Monday, March 28, 2011

Travel Needs a Makeover!

Whatever happened to the days of getting excited about traveling to faraway places and lands of the un-discovered? Even if you are only traveling within the US, there are cities to be visited, museums to see and in my case fabulous new restaurants to discover. But this part of life has lost its luster and shine, and personally I intend to bring it back.
A travel consultant used to be able to make things happen, but the airlines, hotels and even the destination is making it more difficult for a travel “agent” to make a difference. Don’t get me wrong, there will always be the need for the travel consultant who is a specialist in certain cities, countries, cruises and faraway destinations. But confirming a coach seat is not what I need a travel consultant for – that is what an agent does and I can do that myself. So where does that leave the industry?
If you are a travel agent you should get ready for a major shakeup. Do you deliver exceptional service everyday in every way, or are you just in the business so that you can personally make connections and travel the world? Do you put yourself in the shoes of your corporate traveler or are you only concerned with their holiday plans? Travel search is getting easier and cooler by the minute and to survive and thrive an agent needs to become a consultant who can deliver results.
Look at the sites out there that travel consumers are using every day:
• Seatguru by
The OTA’s (on line travel agents) are fighting with airlines, airlines are trying to make customers go direct, and in the meantime, the real road warrior like me is stuck in the middle seat – COACH! I have had it and I will figure out how to beat them at their own game. I currently sat next to a guy on a flight to Sydney who used “HIPMUNK” to book his ticket – great price and a better seat than me. Then of course there is Kayak which also searches for the best deals. Now I have never been a fan of the D.I.Y. world but if my travel agent is not being empowered to help me get better flights than what am I to do?
So here is my idea – if I were a travel agent – I would immediately become a true “travel consultant” and I would use all tools and resources available so that I could provide my customers with the most up to the minute information (not just what the major airlines feed me) but what millions of D.I.Y. “ers” are using and searching with to find a better deal, better seat and a better route. When a person like me who has over 4 million miles on United Airlines and over 3 million miles on American Airlines is seated for a 14 hour flight in coach, in a middle seat and the guy next to her paid half of what I paid there is something wrong.
Listen up everyone – start using all the resources available to you to travel the globe. Don’t let all the negative press about the airlines and travel stop you from seeing the world. It is amazing where we live and how sad not to explore it. I am truly an explorer – I love to see new horizons, try new food, visit ruins of faraway lands and I won’t let my middle seat to Sydney from St. Petersburg ruin it for me.

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