The Wall Street Journal last week produced a five-minute video about how travel agencies are relevant again, especially for luxury travelers.
In an interview with WSJ “Middle Seat” columnist Scott McCartney, and Keith Waldon, owner of Departure Lounge in Austin, TX, the Journal talked about how personal connections and curated travel experiences are increasing consumer demand for travel agent services.
Entitled “Travel Agencies, Returning with a Twist,” the piece starts with McCartney talking about how consumers are seeing travel agents in the same light as accountants. With purchases in the thousands and tens of thousands of dollars and more adventurous itineraries, travelers need more than self-booking options. And agents are getting more creative with their offerings, he said, citing “Black Tomato,” a U.K. agency that focuses on adventure travelers.
Waldon said his Departure Lounge travel agency is thriving, experiencing an 86% increase in travel revenue in 2016, with 2017 “even stronger.” Clients sit down and relax, and have an exchange with his employees to “put together an amazing vacation.” He said a second Departure Lounge will open in West Austin in June.