Where We Are Now

Some of my most enjoyable moments this year since joining the Travel Agent magazine staff have been watching our group of dynamic reporters work together on collaborated stories. You've seen the results; our recent cover feature entitled "Fees: Are You Charging Enough?" delved into how 10 travel agents have faced the issue of enhancing their revenue streams following the initial airline commission cuts 11 years ago. You also see their teamwork in this issue in our news feature that focuses on holiday travel (it seems as if the travel business is booming, which is good news for all of us).

Whether writing together as a team or individually, our editorial team is a force to be reckoned with. They are a unique combination of destination experts and daily news reporters who know how to dig for the story and then deliver to you only the information that you need to assist you in your business. Throughout this entire year, with the guidance of Managing Editor Anastasia Mills, they have evolved Travel Agent magazine into an editorial product of which I am extremely proud. If you have not met them yet I hope you will have the chance to in 2007; odds are that you will, as they will be out reporting from all of the key industry confabs to bring you the latest in hard news from the field. They'll also be scouring the globe to deliver key information to you from the important destinations you need to know about. When they visit a hotel, you'll know from them within days the insider secrets that will help you sell; they'll also dig to find out who the important on-property contacts are that you'll need to make a booking. 

By the way, as you're reading the pages of Travel Agent magazine and have some thoughts on the articles you've read, be sure to drop the author a line, that's why we've posted their e-mails above each story. Introduce yourselves to them and offer yourself as a source from the frontlines. We'd love to add you to our list of go-to travel agents when we're scouting out industry trends.

Kudos go also to Associate Art Director Debbie Sheehan and her team of designers. Have you noticed the changes they've made to the covers and layouts in Travel Agent this year? As an editor and an obvious lover of the printed word, I am always the first to admit that readers are unlikely to pick up a magazine if it's not attractive. Debbie and her group have certainly surpassed that goal in crafting every one of our issues this year.

What else have I enjoyed since joining this group? I've savored every minute of getting to know our readers better. Some of you have joined us for editorial roundtables in which we've sought your expert opinion on destination issues. I've met others while I've been out at industry functions and I've become acquainted with some of you through e-mail and learned what the issues are that concern you the most. I hope that I meet more of you through all of these venues in 2007; in fact, I am counting on it!

I'd like to leave you with this bit of good news. Consumers are depending more and more on travel agents to book their business. How do I know? YPB&R has just unveiled the results of its 2006 Portrait of Affluent Travelers survey, which shows that the use of travel agents' expertise by affluent travelers is increasing when it comes to making hard-core travel decisions. The study shows that 54 percent of affluent travelers used an agent to select their destination; that's up from 39 percent in 2004, the last time the survey was conducted. When it came to selecting a cruise line, 33 percent of affluent travelers relied on their travel agent, compared to 25 percent in 2004. When selecting a vacation or tour company, 30 percent of affluent travelers relied on their trusty travel agent, up from 22 percent in 2004.

This data is based solely on affluent travelers; as we all know, there are plenty of consumers who do not fall into this realm. The mass-market arena is also counting on your assistance to help them determine where to go, which operator to go with and where to stay when they get there. Your expertise is vital to making their dream trips become a reality. I assure you that in 2007 you can continue to count on the editorial team of Travel Agent magazine to help you enhance that expertise, with every word we write.

Ruthanne Terrero, CTC EDITORIAL DIRECTOR [email protected]

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