Proving once again that high-quality service and an attention to style and detail never go out of fashion, Vogue magazine published an article describing how travel agents are, well, back in vogue.
In an article entitled "Are We Witnessing the Return of the Travel Agent?" author Jenn Rice writes about the resurgence of a profession that previously seemed "to have gone the way of the television repairman or switchboard operator."
Today, with more travelers looking to not simply "check boxes" at major tourist hubs, Rice writes, successful travel agents are "more aptly described as travel designers," becoming resources "far beyond the basics of organizing flights, lodging, and tours. These designers create trips that you can't just book online, trips for travelers, not tourists."
Rather than visiting the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower, for example, travelers to Paris might land at Charles de Gaulle "and immediately be whisked away in a private car to taste back vintages in Bordeaux's most storied cellars."
By Monday, July 24, the article was being shared on Facebook and many agents had commented, stating they are indeed "travel designers." Some travelers called out their favorite agents on the Vogue Facebook page.
Others posted the story on their own Facebook pages. "Travel Agents are back baby!! This is an article tht Vogue published! Let me book your next trip," posted J.B. Getaways of Vallejo, CA.
Agents quoted in the article include Lia Batkin, co-founder of In the Know Experiences, in New York; Emanuela Raggio and Anna Merulla of Beautiful Liguria, in Liguria, Italy; and Leila Al-Qattan, marketing manager at Jacada Travel in London.
Travel designers have the knowledge and the contacts
Successful travel agents develop personal relationships with their clientele, Rice wrote, have feet on the ground in a destination (either themselves or through their business partners and suppliers) and provide special touches that educate and enrich their clients' travel experiences and lives.
Heather Richardson, Jacada's editorial manager, is quoted about how that agency's travel designers will meet clients for coffee or a drink to engage in their travel dreams. "It becomes a real relationship, which makes sense -- travel is a very personal thing," she said.
The article notes that luxury is being redefined by both travelers and this new breed of travel agents. "People want a mix of high and low, and hire travel designers to point them toward the right hole-in-the-walls and local experiences."