Travel Agent? Travel Designer? Travel Advisor? What Should I Call Myself?

by Richard D’Ambrosio
Travel Agent? Travel Designer? Travel Advisor? What Should I Call Myself?

Photo: Shutterstock


Travel agents are hot again -- and so is the discussion over what they should be called.

In an article in the Boston Globe, columnist Mark Peters noted that "in our age of Kayak and TripAdvisor, the travel agent feels more dated than the rotary phone." Citing a July 5 article in The New York Times entitled "Travel Agents? No. Travel 'Designers' Create Strategies, Not Trips," Peters said "travel agencies struggling in the online world have gone upscale to survive."

Indeed, agents need to think about these things, because they convey an image of how you are seen. And choosing the right terminology can influence whether you are found online.

If you search for a "travel agent" in Nashville, TN, for example, you will find agents like Dove Travel and Cruises at the top of your search. But if you Google "travel designer," a group of Travel Leaders agents appears on top.

"If you don't rely on a search engine to discover your website, than the 'designer' names are great. But for those of us that do rely on search engines, we have to stick to what the general public is going to type in," said Pam Smith, owner of Beach Vacations and Beyond in Broken Arrow, OK. Smith calls herself a travel agent, as does Sharon Berkebile Printy, who appends 'agent' with 'event coordinator' at Good Life Travel and Events, LLC, in Lake Mary, FL.

Robin Isquith, owner of Stones Throw Travel in Carefree, AZ, calls herself a travel agent online "because that's what resonates with the public. However, my business cards say 'travel sales.' I am in the business of sales. I stay away from the words 'designer,' 'consultant' and 'planner' because I believe that those words don't denote sales. I feel that people think if they go to a planner, consultant or designer, they take the travel plan and book themselves. I sell travel and I make it very clear that I am in sales."

Jeni Chaffer, owner of Journeys Travel Inc. in Bourbonnais, IL, refers to herself as a travel consultant. "When I purchased my first agency in 2006, an existing storefront with 'order takers,' they were 'agents.' I have always felt that it was important to develop a relationship with both my clients and my suppliers. Therefore, I refer to myself as a 'travel consultant.' I hold a consultation appointment with my clients to determine what they are looking for."

Chaffer thinks names like 'travel designer' and 'travel concierge' work well for those who market themselves as their own agency. "But if their marketing doesn't support it, it doesn't matter anyway."

Jacob Marek, owner of IntroverTravels in Sioux Falls, SD, calls himself a "travel advisor."

"I used to call myself a 'travel professional' until I came across research recently that suggested a few leading descriptors. I settled on 'travel advisor' and feel good about the switch."

Penny Gellatly, owner of Escape by Travel in Cloquet, MN, and Iesha L. Brewton, owner of Peace of Mind Travel Services in Colorado Springs, CO, call themselves "travel consultants."

Stacey Robertson Ray, chief executive officer at Groupit Travel Host Agency for Travel Agents in Cary, NC, uses "travel specialist," while Lori Gold is a "luxury travel designer" at Travel Network in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and Tracee Williams, owner of Destinations in Fayetteville, AR, uses "luxury vacation designer."

  4
  0
Tip of the Day
Daily Top List

Most Useful Twitter Accounts for Travel Agents

1. AskTSA

2. FlightRadar24

3. Department of State

4. CLIA Global

5. ASTA

Source: TMR

TMR THIS WEEK
http://services.travelsavers.com/AMGService.svc/REST/GetImage?ImageID=461e0cb1-8512-e811-9f33-782bcb66a2f2

Don't Miss the Boat on Potential Expedition Cruise Sales

Sponsored by Silversea Cruises

Expedition cruising is exploding, according to industry experts, with no signs of slowing down any time soon.

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
What Else to Consider When Launching Your Website
What Else to Consider When Launching Your Website

This final installment in our three-part series follows travel agent and former Hollywood production executive Kelly Greenleaf as she launched her agency’s website – from inspiration, deciding on content, to a full-blown unveiling.

Travel Agents Aim for a Shorter Sales Cycle
Travel Agents Aim for a Shorter Sales Cycle

Combining data with travel sales experience, agency groups are trying to improve agent sales behaviors to be more responsive to digital leads and improve close rates.

Immersive Italy Tour Designer Offers Trip Planning Services
Immersive Italy Tour Designer Offers Trip Planning Services

As more clients asked for it, this tour producer was compelled to add comprehensive trip planning services, just like a travel agent provides.

Liberty Travel Building Host Agent Network
Liberty Travel Building Host Agent Network

The new brand will be called Independent by Liberty Travel.

Seven Classic Travel Scams That Can Be Avoided
Seven Classic Travel Scams That Can Be Avoided

Forewarned is forearmed. Share these typical tourist scams, and practical tips to avoid them, with your clients.

American Express Global Business Travel to Acquire Hogg Robinson Group
American Express Global Business Travel to Acquire Hogg Robinson Group

A mega-merger of two of the leading global corporate travel management companies is taking place, with the third and sixth largest travel companies joining forces.

News Briefs
TMR Report Cards
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: Regent Seven Seas Cruises