|McCabe World Travel’s Beth Jenkins, a Luxury Travel Advisor “Rising Star” award winner, with John McMahon.|
A few years back the executive team at Travel Agent magazine made a decision to engage the youth of the travel industry. We saw a gap in content that addressed their needs; we saw that there was an age issue in our industry. The majority of travel professionals were older and we didn’t see many young agents entering the market. You might say, “Why focus in something that is not there?” Well, we learned from previous experience in the luxury market that we can create demand and provide a prosperous path to success by educating the industry on how to capture this market.
When we created Luxury Travel Expo and Luxury Travel Advisor, the market was a fraction of what it is now, and these vehicles exclusively reach the largest sellers of luxury travel worldwide. We simply made it easy for agents to shift their business into this segment.
Now with 30 under 30, Young Leaders Conference and our internship program, we set off to engage, encourage and employ young travel professionals, knowing that this would be our future. For us, it was planting a seed that would grow and along the way we encouraged others to follow our lead. A great example of building on this is Vacation.com. Recently at their annual conference they invited a number of school teachers to attend and observe the travel agent profession. Smart move—now these teachers will become preachers and recruiters for the travel agent community.
If you haven’t already noticed, there has been an abundant amount of consumer articles on the success of travel agents. I recently was at a travel agent focus group in Florida. I mentioned the New York Times front-page article and they all new about it. Why? Because their phones rang at a higher volume than usual. One enterprising agent even used it for marketing purposes. She didn’t care that it didn’t mention her—it reinforced what she had been saying for a long time.
We are happy to report that every one of these agents has either attended or been highlighted in one of our youth initiatives. So our efforts in bridging the gap are being noticed. Travel Agent is fully committed to shepherding agents both young and old alike toward longevity and prosperity.
Let the good times continue to roll.