Brandman Agency president Kristen Vigrass talks with Doug Simon about how her agency has handled the challenges COVID posed for the travel sector on the latest “PR’s Top Pros Talk” video interview.

“It was a very tough year for travel” Vigrass says. “There was just a real sense of uncertainty. No one knew where we were going to be going.”

That uncertainty seems to be lessening, she tells Simon. “Travel is starting to rebound, we're finding that our clients are coming back” She says that in an American Express global travel trend report, 61 percent of respondents said they were looking to spend more than they normally would on a trip in 2021.

But she adds that the job of PR pros during this comeback is to “really get ahead of the communication and the messaging for our clients, because not everything opens up.”

One thing potential travelers are looking for, Vigrass tells Simon, is safety. “You have to have protocols in place, you need to have adequate cleaning and an adequate sense of space.”

That sense of space is a key factor in why some areas are recovering more quickly than others, she says. She says some properties outside dense urban areas “have actually seen really good years because they've got open spaces, they've got separate accommodations for people.”

Vigrass says the Caribbean has done “quite a good job” in managing the demands of the post-COVID travel landscape. But she cautions that “it's going to take some time for people to want to travel,” and that big cities are likely not going to be “a big area of travel just now.”

When it comes to the hurdles that women in PR face, Vigrass notes that as a woman-founded and woman-owned business, Brandman has “been very aware of what women need in the workplace, and that's maternity policies and time off for caregiving and those types of things.”

She also talks about the Brandman Partner Program, which assists senior-level practitioners by giving them the opportunity to work independently, while providing them with the basics (such as invoicing or back-end services) that a larger agency offers.

The program is focused on “what those individual practitioners are really looking for and what they need when they are looking to start their companies… It's a really good way for us to benefit and for our partners to benefit as well.”

View all of the interviews in the “PR's Top Pros Talk” series. Subscribe to get notified when new episodes are available.

Interested in taking part? Contact Doug Simon at [email protected]

D S Simon Media helps clients get their stories on television through satellite media tours and by producing and distributing content to the media. The company also produces live social media events.