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Where We Are Now

December 4, 2006 By: Ruthanne Terrero Travel Agent

Some of my most enjoyable moments this year since joining the Travel Agent magazine staff have been watching our group of dynamic reporters work together on collaborated stories. You've seen the results; our recent cover feature entitled "Fees: Are You Charging Enough?" delved into how 10 travel agents have faced the issue of enhancing their revenue streams following the initial airline commission cuts 11 years ago. You also see their teamwork in this issue in our news feature that focuses on holiday travel (it seems as if the travel business is booming, which is good news for all of us).

Whether writing together as a team or individually, our
editorial team is a force to be reckoned with. They are a unique combination of
destination experts and daily news reporters who know how to dig for the story
and then deliver to you only the information that you need to assist you in
your business. Throughout this entire year, with the guidance of Managing
Editor Anastasia Mills, they have evolved Travel Agent magazine into an
editorial product of which I am extremely proud. If you have not met them yet I
hope you will have the chance to in 2007; odds are that you will, as they will
be out reporting from all of the key industry confabs to bring you the latest
in hard news from the field. They'll also be scouring the globe to deliver key
information to you from the important destinations you need to know about. When
they visit a hotel, you'll know from them within days the insider secrets that
will help you sell; they'll also dig to find out who the important on-property
contacts are that you'll need to make a booking. 

By the way, as you're reading the pages of Travel Agent
magazine and have some thoughts on the articles you've read, be sure to drop
the author a line, that's why we've posted their e-mails above each story.
Introduce yourselves to them and offer yourself as a source from the
frontlines. We'd love to add you to our list of go-to travel agents when we're
scouting out industry trends.

Kudos go also to Associate Art Director Debbie Sheehan and
her team of designers. Have you noticed the changes they've made to the covers
and layouts in Travel Agent this year? As an editor and an obvious lover
of the printed word, I am always the first to admit that readers are unlikely
to pick up a magazine if it's not attractive. Debbie and her group have certainly
surpassed that goal in crafting every one of our issues this year.

What else have I enjoyed since joining this group? I've
savored every minute of getting to know our readers better. Some of you have
joined us for editorial roundtables in which we've sought your expert opinion
on destination issues. I've met others while I've been out at industry
functions and I've become acquainted with some of you through e-mail and
learned what the issues are that concern you the most. I hope that I meet more of
you through all of these venues in 2007; in fact, I am counting on it!

I'd like to leave you with this bit of good news. Consumers
are depending more and more on travel agents to book their business. How do I
know? YPB&R has just unveiled the results of its 2006 Portrait of Affluent
Travelers survey, which shows that the use of travel agents' expertise by
affluent travelers is increasing when it comes to making hard-core travel
decisions. The study shows that 54 percent of affluent travelers used an agent
to select their destination; that's up from 39 percent in 2004, the last time
the survey was conducted. When it came to selecting a cruise line, 33 percent
of affluent travelers relied on their travel agent, compared to 25 percent in
2004. When selecting a vacation or tour company, 30 percent of affluent
travelers relied on their trusty travel agent, up from 22 percent in 2004.

This data is based solely on affluent travelers; as we all
know, there are plenty of consumers who do not fall into this realm. The
mass-market arena is also counting on your assistance to help them determine
where to go, which operator to go with and where to stay when they get there.
Your expertise is vital to making their dream trips become a reality. I assure
you that in 2007 you can continue to count on the editorial team of Travel
magazine to help you enhance that expertise, with every word we

Ruthanne Terrero, CTC EDITORIAL DIRECTOR [email protected]

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