Travel Agencies Struggle To Find Talent, Survey Finds

by Richard D'Ambrosio
Travel Agencies Struggle To Find Talent, Survey Finds


As travel agencies ride a wave of new business, the dearth of good talent is beginning to cause concern for agency owners, especially at the high end of the market, a new survey finds. 

In the 2017 Pulse of the Industry Survey, global marketing firm Strategic Vision found that 70% of luxury agencies are hiring travel advisors this year, thanks to an increase in travel bookings. But while Strategic Vision didn’t specifically ask about staffing issues, the volume of anecdotal respondents was alarming, said president Peter Bates.  

“It is going to be a good year for agents, if they can find the staff to handle it,” Bates said. “If yellow means agents are cautious about finding enough agents, and red means there is danger they won’t be able to meet their bookings demand, I would call the warning color amber.”  

One mid-size West Coast travel agency, for example, said it was difficult to find an “adequate pool of qualified travel counselors,” while a mid-size East Coast travel agency complained it “can't get enough great agents.” 

“Finding new talent,” and “attracting young people into the industry,” is bedeviling a small Northeast travel agency. 

Owners have turned to recruiting from other industries, especially in the real estate and service industries. “We think that is the way to go for agencies needing to fill gaps,” Bates said. 

While learning the technology is important for those who transfer in from another industry, Bates thinks it’s more important  to focus on helping them build supplier relationships, including connections with hotel general managers and local venues.  

“Technology is allowing owners to let new agents transact while they’re on the move—and the best agents are on the move all the time, visiting destinations and getting to know the product,” he said. “How else can you understand which product fits which client?” 

Being a member of a consortium helps, too, because of the training programs, negotiated rates and special offers they provide. 

The Pulse of the Industry Survey was sent in late February to CEOs, presidents, and other senior leaders of the leading luxury travel management firms and meetings & incentive buyers in the United States. 

  1
  1
Tip of the Day
Daily Top List

Five Places to Go for Spring Travel

1. Carlsbad, Calif.

2. Aspen, Colo.

3. Kauai, Hawaii.

4. Cabo San Lucas

5. Washington, D.C.

Source: Forbes

TMR THIS WEEK
http://services.travelsavers.com/AMGService.svc/REST/GetImage?ImageID=c0a45578-7841-e811-ba59-782bcb66a2f2

Why Is Watching ‘Jane Peel Potatoes’ More Exciting than What You’ve Got to Say?

Sponsored by Travel Planners International.

Video is here to stay and travel agents who embrace it are reaping the rewards. 

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
ASTA Returns to a Greek Revival
ASTA Returns to a Greek Revival

More than 30 years after its last visit to Greece, ASTA returned to a country whose tourism industry is emerging from a devastating economic crisis and seeks to expand visits beyond its iconic island destinations.

Can New Booking Tools Help Level the Lodging Playing Field for Agents?
Can New Booking Tools Help Level the Lodging Playing Field for Agents?

When clients shop for hotels on the internet, a travel agent’s life can become increasingly complicated and their credibility can be called into question. Will new technology help?

What Does Apple Leisure Group and Mark Travel Merger Mean for Agents?
What Does Apple Leisure Group and Mark Travel Merger Mean for Agents?

Concerns include whether fewer channels will hamper competitive pricing, what will happen to some of the travel brands involved, and how service might be affected.

Don’t Overlook Pinterest in Your Social Media Marketing Plan
Don’t Overlook Pinterest in Your Social Media Marketing Plan

If you’re trying to attract female travelers, families and couples planning weddings, you’re missing out if you aren’t on Pinterest.

Patience Is Sometimes Required When Filing Travel Insurance Claims
Patience Is Sometimes Required When Filing Travel Insurance Claims

Consumer advocate helps explain how medical insurance claims are not always paid immediately, and how primary Medicare coverage can delay payments when travelers get sick abroad.

Smart App Offers Canada’s First Travel Insurance on Demand
Smart App Offers Canada’s First Travel Insurance on Demand

Travelers can now customize their travel insurance coverage in real time based on geolocation technology using a smartphone app.

News Briefs
TMR Report Cards
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: Luxury Retreats