SALEM, Ohio — The group travel industry is making a solid return to pre-COVID-19 times as the pent-up demand of people wanting to travel with friends escalates. A few positive-minded organizations have accelerated this movement, the leader of which has been Collette, a well-known name in travel.
The Group Travel Family of Brands recently interviewed Christian Leibl-Cote, Collette’s senior vice president of global business; he was asked to explain his company’s effort and to share its philosophy with the travel industry. Charlie Presley conducted the Zoom interview, recorded it and made it available to the Group Travel Family’s 25,000 leaders of group travel programs.
“I was impressed with the openness of Collette in telling their story and the willingness to help others in group travel get back on track,” said Presley.
Leibl-Cote began by explaining the Collette theory of treating the customer right. He used the example of Collette’s refunding a whopping $150 million in customer deposits when COVID-19 hit. “It is our belief that until a trip operates and Collette delivers the service, that the money belongs to the traveler,” Leibl-Cote said. That action by Collette has paid off with return travelers as the company opens its domestic and international travel programs.
Leibl-Cote went on to say that Collette has survived World War II, the 9/11 attack and COVID-19 in its 104 years of selling travel. Collette refunded $32 million as a result of 9/11. The company remains family owned, which may be a major factor in its exemplary treatment of customers.
The Collette interview went on to focus on the importance of group travel in human life. “People travel as much for human interaction as for the destination,” Leibl-Cote said. “Travel demand from loyalty programs is a strong indicator of the well-being of the travel industry.”
Although people want to travel with like-minded friends, it always takes a leader to organize the trip and to give people a convenient and affordable avenue to travel.
The Collette interview can be seen on the Group Travel Family of Brands’ YouTube channel, youtube.com/grouptravelfamily, or on any of the Group Travel Family social media outlets.