I am Loredana Vasilescu, founder of Sweet Fly Travel, a Romanian leisure holiday agency.
Given the current pandemic situation and the travelling and flight restrictions, I had to take up a different business. The leitmotif of this period to me was ADAPTABILITY.
As you know, the tourism industry has been one of the most impacted industries this year, what with the more and more frequent and longer and longer interruptions of its business.
We realised the field was vulnerable in spring when flights were cancelled or suffered serious restrictions, and people were mostly locked down.
We were aware that resuming the normal course of activity was not up to us, that what we could do was to somehow adapt. What were the actions we took to mitigate losses? We focused on our current clients.
As 80% of our activity was based on ticketing, we focused on acquiring ticket disbursements from airline companies and on obtaining vouchers to allow clients to change flight details.
We closely checked the travelling conditions and restrictions before making new reservations. Our clients were carefully advised and we identified the best solutions for them to travel safely. Our business added value lies in the care we have for the client. This year more than ever, we wanted to look closer into their needs and we are patiently waiting for travelling to be resumed under safety conditions.
I moved on led by courage, my passion for travelling and the respect I bear for my clients
During hard times, I relied on my courage and my strength to move on, on my passion for travelling and the respect I bear for the clients who have been by our side the 13 years we have been in business.
Like all small businesses, we need to balance our expenditure with our income
Our agency was launched before the 2008-2009 economic crisis when many businesses were closing. I believe that proper resource management was one of the key elements of our survival then, as it is now.
It is not about being optimistic, but about being patient You cannot be optimistic in a business facing a lot of restrictions the whole year through. The map of limitation and quarantine-free countries one can travel without producing declarations or Covid test results is undergoing almost daily changes.
One can be patient. People have not given up their appetite for travelling, but this needs to happen under utmost safety conditions, free of any restrictions. I do hope the pandemic will soon be just a bad memory to us, looking forward to our ability to enjoy freedom of movement again!
Travelling agencies generate annual revenue of RON 4 billion. However, in 2020, to trigger cost efficiency, many agencies closed their places of business, fired people, or placed some of them in technical unemployment, postponed the payment of services – and these are just some of the solutions adopted.
Plans for the future – from travelling agency to online art & craft store
The pandemic proved that online has become a lifestyle. Socialisation, education, businesses – everything went online.
In order for us to be close to our clients who want to go on holiday, we started a new project: “Virtual travel around the world with art & craft.” – www.GoCraft.ro
– is an online store specialising in educational toys and in art & craft, targeting both children, adolescents and adults.
In order to get to really know a country, you need to know its customs and traditions. The aim of GoCraft is to learn about the culture and customs of other peoples through art & craft.
As you can see, this time of crisis has had us consider other related business fields and focus more on the online. Adaptability, being market-oriented and networking are the elements required to generate solutions meeting the different needs born out of this crisis situation.
This article first appeared in the Elite Business Women magazine.
Read the full magazine here.