I’ve always said that if you live long enough you’ll see everything. Recently, when the consumer press, The New York Times and CNN.com separately reported on the public’s renewed love affair with the concept of using a real live travel agent to book their vacations, I said it yet again. Seems the idea of trying to create a dream vacation using an anonymous, impersonal online travel agency is getting rather stale for some.
I’d suggest that you take the main message in these stories and promote it to your local media as well as your existing and prospective clients. Preface the facts that support the wisdom of using travel agents by detailing a dream itinerary you’ve devised for a client. Or, describe how you’ve used your human touch and great industry knowledge to assist a customer with a daunting travel challenge. To assist you in this public relations endeavor, we’ve created a tool kit for you to use at www.travelagentcentral.com/toolkit.
Let’s keep the rising tide rising. We can’t count on the consumer press to discover this amazing industry every few years. Let’s stand up and extol its virtues ourselves so consumers know the difference between buying air and hotel from a website and consulting a valued advisor who will help them put together the perfect itinerary for them and their loved ones.
If you think about it, the average American gets two weeks of vacation a year. Those two weeks make up the most precious commodity they have: time. Should they choose to put that commodity in cyberspace or in the hands of a caring, professional, real person? When it’s explained that way, the value proposition is all too obvious.
Recognizing Top Agents
To further emphasize our support for the travel agent community, we’ve launched a new annual survey on the Top 25 Travel Agents in the business. We’ve had a fantastic response to our call for entries, with submissions from some of the most experienced travel advisors in the industry as well as some relative newbies who have found a calling in making people’s dreams come true.
It was daunting to sift through all the entries; in the end, we gave priority to those who carefully detailed their strategy of providing their clients with detailed and customized itineraries. It’s a great list; you’ll see some old friends here and some new faces as well.
As you continue to thrive in your business through the rest of this year and into 2010, be sure to consider all of the reasons why you’re a Top Travel Agent and submit them in our next survey.