Givers and Takers in Travel

Dear TA’s,

Since 2020, when people began to travel again, we have seen an increase in the number of travelers who are choosing to book through travel agents/advisors rather than shopping for their trips solely online.

That is great news for our industry, when before, some professionals were even thinking that travel agents might become obsolete.

But unfortunately, in general, most people don’t change their behavior. Those who like to “shop around” will continue to do so. This time, they will go from travel agent to travel agent, making agents work hard to plan an itinerary or get pricing from a vendor, while continuing to consult other agents until “the price is right!” How can you distinguish the “good” shoppers or prospective clients from the “bad” ones?

For those who don’t know me very well, I don’t work as a travel agent, but I am glad to refer friends, family and even not-so-great friends to travel agents who I mentor, and to those who I know the way they work. Until now, I have had no problems doing this. But I, like anyone else, can guarantee that every once in a while, I am totally surprised that I have sent along a “shopper” instead a real prospective client. I must confess that I am not only surprised but embarrassed as well.

My strong advice to all TA’s is to charge a service fee! Many agents have already been doing this for years, but others are still unsure about it. To those who are afraid of losing business by charging a fee, I suggest that you:

A) Create a service fee and if/when a trip is booked, reduce or waive it at your own discretion

B)  Create some “pre-packaged itineraries” where there isn’t as much customization, so the actual time you’re “giving” is less. That way, you won’t feel taken advantage of if you get a shopper instead of a booking.

The travel industry is changing to make things even better for TA’s who know how to manage their time and business. Don’t get caught giving too much to the ones who are takers. You are a professional and deserve to be rewarded as one!

Always cheering for you!



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Another Kind of Luxury Cruise

Luxury cruises are changing and are catering to more cruisers who want to travel in a more purposeful way.  These days, luxury cruise passengers are just as interested in getting access to unique and transformational experiences as they are about being pampered.

Travelers now want to travel far away, but they want travel with intent and purpose. They want to return home changed in some way.  They want to enjoy a deep connection with the destinations that they visit.

There has been significant growth in the demand for upscale “expedition” type cruises that travel to more remote parts of the world such as Antarctica and the Arctic.  Cruise lines are adding more ships that offer passengers meaningful exploration opportunities in addition to an upscale cruise experience.

Luxury cruises have now become a journey of exploration and discovery.  By participating in these meaningful experiences, passengers get to know themselves and those around them even more. Cruisers now have the opportunity to see their chosen destinations more slowly and deeply than in the past.

Over the past 10 years or so, cruise lines have changing their itineraries to cater to these types of passengers. Rather than focusing on panoramic sightseeing tours, they are developing experiences that enable passengers to mix and mingle with locals and do things that locals do. Such experiences might include a food tour through a destination that involves tasting local foods, wine and beer with a local chef. These types of opportunities offer passengers memorable experiences that they can go back home and share with their friends and family.

With that said, luxury travelers still want and expect the creature comforts for which luxury travel has become known. Luxury cruise passengers can now expect meaningful and moving experiences combined with all the amenities that they have come to expect, such as outstanding food, service and accommodation.

Bon Voyage!

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