As a Family Travel Association board member for the last three years and new chair of the association’s Travel Advisor committee, Jessica Griscavage cares deeply about making family travel unforgettable.
After many years working for McCabe World Travel as a travel advisor, Griscavage broke out on her own during the pandemic, launching Runway Travel. With nearly 20 years of experience as a travel advisor under the belt, FTA spoke with Griscavage about what travel means to her and what advice she has for the industry right now.
Why is family travel something you’re passionate about?
I love selling family travel. My son was on his first flight at four months, and now that he is 12, he is an avid traveler. I love showing my clients that they don’t have to sacrifice travel — it should remain an essential part of their lives. With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, families need to bond and share special moments, and I believe travel is the best way to have these memories and quality time together.
Please tell FTA members a little bit about your work and your mission.
I have been in the travel industry for 18 years. During the pandemic, I decided to branch off on my own and create my own company and brand, Runway Travel. Runway Travel is a team of five bringing our passion of travel to our clients. My passion for travel inspired me to experience various types of travel, so I can truly find the best fit for my clients. I love expanding my knowledge of destinations and experiences in-person to include things like iconic cities, diverse cruises, villa rentals, dude ranches, escorted groups, and incredible beaches, to name a few. I loved the freedom of exploring Italy with no set schedule on my villa vacation. I also appreciated the stress-free nature of seeing the National Parks with an organized tour group. It’s my goal to match the perfect destination and product with my client, and I especially love family travel! My greatest pleasure is creating memories and special moments for my clients.
Please tell FTA members a bit about the various challenges you’ve faced with marketing travel lately and some effective actions to overcome those challenges.
Over the past two years, there have certainly been challenges, many ups and downs. The first few months of the pandemic were the most challenging. We were working as hard as we always have, but were refunding millions of dollars, fighting for refunds, and trying to do what is best for our clients while walking a delicate line to protect our partners who are so vital to us. Having the partnerships and relationships was a true sign of what a valued travel advisor can bring to the table.
Through the pandemic, we have had to learn about protocols, testing, rules, and regulations for each country, cruise line, destination, product, etc. The responsibility is incredible, and our clients put their trust in us. With that, we have to know the knowledge of insurance policies and their inclusions.
With all of these challenges, I would say that not giving up, staying relevant, continuing training, and traveling have helped me overcome these obstacles. My clients had comfort knowing I personally was willing to travel and wanted to hear about my experiences.
What do you think are the big travel “trends” in the year ahead?
I believe the demand for domestic travel will continue for the next year or two. Ranches, villas, home rentals, and destinations with outdoor spaces have become highly sought after over the past two years and I believe will continue to do so in the years to come.
When it comes to family travel in 2022, what’s your main piece of advice/wisdom?
Pack your patience. Travel is different in a post-pandemic world. Service isn’t 100% back to where it used to be. Travelers need to know service will be a little slower as hotels and resorts are trying to rehire and retrain their staff. Also, travel is back. Don’t wait to plan your travels. Airfares are rising and hotels and cruises are booking up quickly. Rates are increasing. Plan as soon as you can to avoid disappointment.
Most importantly: Always work with a travel advisors. We were there for our clients, navigating Covid with new rules and regulations and working tirelessly to change and modify vacations, sometimes three times. A travel advisor will always be your best advocate.
For more information and inspiration, visit Runway Travel at runwaytravelco.com or on Instagram @runwaytravelco.
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