Travel agents alive and well?
We have all seen the headlines and read about the demise of the travel agent. Even President Obama proclaimed us “extinct”.
Online booking agencies like Travelocity and Expedia, booking online directly with suppliers and now Google entering the market big time, all appear to have replaced the need for the travel advisor.
But was this death notice posted prematurely? And maybe...just maybe…is the career choice of travel consultant one of today's best kept secrets? The birth of the internet caused upheavals in many professions, but none so drastically as the world of travel. No longer did a travel advisor's knowledge of online booking systems offer job security. When this industry first started, the only ways to book a plane ticket were to either call the airline directly or stop into your local brick & mortar travel agency on Main Street. Is the Travel Consultant adapting to this new landscape? Some are and some are not. The generalist will not thrive - long live the travel specialist! We don't foresee anyone asking a friend for a recommendation of a great travel generalist or searching online for “travel generalist”. Not going to happen. The career path of the Travel Specialist however is bright and may be the best job in the world, as long as you approach it with a new mindset. For many people, the decision to spend their valuable leisure time and money traveling is one of the most costly investments made each year.
Did you know that the amount of time spent researching travel online is second only to those "researching" X-rated sites? The demand is there (for the former) and the need for expert guidance to vet thousands of options grows daily. There are features on the news quite often showing people who are hired by hotels to write “fake” reviews on Trip Advisor. So how do you know what to believe? Those in-the-know have found travel advisors that they value as much as, if not more than, their financial advisor and many do want to keep us a secret. And God forbid anything goes wrong on your trip! Do you really think Expedia is going to answer the phone and help you out?
So who are these leaders in the brand new world of travel and how do you find one or become one? We cover the spectrum in age, education and past experience. We all share a passion for exploration and adventure. The best in the field spend weeks or months traveling each year to stay up-to-date and most importantly are REAL specialists not generalists. Our passion for a particular destination (such as Hawaii) or type of travel (such as European River Cruising) or a niche market (like active / adventure families) enables us to really focus on learning the suppliers and destinations so that we can be better equipped to find the best match for each client.
The amazing specialists we have met during our time in travel are very busy traveling the world, setting up business and marketing systems, serving their clients 24/7. Some, like us, are sharing their expertise with the worldwide public on social media and you can find us there. If you are smart you will use that type of professional to help you with your next trip. Ask us, we have the best job in the world, and can't wait to help you!