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In a recent informal Facebook poll of family travel writers, 77 percent of respondents said that they prefer to plan their own travel and have little experience working with travel agents.
No wonder advisors and travel writers have traditionally operated apart.
But perhaps it’s time to change that paradigm. After all, at the annual Family Travel Association (FTA) Summit, travel brands and operators, agents and media enjoy an open dialogue.
“It’s about new ways we can work together to help traveling families and move all our businesses forward together,” said travel advisor Sally Black, chair of the FTA’s travel agent initiative.
At Trekaroo, a media website dedicated to family travel, our relationships with agents have evolved. For example, we started by working on a press trip with Journeys Within, a travel agency and tour operator specializing in Southeast Asia. The company planned our trip, we had a blast, and we wrote about it. And when we saw how well our content on family travel in Cambodia had performed, we published more on Southeast Asia with the help of Journeys Within.
What makes our relationship work well is mutual respect for each other’s expertise and a willingness to experiment together. Our goals are the same, but each of us understands we are not necessarily great at everything.
Recently, we formalized an affiliate partnership with Journeys Within. At Trekaroo, we are increasingly convinced that having the right travel advisor plan a family vacation is invaluable as we move readers down the path from inspiration to planning.
Similarly, Allison Laypath, the owner of travel blog Tips for Family Trips, has been partnering with travel agency Get Away Today for four years.
“The team at Get Away Today are such experts on Disneyland travel that we often collaborate on content about Disneyland so that my blog can establish greater authority in this domain,” Laypath said. “They also offer perks to my writers and have introduced me to some of their industry contacts.”
While it’s unusual for travel writers to seek the services of travel agents, and vice versa, it’s probably time to change that.
After all, there are many ways that we can leverage the strengths and expertise of one another for the win.