I attended the recent TravelAge West show and witnessed the travel
agent attendees questioning the panel members during the workshop
“The Next Generation.”
Did I walk away as frustrated as some? Did I leave with few
answers? No, I just realized that this “problem” market is not a
problem for me.
I’m a 33-year-old independent travel agent for TravelStore in
Newport Beach, Calif., and a prospering agent for “the new
I have listened to so much negative feedback from fellow agents
and as they ask, “Why?” I ask, “Why not?”
With more than 75 percent of my business coming from clients who
are 18 to 35 years old, I guess I never realized that other agents
might need a little assistance to sell as well as I do.
First, why the younger generation does not use a travel agent:
Well, the answer may come from your own children, family members or
friends who are 18 to 35.
Ask them these questions, as I have done, and compare the
answers I received with the ones you get:
Question: What does it take to travel abroad?
Answer: A passport. But they don’t know it must be valid for at
least another six months.
And they think that needing a visa means “don’t forget your gold
Question: Where is Bora Bora and would they travel there?
Answer: It’s where Osama bin Laden was supposed to be hiding.
And they’d never travel to the Middle East.
After explaining that I’d never recommend Tora Bora, I got them
to take that trip to Tahiti.
Question: How much would they expect me to charge in fees for
adding air to a seven-day package cruise?
Answer: It must be around $45 because that’s the agent fee when
they take a round-trip flight to Atlanta.
After I explained that I don’t charge fees in connection with a
cruise package, they have been my clients ever since.
Overall, I can’t tell you how many times I have been told:
“Thanks for those best-kept secrets about Hawaii. I never would
have known that on the Net.”