It pleases me so much to see all the positive press on the value of using a travel agent. They say the power of the media is daunting and it is. For years research supported that agents were a vital revenue channel but the media didn’t support that. It seemed like they would rather pen your demise than your versatility.
I drew upon this in a previous column about perception and reality. The challenge moving forward now that you have your stature back is to not go backward.
You may be asking, what could send you back in the wrong direction? The answer is, bad agents. These are the people who got you in trouble in the first place. You know them, the jogging-suit donning, pen-grabbing agents who showed up at trade shows and had status only because some travel agencies employ anyone with a pulse and give them access to travel agency identification numbers.
I was recently solicited by an old high school friend to join a travel agency network that was a scam for a multilevel marketing scheme. And this guy was one of the smartest students in my grade. I called and read him the riot act and sent an e-mail to his entire solicitation list downplaying this opportunity. I just won’t let this cycle begin again and neither should you. The travel agent’s reputation is extremely high right now and we must all protect your image.
This year at Luxury Travel Exchange International we are taking the time to qualify every single agent beyond their travel agent identification number. It has to be done. No other trade event in the industry does this and it’s what we must do.
So to all you great agents, I say let’s stick together, nurture and mentor the new breed of travel agents and keep out the people who gave our industry a bad name. I am sure our Top 25 Agents in this issue would agree. You have our commitment at Travel Agent magazine.