Do travel agents still exist?
YES, Travel Agents Still Exist!
I hope everyone had a great week, I had an extra long weekend with my kids off on Monday. We spent most the weekend on the soccer field for a soccer tournament. We managed to squeeze in picking pumpkins in the blazing sun, it sure didn't feel like fall. Monday was super exciting for me as I fully launched my business SD Travel Consulting! This is a very exciting time for me but has led to one common question, do travel agent still exist?
We have all seen the headlines and read about the demise of the travel agent. 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. 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! I 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 special- needs 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 I have met are very busy traveling the world, setting up business and marketing systems, serving their clients 24/7 and some are making lots of money. Some, like me, are sharing their expertise with a worldwide public on social media and you can find us there. I belong to a host agency, the Gifted Travel Network, made up of a group of dedicated niche agents who refer leads and clients between each other so the traveler is being served by someone who truly KNOWS and LOVES the destination they are interested in traveling to. If you are smart you will use that type of professional to help you with your next trip. Ask me. Ask around. Has a friend recently returned from an amazing trip that could maybe refer their agent to you? And, if you are an avid traveler with a desire to help others and work your butt off – maybe even look into becoming a Travel Consultant yourself!
A member of the Gifted Travel Network