Thursday, March 24, 2011

Can Travel Agents afford NOT to be PRO-ACTIVE? Industry experts emphasize Travel Agents' developing "consistent and persistent" PR to meet the challenge!

In the not-so-distant past, when the overall USA and global economy was "healthier", and people could not research or book their travel online themselves, travel agents were in an enviable position.

People literally flooded their offices looking for pre-packaged tours.  Travel agents didn't really need to pro-actively acquire new clients, or pro-actively go the extra mile to retain their existing clients, because prospective and existing clients came to them -- in droves.

Not so, any longer.

Today's traveler is increasingly comprised of a "different profile".  "Boomers" are the ever-increasing market.  They are retiring early, with the health and resources to travel.

However, Boomers are "not your parents' type of traveler".  After all, many Boomers marched for Civil Rights, hung out at Woodstock and Monterey, opposed the Viet Nam War, and supported the Equal Pay Act.

Heritage and cultural travel group 
dining in Aix-en-Provence, France
©Snobby Tours, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

They don't want "pre-packaged, one-size-fits-all, if it's Tuesday it must be Belgium" travel, according to travel industry experts.

They don't want to be stuck on a cruise ship for days or weeks, stopping occasionally for 1/2 a day at some port which doesn't give them the time nor the opportunity to immerse themselves in the heritage, culture and cuisine of that locale.

Instead, they want personalized, unique, customized destination travel experiences which will give them a lifetime of wonderful memories.

The challenge for travel agents is in adapting to meet this challenge of a changing market!!

Some encouragement by travel agency industry leaders who emphasized the importance of travel agents becoming consistently AND persistently pro-active, appeared in an article published on March 7, 2011 in Travel Age West entitled "Public Relations Basics for Travel Agents: Learning the basics of effective PR can help travel agents benefit themselves, as well as their industry"  written by Kenneth Shapiro:

"There is definitely a need for travel agents to engage in public relations and to view it not as a one-time thing but as a long-term effort," said Kristina Rundquist, vice president of communications for ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents -an association of travel professionals and the companies whose products they sell).

"[t]here are two different kinds of public relations for travel advisors", said Jason Coleman, President of SoCalASTA.  "There is PR that is focused on the individual advisor and his/her business; then, there is PR that is focused on the industry and promoting travel in general. 

"Right now, there is very little PR that is focused on promoting travel advisors and our industry.

"These days, being a public relations expert is simply another important skill a travel agent needs to master."

"Today, PR and branding are inexorably linked", said Dr. Marc Mancini, an industry consultant and educator. "Being really competent isn't enough, especially if you want to grow your business beyond the typical."

Private Tea Ceremony for Tour Group in
San Francisco's Chinatown
©Snobby Tours, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
In a recent travel industry seminar attended by our CEO at Snobby Tours®, Inc. and Americana Heritage Tours by Snobby Tours®, Inc.™, several representatives from various tour companies both within and outside of the USA who specialize in "escorted tours" stressed the importance of travel agents "extending their options" by becoming PRO-active in their promotion/selling of "unique, customized, personalized destination travel experiences" for individuals and small groups.

Here's how the various travel industry expert panelists defined "travel agents' extending their options":
1)  pro-actively finding and suggesting to prospective and existing clients some travel alternatives which are "beyond what the client asks for";
2)  pro-actively finding and suggesting to clients "all-inclusive" travel packages where different types of special interest niche touring and activities are encompassed in the itinerary;
3)  pro-actively seeking out and suggesting to clients unique, customized travel packages which include personalized tours of the history and culture of the destination(s);
4)  pro-actively seeking out and suggesting to clients travel packages which offer more leisurely yet "in-depth" destination travel experiences, with plenty of time to explore the destination with other members of the group; AND
5)  pro-actively creating smaller groups of "like-minded" people from all over the world who are interested in the particular "niche travel focus" of the itinerary.

"I'm seeing a new generation of professionals who are eager to be involved with the changes in our industry", said Coleman. "We can sit around a table and bemoan all of the challenges and ills, or we can take action."

We at Snobby Tours®, Inc. and Americana Heritage Tours by Snobby Tours®, Inc.™  have over the past decade been committed to assisting travel agents in their meeting the challenge of a changing market by our providing them with the types of unique, personalized, custom heritage and cultural travel experiences which they are seeking out and offering to their prospective and existing clients.

Also in the furtherance of our commitment to assist pro-active travel agents, Snobby Tours®, Inc. and Americana Heritage Tours by Snobby Tours®, Inc.™ have created our "Preferred Travel Agents" program for travel agents who actively promote and sell our custom heritage and cultural travel itineraries.

In appreciation of the special relationship we have with our "Preferred Travel Agents", we reward their efforts by giving them exclusive travel incentives and very generous commissions on their sales of our custom heritage and cultural itineraries -- with commissions on bookings starting at 12%!

Our "Preferred Travel Agents" program is open to all pro-active travel agents who are eager to consistently and persistently take action to "extend their options".

Travel agents who are interested in becoming part of Snobby Tours®, Inc. and Americana Heritage Tours by Snobby Tours®, Inc.™' "Preferred Travel Agents" program are invited to send us their queries by E-mail by linking here to:

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