Become the trusted advisor…

We keep being told about the value of the travel consultant re-emerging as a trusted advisor in the Internet age.

And once again this was the thrust of a research report released by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) last week which pinpoints the two greatest challenges for travel agents in the 21st century: demonstrating our relevance and value to consumers and suppliers and attracting and retaining a new generation of professionals.

CLIA defines the ‘Next Generation of Travel Advisors’ as having a strongly entrepreneurial “can do” mindset; a flexible and nimble business model that allows for quick leverage of changing technology, economic conditions and the competitive landscape; and accredited education and training in line with what is required in such a complex travel industry environment.

Here are some of the initiatives it says will ensure the “next generation” is fully equipped for success:

•    Research to better understand the market: Get a better understanding of the expectations of today’s travel consumes particularly Gen X and Gen Y generations;
•    Communications to reestablish the value of travel agents: A broad public outreach with a focus on the younger generation that communicates the value of working with a professional travel advisor;
•    Educating a new workforce: The industry must do a better job of attracting students enrolled in universities offering degrees in travel and tourism and hospitality management; and
•    Ways to build and leverage credibility: Provide and support professional development and certification programmes that promote high-level standards and will win the trust of the consumer.

If you want to read the full report, simply click here