Agents are back: That spells opportunity in 2014
That?s the message for 2014 coming in loud and clear from top agency executives. They?re hearing a buzz and perceiving a turnaround in attitude ? of both consumers and suppliers ? about the great value agents provide.
It?s not quite that simple though. The positive shift in thinking on the role of agents is an opportunity that comes with its own challenges, executives told?Travel Market Report.
Agents need to make certain they?re continually developing their skills and demonstrating their value. Here?s how agency leaders view the opportunities facing the travel agency industry in the new year.
Agents: ?I?ll be back? ? and they are
?The role of the travel advisor is coming back. We?ve seen how brands [suppliers] think they don?t need agents, then find they?re a valuable third party endorsement. Then there?s natural disasters, political unrest and all the rest of it. Travelers say, ?I don?t need them,? then think, ?I could really use an advocate.?
?Agents this year need to capitalize on that because there?s a buzz about coming back. As a trade and as individuals we need to promote that we?re here and that we can be advocates for both consumers and suppliers. And we have to make sure we?re the best place to get value.? ??Alex Sharpe, CEO, Signature Travel Network
Bullish, but cautious
?I?ve never gone into a year where I?ve seen more supplier sectors really re-embrace the value of travel agents. From that perspective I?m bullish. But any kind of change in management at a major supplier or a push by Wall Street analysts could affect that.? ??Matthew Upchurch, CEO, Virtuoso
A place in the business
?Everything we read in the trades and everything you see in the numbers in terms of sales over the last few years has indicated that the travel agency business is not going away. People are utilizing the consultation of a professional. That?s why I still think that, as much as is coming forth online and through other sources of information, the travel professional still has a real stake, a real place in the business.? ??Bill Sutherland, vice president, travel services, AAA
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