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Travel advisors working within the adventure travel sector are pivotal in helping tour operators penetrate new sales channels. Advisors offer distribution through a trusted network and access to new clients in markets adventure travel operators want to
reach. And, tour operators appreciate the personal touch advisors provide, which helps close the deal with clients.
Perhaps these revelations from the Travel Leaders Companion Survey Digest come as no surprise — yet this is the first time tour operators working in the adventure travel sector have been specifically asked about their working relationships with travel
In a newly published, 98-page report published by the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), 170 tour operators from all continents except Antarctica answered an extensive questionnaire detailing their perspectives about sales and successes resulting
from working with travel agents. The report also offers a qualitative review of tour operators’ recommendations for improving adventure trip sales through advisor partners.
This comprehensive report highlights the benefits of the existing relationship between advisors and the adventure travel sector. It also signals the significance of these relationships and an opportunity to continue exploring ways the two groups can work
together to achieve mutual success.
“The ATTA conducted this survey because we were curious to learn how our members viewed working with the agent community,” said Russell Walters, the ATTA’s regional director for North America. “We wanted to know what aspects of working with travel advisors
are beneficial to tour operators and where there was room for dialogue and improvement.”
Eighty-seven percent of tour operators say they currently work with agents, and though less than 30 percent of sales comes through the agent channel, 63 percent of operators have experienced up to 30 percent growth because of this relationship. According
to the survey, these relationships most commonly manifest when agents directly connect with operators, often at travel trade shows or industry networking events.
We recognize that agents have specific needs and questions about working with operators in the adventure travel sector, and we feel it is our responsibility to develop content targeted specifically for agents.
“The agent channel is clearly very important to some of our members, and there is interest from a number of others who don’t yet work with agents,” Walters said. “We recognize that agents have specific needs and questions about working with operators
in the adventure travel sector, and we feel it is our responsibility to develop content targeted specifically for agents. At the ATTA’s upcoming AdventureElevate event, for example, there will be a session aimed at addressing the needs and concerns
of agents involved with or considering involvement in the adventure sector.”
Despite the fact tour operators work with agents, less than half of survey respondents say they considered the agents or travel agency partners selling their adventure trips to be “adventure travel specialists.” This chasm in partnership interest and
specialized knowledge is one of the reasons the ATTA is consciously making an effort to better understand how agents work within the adventure travel sector.
Survey respondents acknowledge there are a number of things both tour operators and agents can do to encourage more successful adventure travel sales and partnerships. This includes creating and utilizing promotional assets, using a variety of communications
channels to talk about adventure experiences, and being available and open to giving and receiving information about the adventure travel sector.
Though Travel Leaders Companion Survey Digest indicates there is room for the two groups to continue developing and improving partnership opportunities, these survey results establish a solid first step in revealing specifically what some of those opportunities
“Specialty travel advisors and tour operators are a natural fit and can complement each other’s businesses in meaningful ways,” Walters said. “We look forward to ongoing exploration into the opportunities and challenges for these two groups to work closer
together in the future.”
The DetailsAdventure Travel Trade Associationwww.adventuretravel.biz
Leaders Companion Survey Digestwww.adventuretravel.biz/research