“Can’t Wait to Say Wheels Up”

23 Mar 2020

Brent Blake

President, Acendas Travel

When everyone is sharing in the pain of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is a futile exercise to say one group is challenged more than another—especially when we are relatively early in the battle and tough times remain.

However, I do use this opportunity to express my appreciation for our nation’s healthcare community for the extraordinary efforts it is making to protect our nation’s health. Nurses, doctors, EMTs, administrators, staffers, manufacturers, distributors, etc, are answering the call with remarkable courage, strength and endurance. To say we are blessed is an understatement.

I implore all of us to heed the call of our nation’s leaders and medical community to practice social distancing. Normally, it would be difficult for the owner of a travel agency to tell people to stay put. As much as it hurts to say it, there will be a time for us to travel. Now isn’t the time. And when that time comes, I hope each of us will either flock to the beaches and museums, cruise the oceans or rivers, explore a national park or ancient ruins, visit Mickey or watch the whales. As we restart our economy, I trust business people will book flights, rent cars and book hotel rooms to engage in commerce. 

Travel is vital to mankind. Not only in terms of dollars and cents, but also as a means to share ideas, learn from other societies, and enrich our souls. As one of our travel advisors says: “travel is the passport to peace.” But again, that time will come after we take care of our obligations to ourselves and each other.

As a small business owner, I have been pained by decisions that have forced us to furlough staff and alter operations. We have been a member of this business community for 35 years and have grown steadily over time. We’ve expanded to Minneapolis, St. Louis and Sioux Falls. We have had record sales each of the past three years.

Then—boom!—the pandemic hits and we are operating at bare bones. We are still servicing clients. Flights are being re-booked. Vacations are being rescheduled for later in the year or the next. I would be less than honest if I did not say we are hurting. Not only is our business hurting, but the Acendas Family is hurting. We have always prided ourselves on having a positive work environment where we know each other’s families, we engage in activities together outside of work, and we pick up for others in times of personal strife.

The irony is earlier this month we were notified that we were selected as a Kansas City Champion of Business. A few days ago, one of our associates said it is tough to feel like a champion of business when staff is being furloughed and revenues are declining. But champions get off the canvass when they get knocked down. Champions fight. Champions lead. Right now my focus is making sure we are in a position so that one day—hopefully soon—we can call those teammates back home and eventually come back even stronger.

We know travel is vital to our customers. Our greatest satisfaction is seeing the smiles on their faces when they return home from a memorable vacation. You can bet our leisure travel advisors have an endless list of opportunities just waiting for you. For our corporate community, we take your success personally. Our mission is to get you from point A to point B and back in as efficient and cost effective manner as possible, with minimal flight disruption.Your focus is on your work, while we handle the details of how you get there and where you stay.

When the time is right. We’ll be ready for you.