By: Chip Juedes, Fox World Travel CEO
As 2021 comes to an end, I am certain that many of us, both personally and professionally, would prefer to focus on the windshield rather than the rearview mirror given the last 20 months. It is hard to believe we are approaching two years since Covid-19 made headlines and ultimately brought the travel industry to a near standstill. Recovery for the travel industry certainly hasn’t been the “Nike swoosh” experts predicted last year at this time. Rather, it’s been a road full of bumps and a few detours. At Fox, we looked at this “pause” as if we were afforded some unexpected time and an opportunity to really look under the hood on our existing processes, develop new ones and engage additional resources to challenge the status quo in every aspect of our business, all with the customer experience at the forefront. We were able to innovate and best address the influx of canceled tickets, changes with airline ticket penalties, Covid related travel restrictions and new reporting tools, the enhancement list is as long as my three children’s lists to Santa.
The pandemic also accelerated consolidation in the travel industry, which only provided more proof points that our culture at Fox is paramount to our solid foundation and success. We understand it is our culture, driven by our Fox Family, that has been and will continue to be our key to success as the industry continues to morph. The effect a decision will have on our Fox Family is at the core of every discussion we have, whether big or small. As the third-generation leader of our family business, our focus on the long term has never wavered, even during the largest impact we have seen in our history. While it has been a much longer impact than we could have ever anticipated, I reflect on the decisions we made over the last two years delivered transparently each week to our entire Fox Family and am proud we chose the path we did, to ensure our culture remains intact.
Suffice to say, we are all excited for our lives and the industry returning to “normal” or the “new normal”. Sure, travel patterns will change as will travel budgets, not to mention the reasons behind the trips, but there is something about meeting in person, building those relationships through face-to-face conversations, which has me (and many others) excited. I have had many opportunities to travel for business this past year with the most memorable takeaway of informal conversations that simply wouldn’t have happened over a video call. Existing relationships continued in a virtual world, but the building of new and successful relationships simply is more effective when in the same room with one another. Personally, I didn’t necessarily understand it was missing until it was back, nor how much being back in person added so much to the equation.
With travel now in a gradual recovery, it is crystal clear our team will remain at the forefront of every decision and will remain key as we navigate the upcoming year. I am so proud of each and every one of them, their willingness and ability to pivot and adapt time after time, and am truly honored to stand beside them, arms locked just as we have for the past two years, as we focus on our future together. Sure, we will all have our stories and wounds to compare, but the celebration will be all the sweeter knowing we made it through with one another. Simply put, there isn’t anyone else I would have rather gone into this “battle” alongside than my Fox Family.
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