Whenever we profile a company that has been in the travel industry
for a long time, such as Trafalgar Tours, which is celebrating its
60th anniversary in 2007 (“Trafalgar Turns 60,” page 14), I’m
struck by how much the travel industry has changed over the years.
The industry has seen so many trends come and go, and so many
trials and tribulations, that the ability of suppliers and agents
to adapt to these changes has been no less than remarkable. As John
Severini, president of Trafalgar, points out in the story, despite
the naysayers of the last decade that said the escorted tour
business is dead, “The agents who are selling us are making a
In fact, these naysayers have a pretty terrible track record
over all. Not so long ago they said that travel agents were a thing
of the past. Today, the word most associated with travel agents is
“comeback.” If you’ve been reading the mainstream press, as I have,
it’s certainly gratifying to see so much new-found respect out
there for agents.
For instance, The Kansas City Star recently ran a story
titled “Travel Agents Make a Comeback” that heralded agents’
ability to help in a crisis. The article also noted that average
weekly sales for agents rose 15 percent in 2006, even as Internet
bookings dropped from 28 to 20 percent in the same time period.
“Many people aren’t book-it-yourself travelers and prefer the
extra hand-holding and assistance they can receive from agents.
They are also willing to pay the additional fees that go along with
it,” the article read.
A column by David Grossman in USA Today titled “The
Ever-Changing Role of the Travel Agent,” focused on agents’ trend
toward specialization as a key factor in their “comeback.”
Finally, an article in Smart Money, “Travel Agents Are
Staging a Comeback,” pitted agents head to head with some of the
Internet’s biggest players and agents beat the Web sites’ pricing
and options every time.
All of these articles are available at their publications’ Web
sites. While the benefits of a travel agent may be old news to you,
these stories would make great PR pieces for potential clients, and
could help generate a more positive image for travel agents as a
Don’t be too shy to do a little bragging. You’ve earned it.
[NOTE: Another article just appeared in The New York
Times entitled "Happy Returns for Agents." K.S.]