Travel Agents Need to Keep Travel Fresh for Their Clients

Sometimes finding something new about a familiar place is the greatest thrill of all for travel agents By: Kenneth Shapiro
Shapiro // © 2016 TravelAge West
Shapiro // © 2016 TravelAge West

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As you might imagine, we get a lot of story pitches regarding destinations all around the world. Sometimes, the stories cover exotic locales that we hardly know anything about, but other times we receive pitches about familiar places. And often, it’s the latter group that can be the toughest to evaluate clearly.

When I’m reading a pitch about a destination that I’ve traveled to many times myself — or that we have featured regularly in the pages of TravelAge West — there’s a tendency to feel jaded before I even read the email. Of course, being the impartial, professional editor that I am, I do my best to discuss the idea with fresh eyes and an open mind. And guess what? As a result, I sometimes find myself totally surprised and delighted to learn something new.

I’m sure most of you know exactly what I mean. While you may not be evaluating new story queries, I bet the feeling of discovering a fresh take on an old vacation favorite is exciting to you, as well. It’s thrilling when you realize that there is more of the world to be explored — sometimes, right under your nose.

We hope that this issue’s cover story, “Beautiful Hidden Mexico,” will give you that feeling of discovery, as we present some of Mexico’s most beautiful, but least visited, destinations.

It’s very important — to both travel agents and travel editors — not to become so acquainted with a place that you fail to keep learning about it. In any destination, there will undoubtedly be many clients who choose to follow the well-worn tourist paths, and these visitors deserve the best efforts of their agent in planning a fulfilling trip complete with fresh ideas and personalized options.

When a sportswriter asked the great baseball player Joe DiMaggio what kept him going day in and day out, he responded: “There is always some kid who may be seeing me for the first or last time. I owe him my best.”

Whenever I get ready to read a story pitch about the same old destination, I recall this quote and focus on doing the job the right way, every time. By keeping an open mind, I have a better chance to be ready when a fresh idea presents itself.