Agents, if you specialize in both Europe and the Caribbean, start pitching the islands to Europe travelers. Because the Caribbean dollar has remained stable and the Euro hasn’t, more U.S. travelers are opting to travel to the Caribbean over Europe.
“The way things are now, if you want to take that trip to Europe you took last year, you’ll be paying about 25 percent more this year,” Peter Odle, president of Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA), told Travel Agent at the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference (CHTIC). “So, I think people are leaning toward the Caribbean instead.”
Odle, owner of Mango Bay resort in Barbados, says the key is to maintain high standards and to ensure there is adequate airlift nearby. The key for travel agents to avoid losing business is to stay on top of the hottest deals, he says. This is a notion that was also shared at the Tianguis Turistico 33, which we covered in Acapulco, Mexico. “If you are a travel agent, you need to start working harder than you ever have in your life,” Odle said. “You can’t just sit around and wait for the business to come to you. Agents need to do all the research and find the best deals. The deals are what people are looking for now and that’s where the money is.”