|Lia Batkin looks for job candidates blessed with good people skills.|
A recent Questex Hospitality + Travel survey of the nation’s top ultra-travel advisors revealed that attracting Millennial agents can be just as challenging as attracting Millennial clients. While one company admitted it’s not even trying to hire Millennials, others reported offering paid internships, promoting travel as a perk, leveraging commissions and reaching out to colleges to promote advisor careers.
Michael Holtz, owner and CEO of SmartFlyer in New York City, said his agency employs a number of people in their 20s, including college interns. “They love the environment and what we’ve created for them,” he said, adding that these employees have been successful in selling to their friends and their friends’ parents, and some are bringing in more new clients than colleagues twice their age.
At Jetset World Travel in Chicago, six of the seven advisors are Millennials, according to Julia Douglas, president. “There’s naturally an affinity for working with people who speak your language and understand your unique needs,” she said. “Since many Millennials do not yet have a travel advisor, there is a great opportunity to establish a lifelong relationship with them.”
Camelback Odyssey Travel in Phoenix also employs Millennials, but they have not generated a lot of new business, according to Shelby Donley, president & owner. “When that business comes in, it’s a real natural to be able to send it to them because [the Millennial employees]…grew up traveling all over the world from a very young age. They already have the destination knowledge.”
For Lia Batkin, co-founder of In the Know Experiences, a New York agency, it’s a matter of seeking out individuals who are, first and foremost, bright and blessed with good people skills. But, beyond that, Batkin looks for job candidates for whom travel is more than a rote, by-the-book experience.
“The exciting thing about Millennials is that they don’t just want to visit a city; they want a whole experience, starting with a wonderful hotel and an amazing restaurant,” she said. “But not a hotel or a restaurant everyone knows about. They want a small, local, even underground restaurant, for example, that may be hard to find, which makes it all the more special.”
The ideal travel advisor for this client would likely be a Millennial, someone who intuitively understands what the client is looking for because that is how he or she approaches travel. There’s a certain synergy between the two. The travel advisor, furthermore, is likely to have a passion for travel of his or her own, having either traveled as a child or in college.