Director of Travel Services Deven Crane on the Future of Incentive Travel

by: Nichole Gunn May 15, 2020

Here at Incentive Solutions, our Incentive Travel team has been hard at work since the onset of the pandemic. Check out our Director of Travel Services Deven Crane as he talks about the current state of travel, provides tips on how to make the best of travel restrictions, and offers some hope for your incentive travel future.

Hi. Deven Crane here, director of travel services at incentive Solutions. Do I look like I’m ready to rob a bank, or board an airplane?  I don't know. In these unprecedented times- aren’t you sick of that word? unprecedented times? As we navigate these foreign waters (there’s a cliché in everything).

But really, travel has been a touchy subject since the beginning of this pandemic. I am from Atlanta, Georgia, and of course, Delta Strong, and have been following what they have been doing. Did you know Delta donated two hundred thousand pounds of food? American donated eighty thousand pounds, but Delta tripled them.  Delta has extended all of their change fees, they have waived all their change fees, they have extended their medallion statuses through 2021. 

We’re in a time now where new passports aren’t even being issued- neither is global entry. Half of the air traffic is parked right now. Down 95% from a year ago. So, travel is definitely taking a turn for the unknown. While here at Incentive Solutions, we’ve been hard at work continuing to dream up your ideal incentive trip for when the doors re-open. 

Right before the pandemic happened, our travel team was working very, very hard to try to get our travel programs out the door. We had six programs that were going to operate in March and April. Of course, that all came to a halt when the phone rang and the clients called stating that they wanted to relocate the programs. 

The idea of canceling an incentive trip doesn’t sit well with us- we want to postpone them.

And I can happily say we were successful in postponing all six programs with 0% cancellation. No attrition, no cancellation. And we’ve just about rebooked everyone’s flights. 

Now what does it take to rebook that many flights? Well, a week before we were going to go to Jamaica, we had a program that had 700 people going. 700. On a Monday, client calls and wants to move the program. They were supposed to leave the following Monday. So, what do we do? We rebooked them all. Our air agents were feverishly working over there rebooking all 700 passengers, and I can successfully say- with the exception of just one carrier- they have all been rebooked. How’s that for a fast, speedy recovery?

Speaking of changing locations, let’s move into the comfort of our home.  So, travel-where is it going next? What's happening in the future? Everybody wants to know. Are we going to be wearing those masks? Are we going to have to take a COVID-19 test? We really don’t know. What we can say is dream now, and travel later.

Dream up where you want to go. Where is that place in the remote beach that you would like to be that you've never been? Because this isn't going to be the way it is now, forever. It might not be a bad idea to think domestically. South Florida is nice this time of year. So is Arizona. Maybe a road trip? All the national parks are open. Get in your car and go on out there, and when travel resumes, Incentive Solutions will be here for you.

“The world is a book and those that don’t travel read just one page.” We’ve all heard that quote before by Saint Augustine.

So, there was a statement by Jesse Neugarten, the CEO and founder of the million-member plus discount subscription Dollar Flight Club that members are booking more travel now for the future. They’re telling their customers to book because prices are cheap as you’re ever going to see them. Flights to Europe you can find now in the few hundred-dollar range. Maybe you have to cancel in the future, maybe you don’t! You’ve got an airline ticket to go! So the deals are pretty astounding- for peak summer, New Year’s Eve, and Christmas, it’s half of what it used to be. And if you have to change it, most of the carriers are offering free cancellation. So, we have a feeling that your customers and partners are going to be aching to get out of the house once all of this is over. If your company's been affected by the pandemic, give us a call. We're here, we're booking for 2021, 2022, we’re here for free consultations. 

Thanks for tuning in, and remember, you can’t control the past, but you can control where you go in your future. Thanks for coming, have a nice day.

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About Nichole Gunn

Nichole Gunn is the VP of Marketing at Incentive Solutions, an Atlanta-based incentive company that delivers advanced, agile B2B customer loyalty and channel sales incentives programs.