|Vacation.com President John Lovell|
Among the highlights at this year’s Vacation.com 15th International Conference and Trade Show in Orlando, FL, was a talk by President John Lovell in which he addresses what he sees as the four biggest challenges facing the travel agent community, along with ideas for solutions.
1. Advancing pace of technology: “We are going to work over the next 12-18 months to come out with a branded mobile app, which will apply to our CruisePRO tool first and then will expand to the other travel verticals. We need to make sure we are giving you, the agents, the tools you need to sell.”
2. Changing compensation models: “Look at what happened in the airline industry,” he says. “It was forced on a distribution channel. I do not want anything forced on us. I want to be proactive to make sure you all stay viable as we move forward.” The key, says Lovell, is to sell your preferred suppliers.
3. Over-reliance on existing client base: How to generate more leads? Vacation.com is moving forward to harness an important exiting asset—the URL Vacation.com. “We are going to partner with preferred suppliers that choose to support us on the tool,” he says. “We are seeking third party partnerships that can take millions of consumers and funnel them into your businesses as well.” This would make Vacation.com more consumer-facing and ultimately drive consumers back to member agents. This is expected to be delivered in the next 12 months.
4. 58 percent of leisure agents are over 55 years old: As for bringing new, fresh talent into the community, Vacation.com highlighted Travel Leaders Group’s Travel Leaders of Tomorrow school, which was launched in March and is designed both for people looking for new careers and as a way for current agents to identify new talent.”