For those in the travel industry, the value of the travel advisor, travel agent, travel planner, travel agency, or whatever you want to call the profession, never went away. But for some outside of the industry, the re-emergence of travel advisors is still a new story.
This week, advisors were the subject of a new Forbes article from consumer advocate Christopher Elliot titled “Why You Need a Travel Advisor in 2023.”
The article takes a look at consumers, and industry executives, who know what so many have known for so long—that even with some volatile events over the past few months, you can have a safe, and stress-free, travel experience is 2023 as long as you find yourself a trusted travel advisor.
While a lot of the article is what advisors have always known, Elliot says that now, after the pandemic, travel advisors are “virtually indestructible.”
“Travel advisors working today have been through the mill, as my grandmother would say. That includes 9/11, brutal agency commission cuts, the online travel revolution, and the pandemic,” Elliot wrote.
He also points out just how much value advisors can provide in 2023. Vacations are becoming more and more expensive, and consumers are going to want to get the best value for their buck. One way to make sure they are able to do that is by working with a travel advisor.
“If you need a quick domestic airline ticket or a roadside motel, you might be safe skipping an advisor and saving the booking fees, which can be considerable. But if you're planning a more complicated trip — a safari in Kenya, an Antarctic cruise, a pilgrimage to the Holy Land — you need a pro. Now more than ever,” he writes.
Advisors who want to take full advantage of the good press that the profession in getting in 2023 have to know what channels consumers are using to find them. In the article, Elliot lists three specific ways that consumers can find a reputable, knowledgeable advisor that fits their needs.
1. Referrals – advisors have long known the value of referrals from loyal clients, and Elliot suggests that consumers use their networks to find out who their family, friends, or colleagues use to book their trips. Making sure that it is easy for a loyal client to refer you, or putting the thought into their head, is going to be important for advisors looking to add to their client lists in 2023.
2. Niches – “Make sure that your travel advisor has a strong knowledge of the destinations and types of travel you are interested in,” Elliot writes. Consumers wanting a specific trip are going to want an expert who has been there and has sent clients there before. Recognizing that, and marketing yourself as an expert in a destination or cruising, is not only going to earn your trust, but it’s going to make it easier for consumers to find you both online and in person.
3. Memberships – being a part of the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) or the Association of Canadian Travel Agents (ACTA) will not only help boost the profession but will also give you the kind of authority that consumers are looking for, especially the ones who haven’t used a travel advisor before. Elliot also mentions the Institute of Certified Travel Agents (ICTA).