests that have supported me and listeners stuck at home need a love letter.
At the onset of the outbreak travel professionals spent literally hundreds of hours cancelling, rescheduling and requesting refunds for their clients. They used their networks and industry muscles on behalf of their clients. (Never used a travel agent? This here is a pretty strong argument for not waiting on hold yourself.) Did you know that travel agents only get paid once your travel is complete? This is the same with tour operators and hoteliers. That means they worked once to plan the trip and again to undo everything and received no or little compensation. This is like double barrel black eyes.
On top of that anyone in the travel industry is having their inbox flooded with training offers, promotional offers and the saddest, updates on our colleagues truly suffering around the world. The tourism money is gone and everyone in the industry is feeling it. Some have thrown in the towel and are abandoning tourism all together. (Hug these people when this whole thing lifts.)
Thankfully, in my observation, most are sticking with the industry. We love the people we work with. We love helping tourists connect to new people and places around the world. We believe when we've figured out the right boundaries travel will be back in a large way.
Until then., we are all processing, grieving, gaining strength back and starting to hope and explore this new landscape. It's hard and emotional.