Won't Get Fooled Again

Travel agents need to educate themselves on major consumer shifts to keep from being blindsided By: Kenneth Shapiro
Kenneth Shapiro
Kenneth Shapiro

The Details

Apply for the 2015 Trendsetter Awards here.

You can trace the history of The Times-Picayune newspaper all the way back to 1837. As recently as 2006, this New Orleans daily won a Pulitzer Prize. Yet, today, it struggles to remain in business, publishing just three times a week — leaving New Orleans as one of the largest cities in the U.S. without a daily paper.

Not all that long ago, the idea of a major U.S. city without a daily newspaper (let alone two competing papers) was inconceivable. Even as newspaper articles proclaimed travel agents a dying breed, they failed to anticipate their own demise. Today, television networks seem to be next on the chopping block.

Fortunately, the pundits were wrong and travel agents still exist. In fact, their experience with the rapid pace of change has given many of them a savvy approach to using new technology and dealing with shifting consumer attitudes and changing business models. These agents look at developments such as the growth of the sharing economy and DIY travel and vow not to be blindsided again.

In this issue’s cover story, “Airbnb and Me,” we examine this new type of travel and help agents understand how these changes affect them. Is the sharing economy a threat to travel consultants or can it be a useful tool? Is this a trend for younger clients that will eventually fade away or should agents be prepared for the long haul? How will the sharing economy change traditional travel offerings? These questions and more are addressed in the story, but they should also be considered by agents doing their own research. We can assist with some of the big questions, but the fine tuning and personalization is up to you.

Agents responding to major changes in the industry by staying a step ahead are the type that we want to acknowledge with our annual Trendsetter Awards. Every year at our WAVE Awards dinner, we celebrate the achievements of innovative and hard-working agents in the West. These Trendsetter winners and runner-ups will also be featured in a cover story in TravelAge West.

Entries are now being accepted for the 2015 Trendsetter Awards, so share some of your success stories with us and have a chance to get the accolades you deserve. Visit TravelAgeWest.com/WAVE/Trendsetters for more information.