Now let me share my secret . . .
Travel Professionals are alive and well!
We have all seen the headlines and read about the demise of the travel agent. As much as I love him, even President Obama, when he was in office proclaimed us “extinct”. Online booking agencies like Travelocity and Expedia, offer the consumers ability to book online directly with suppliers - even Google and Amazon are entering the market! At first glance, it appears these companies may replace the need for a travel advisor. Not so fast! A career choice of a travel consultant just might be today's best-kept secret!
The birth of the internet caused upheavals in many professions, but none so drastically as the world of travel. No longer did a travel advisor's knowledge of online booking systems offer job security. When I was younger, the only way to book a plane ticket was to either call the airline directly or stop into your local brick & mortar travel agency on "Main Street." Is the Travel Consultant adapting to this new landscape? Some are and some are not. The generalist will not thrive - long live the travel specialist! I don't foresee anyone asking a friend for a recommendation of a great travel generalist or searching online for “travel generalist.” Not going to happen. The career path of the Travel Specialist, however, is bright and may be the best job in the world, as long as you approach it with a new mindset.
For many people, the decision to spend their valuable leisure time and money traveling is one of the most costly investments made each year. Did you know that the amount of time spent researching travel online is second only to those "researching" X-rated sites? The demand is there (for the former) and the need for expert guidance to vet thousands of options grows daily. There are features on the news quite often showing people who are hired by hotels to write “fake” reviews on Trip Advisor. So how do you know what to believe? Those in-the-know have found travel advisors that they value as much as, if not more than, their financial advisor and many do want to keep us a secret. And fingers crossed anything goes wrong on your trip! Do you really think Expedia is going to answer the phone and help you out?
So who are these leaders in the brand new world of travel and how do you find one or become one? We cover the spectrum in age, education and past experience. We all share a passion for exploration and adventure. The best in the field spend weeks or months traveling each year to stay up-to-date and most importantly are REAL specialists, not generalists. Our passion for a particular destination (such as Italy) or type of travel (such as European River Cruising) or a niche market (like wine and culinary) enables us to really focus on learning the suppliers and destinations so that we can be better equipped to find the best match for each client.
The amazing specialists I have met in my years in travel are very busy traveling the world, setting up business and marketing systems, serving their clients 24/7 and some are making lots of money. Some, like me, are sharing their expertise with a worldwide public on social media and you can find us there. I belong to a host agency, the Gifted Travel Network, made up of a group of dedicated niche agents who refer leads and clients between each other so the traveler is being served by someone who truly KNOWS and LOVES the destination they are interested in traveling to. If you are smart you will use that type of professional to help you with your next trip. Ask me. Ask around. Has a friend recently returned from an amazing trip that could maybe refer their agent to you? And, if you are an avid traveler with a desire to help others and work your butt off – maybe even look into becoming a Travel Consultant yourself! It’s the best job in the world!
Set Sail on a Sustainable River Cruise in Italy
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection supports small family-run businesses on shore excursions, offers periodic volunteer opportunities in port, and aims to ban 60 types of single-use plastics, including straws, water bottles, and bags, across the company by 2022. The cruise line also plants a tree for every guest who opts for e-docs over paper.
Experience Uniworld’s holistic approach to sustainable tourism while exploring Italy on an eight-day round-trip-from-Venice voyage aboard the new 130-passenger La Venezia, debuting in 2020 and modeling smart design in energy-efficient lighting, air-conditioning, and propeller systems. The small ship (read: a smaller footprint in over-touristed Venice) will call at Chioggia in the Venetian lagoon to see local fisherfolk demonstrate mussel harvesting. On board, chefs rely on ingredients purchased from local farmers and markets where the ship docks.
It was another busy week of networking and hanging out with friends! Tuesday night I had the privilege to meet with Marilyn Ball of Speaking of Travel. She is an awesome lady and I am excited to announce that I will be on her podcast in November.
Thursday night I spent the evening with fellow entrepreneur friends networking at the 70th Annual Boone Chamber of Commerce Annual Membership Meeting. The keynote speaker was Andrew Davis who spoke on "The Laws of Attraction." Although he spoke to us as a community to share a vision of creating location envy, a lot of what he spoke about was relevant to each of us as entrepreneurs. I really resonated with how he stated, "How daring dreamers turn serendipity into success." As a new business owner that is just what I am doing!