Coronavirus concerns are having a big impact on Chicago area businesses, but it’s not all negative.
Elmhurst travel agency owner Frank Adorno said the phone has stopped ringing for new business, noting existing customers are expressing worry about being quarantined.
“People can’t spend two weeks away from their job or their family,” Adorno said.
Adorno said a large group of his customers backed out of a cruise that is not scheduled to depart until August. However, he is urging travelers to contact travel agents with questions.
“This is when we really shine,” Adorno said. “If you have travel that’s out in the future, just hang on. We don’t know what’s going to happen with this situation, but I think we’re going to learn about it in the next few weeks.”
Other businesses are seeing a surge in some cases.
Mark Aistrope’s event technology company is renting out laptops and iPads to use for work at home deployments. His team members are also helping companies set up web conferencing and virtual meetings.
“They’re migrating to a completely online event instead of having their clients or their customers or their attendees travel out,” Aistrope said.
Aistrope said many businesses cut back on travel expenses during the financial crisis of 2009 and chose to pursue web conferences and virtual meetings. He said his company grew by 10 percent that year.